A Tiger Tale
From the book The Oxford Book of Children's Verse in America
There was an ancient Grecian boy
Who played upon the fiddle,
Sometimes high, sometimes low,
Sometimes in the middle;
And all day long beneath the shade
He lunched on prunes and marmalade;
But what the tunes were which he played
Is certainly a riddle.
Three tigers, gaunt and ravenous,
Came from the gloomy wood,
Intent to slay the fiddler,
But his music was too good;
So round about him once they filed,
Till by the melody beguiled,
They sat them softly down and smiled,
As only tigers could.
And thus beguiled, the tigers smiled
Throughout the livelong day
Until, at length, there was not left
Another tune to play.
What happened then I do not know;
I was not there to see.
But when a man runs short on tunes,
Can tigers be appeased with prunes,
Or marmalade and silver spoons?
That’s what perplexes me.
— John Bennett