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To meet a bad lad on the African waste

Is a thing that a lion enjoys;

But he rightly and strongly objects to the taste

Of good and uneatable boys.

When he bites off a piece of a boy of that sort

He spits it right out of his mouth,

And retires with a loud and dissatisfied snort

To the east, or the west, or the south.

So lads of good habits, on coming across

A lion, need feel no alarm,

For they know they are sure to escape with the loss

Of a leg, or a head, or an arm.


The above illustration is by Maurice Sendak of Where the Wild Things Are fame. I think it suits very well. The poem comes from The New Oxford Book of Children’s Verse (1998) that I recently found on my shelves and have been perusing. I thought it rather fun. On looking at my poetry entries on this blog, it seems I have a ‘thing’ for small children being eaten by lions. It is most peculiar. Perhaps I should do a book of them.