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- Fables for the Frivolous - 7/7 -


THE THANKLESS VIPER

A Caledonian piper Who was walking on the wold Nearly stepped upon a viper Rendered torpid by the cold; By the sight of her admonished, He forbore to plant his boot, But he showed he was astonished By the way he muttered "Hoot!"

Now this simple-minded piper Such a kindly nature had That he lifted up the viper And bestowed her in his plaid. "Though the Scot is stern, at least he No unhappy creature spurns, 'Sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,'" Quoth the piper (quoting Burns).

This was unaffected kindness, But there was, to state the fact, Just a slight _soupcon_ of blindness In his charitable act. If you'd watched the piper, shortly You'd have seen him leap aloft, As this snake, of ways uncourtly, Bit him suddenly and oft.

There was really no excuse for This, the viper's cruel work, And the piper found a use for Words he'd never learned at kirk; But the biting was so thorough That although the doctors tried, Not the best in Edinburgh Could assist him, and he died.

And THE MORAL is: The piper Of the matter made a botch; One can hardly blame the viper If she took a nip of Scotch, For she only did what he did, And _his_ nippie wasn't small, Otherwise, you see, he needed Not have seen the snake at all.

THE IMPETUOUS BREEZE

AND

THE DIPLOMATIC SUN

A Boston man an ulster had, An ulster with a cape that fluttered: It smacked his face, and made him mad, And polyglot remarks he uttered: "I bought it at a bargain," said he, "I'm tired of the thing already."

The wind that chanced to blow that day Was easterly, and rather strong, too: It loved to see the galling way That clothes vex those whom they belong to: "Now watch me," cried this spell of weather, "I'll rid him of it altogether."

It whirled the man across the street, It banged him up against a railing, It twined the ulster round his feet, But all of this was unavailing: For not without resource it found him: He drew the ulster closer round him.

"My word!" the man was heard to say, "Although I like not such abuse, it's Not strange the wind is strong to-day, It always is in Massachusetts. Such weather threatens much the health of Inhabitants this Commonwealth of."

The sun, emerging from a rift Between the clouds, observed the victim, And how the wind beset and biffed, Belabored, buffeted, and kicked him. Said he, "This wind is doubtless new here: 'Tis quite the freshest ever blew here."

And then he put forth all his strength, His warmth with might and main exerted, Till upward in its tube at length The mercury most nimbly spurted. Phenomenal the curious sight was, So swift the rise in Fahrenheit was.

The man supposed himself at first The prey of some new mode of smelting: His pulses were about to burst, His every limb seemed slowly melting, And, as the heat began to numb him, He cast the ulster wildly from him.

"Impulsive breeze, the use of force," Observed the sun, "a foolish act is, Perceiving which, you see, of course. How highly efficacious tact is." The wondering wind replied, "Good gracious! You're right about the efficacious."

THE MORAL deals, as morals do, With tact, and all its virtues boasted, But still I can't forget, can you, That wretched man, first chilled, then roasted? Bronchitis seized him shortly after, And that's no cause for vulgar laughter.

THE END


Fables for the Frivolous - 7/7

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