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The Bad Child's Book of Beasts

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INTRODUCTION I call you bad, my little child,Upon the title page,Because a manner rude and wildIs common at your age.The Moral of this priceless work(If rightly understood)Will make you—from a little Turk—Unnaturally good.Do not as evil children do,Who on the slightest groundsWill imitate   the Kangaroo,With wild unmeaning bounds:

Do not as children badly bred,Who eat like little Hogs,And when they have to go to bedWill whine like Puppy Dogs:Who take their manners from the Ape,Their habits from the Bear,Indulge the loud unseemly jape,And never brush their hair.But so control your actions thatYour friends may all repeat.   'This child is dainty as the Cat,And as the Owl discreet.'

The Yak As a friend to the children   commend me the Yak.You will find it exactly the thing:It will carry and fetch,   you can ride on its back,Or lead it about   with a string.

The Tartar who dwells on the plains of Thibet(A desolate region of snow)   Has for centuries made it a nursery pet,And surely the Tartar should know!

Then tell your papa where the Yak can be got,   And if he is awfully richHe will buy you the creature—or else   he will not.(I cannot be positive which.)

The Polar Bear The Polar Bear is unaware   Of cold that cuts me through:For why? He has a coat of hair.I wish I had one too!

The Lion The Lion, the Lion, he dwells in the waste,He has a big head and a very small waist;   But his shoulders are stark, and his jaws they are grim,And a good little child will not play with him.

The Tiger The Tiger on the other hand,   is kittenish and mild,He makes a pretty playfellow for any little child;And mothers of large families (who claim to common sense)   Will find a Tiger well repay the trouble and expense.

The Dromedary The Dromedary is a cheerful bird:   I cannot say the same about the Kurd.

The Whale   The Whale that wanders round the PoleIs not   a table fish.You cannot bake or boil him wholeNor serve him in a dish;

  But you may cut his blubber upAnd melt it down for oil.And so replace   the colza bean(A product of the soil).

These facts should all be noted downAnd ruminated on,   By every boy in Oxford townWho wants to be a Don.

The Camel   "The Ship of the Desert."
The Hippopotamus I shoot the Hippopotamus   with bullets made of platinum,Because if I use leaden ones   his hide is sure to flatten 'em.

The Dodo   The Dodo usedto walk around,   And take the sun and air.The sun yet warms his native ground—

The Dodo is not there!   The voice which used to squawk and squeakIs now for ever dumb—   Yet may you see his bones and beakAll in the Mu-se-um.
The Marmozet The species Man and MarmozetAre intimately linked;   The Marmozet survives as yet,But Men are all extinct.

The Camelopard   The Camelopard, it is saidBy travellers (who never lie),He cannot stretch out straight in bedBecause he is so high....