The Crocodiles

a true story

Many a long year ago
When I was three years old or so,
My jovial waggish Uncle John
To Africa had sometime gone,
And wished to prove himself a wit
And with us children make a hit,
(A lonely bachelor was he
So not surprising this, you see)
So to my sainted ma did send
A wire, which sadly did offend:
It said "young crocodiles arriving -
Hope the kids are well and thriving."

Later on, the lawn did grace
A most intriguing packing case
Upon the top of which was scribed
(The worried carter had been bribed)
"Fragile: this way up - with care!"
Four crocodiles were packaged there
Upon the four of which our eyes
Did gaze. When Dad the lid did prize
A wicked snapping little snout
A moment later did pop out
And then another and two more!
My mother fainted on the floor
As must have done my stricken dad
(At least I would have done so, had
I been in my poor parents' shoes
Which isn't what I'd likely choose).
My father in a frightful state
With all his trouble on his plate
Was forced to make the creatures swim
(At dreadful risk to life and limb)
Inside our one and only bath.
My worried mother didn't half
Say what she thought of Uncle John
Who later did descend upon
Our ruptured domesticity
Chuckling with a fiendish glee,
And blandly made the affirmation
As we met him at the station:
"I thought the kids would love those crocs-
A most unusual Christmas box!"

E B L Hayes