THE STORY OF EUPHEMIA
The children are sitting at Nanny's knee in the nursery
as she tells them a charming bed-time tale.
Now children, lend an ear or two,
For I've a tale to tell to you.
Concerning one Euphemia Pratt
(back in, chin up... don't slouch like that!).
No child's conduct was more abstemious;
Temper milder than Euphemia's,
A perfect child, full of grace,
Who always walked at walking pace.
Until one day (Oh!, don't do that...)
A fateful day for Family Pratt,
When Great Aunt Maude, and Uncle Hugh
Had come to spend a day or two.
They were expected to arrive
At roughly twenty-five to five,
And this they did with punctuality,
Knowing something of the locality.
Mama said, "Auntie, how-do-you-do?...
How nice you look and you too, Hugh."
Upon which Uncle Hugh sat down,
And with a low, lugubrious frown,
Began to tell a tale of wealth,
Of testaments and fading health.
Euphemia meanwhile was sitting,
Silently as was befitting,
Absent-minded, still and pale,
As her Uncle told his tale.
He talked with studied, stern monotony,
Of houses, gardens, botany.
Talked till nearly ten past eight,
Of duties, deeds, estates probate.
And then it was... (Oh children, hearken)
As the skies began to darken
That suddenly, and with no warning,
Euphemia... started... yawning!
She yawned but once, then yawned again,
She yawned and yawned nine times or ten.
She yawned so far, she yawned so wide,
Her gums and tonsils gaped inside.
"Gracious me!", cried Aunt Maude...
"I do believe the child is bored!"
Then crashing through the window there,
Came the great 'Yawn-Widener',
Hair on end, and mouth so grim
(Oh children, cringe... the sight of him).
For he's the one who comes in rage,
To children of a certain age,
Who, without the slightest warning,
interrupt a speech with yawning.
He seized Euphemia by the teeth,
One hand above, one hand beneath.
He caught her yawn, and then began;
As all the best 'Yawn-Wideners' can,
To widen, stretch, enlarge her yawn.
Her lips were split, her throat was torn
And with a loud, triumphant shout...
He turned Euphemia . . inside out!
This done, he turned and bowed his head
And left and not a word he said.
Mama said, "Gracious me, oh dear
that this should happen, this in here.
Papa perceived Mama's distress,
And called the maid to clear the mess.
While Uncle Hugh surveyed the scene,
And said, "This incident has been
A grim reminder to us all,
Of all the things that can befall
Those who, without warning,
Interrupt a speech with yawning.
"Don't you agree, Aunt Maude?", he said,
But Great Aunt Maude alas... was dead!