Childhood
JIM
by
Hillaire Belloc

There was a boy whose name was Jim 
His friends were very good to him 
They gave him tea and cakes and jam 
And slices of delicious ham
And chocolate with pink inside 
And little tricycles to ride 
They read him stories through and through 
And even took him to the zoo 
But there it was the awful fate 
Befell him, which I now relate 
You know (at least you ought to know 
For I have often told you so)
That children never are allowed 
To leave their nurses in a crowd 
Now this was Jim's especial foible 
He ran away when he was able
And on this inauspicious day 
He slipped his hand and ran away 
He hadn't gone a yard when BANG 
With open jaws a lion sprang
And hungrily began to eat 
The boy, beginning at his feet 
Now just imagine how it feels 
When first your toes and then your heels 
And then by varying degrees 
Your shins and ankles, calves and knees 
Are slowly eaten bit by bit 
No wonder Jim detested it 
No wonder that he shouted "Ai" 
The honest keeper heard his cry 
Though very fat, he almost ran 
To help the little gentleman 
"Ponto," he ordered as he came 
For Ponto was the lion's name 
"Ponto," he said with angry frown 
"Down sir, let go, put it down!" 
The lion made a sudden stop 
He let the dainty morsel drop 
And slunk reluctant to his cage 
Snarling with disappointed rage 
But when he bent him over, Jim 
The honest keeper's eyes grew dim 
The lion having reached his head 
The miserable boy was dead 
When nurse informed his parents they 
Were more concerned than I can say 
His mother as she dried her eyes 
Said "It gives me no surprise 
He would not do as he was told." 
His father who was self-controlled 
Bade all the children round attend 
To James's miserable end. 
And always keep ahold of nurse 
For fear of finding something worse.
The end