Here’s a little story-poem to begin the month and end the week. Share with the children in your life by reading aloud in a zesty expressive voice.
Ned sat on his front porch steps.
He had plopped down there to pout.
The neighbor boys had gone off to fish.
And as always, he’d been left out.
“You’re much too young,” his mother said.
You’re just a little squirt.
The boys will pay no mind to you.
You might get lost or hurt.”
But Ned, ‘grown up,’ thought she was wrong.
Wasn’t he all of five?
He was big enough to head to the pond
And come back home alive.
He hid himself till the boys walked by,
Then quiet, began to follow.
He tracked them to their fishing hole
Away down in the hollow.
He found himself a place to sit.
At last—he had his wish.
He’d bait his hook and reel them in—
A basket full of fish.
He flexed his pole to cast his line,
When Mother’s warning of harm
Came suddenly true. He knew not how,
But the hook stuck in his arm.
“Help. Please, help. I’m bleeding,” he cried,
Despairing, his courage failing.
He sat alone, by the longed-for creek
Unwept, unaided, wailing.
“Oh, why did I come? I knew it was wrong.
I should’ve listened to Mother.
If I can get home after this mistake,
I’ll never make another.”
“Why are you here?” the big boys asked.
They had heard his cry and found him.
“It’s just a hook. You’re not going to die.”
They huddled in around him.
“Hold him and I’ll pull it out,”
The big boy told the smaller.
To Ned he said, “Now you be still
And don’t you start to holler.”
But being still? Ned could not do.
He wiggled, squealed, and shrieked.
He thrashed about and wriggled loose
And fell right in the creek.
Poor Ned, all wet, near froze to death.
The cold wind chilled him through.
His fingers, toes, his lips, his nose
Were frosty and turning blue.
His, mother rejoiced to see him safe,
And fed him chicken soup.
He slept all night in his safe warm bed
But next day he had the croup.
He missed four days of school that week
And Saturday had to do chores.
His little trip to the fishing hole
Kept him five whole days indoors.
If only he’d heeded his mother’s voice,
He wouldn’t have gotten sick.
He wouldn’t still have the scar on his arm
Where the hook did stubbornly stick.
So take a lesson from little Ned
And listen when Mother speaks.
Then you won’t end up sick and sore
From a perilous trip to the creek.