by H. A. Field Young Ethelred was only three Or somewhere thereabouts when he Began to show in diverse ways The early stages of the craze For learning the particulars Of motor bikes and motor cars. It started with a little book To enter numbers which he took, And 'though his mother often said "Now do be careful Ethelred. Oh dear, oh dear what should I do If anything ran over you?" Which Ethelred could hardly know And sometimes crossly told her so... It didn't check his zeal a bit But rather seemed to foster it. Indeed it would astonish you To hear of all the things he knew He'd guess the make and get it right Of every car that came in sight. He knew as well it's MPG It's MPH and LSD, What gears it had, what brakes and what; In short he knew an awful lot. Now when a boy thinks day and night Of motor cars with all his might He gets affected in the head And so it was with Ethelred. He took long drinks from mug and cup To fill his radiator up. And went about upon all fours And usually, to get indoors He pressed a button then reversed And went in slowly back most first. He called himself a Packford Eight And wore a little number plate Attached behind with bits of string He looked just like the real thing. He drove himself to school and tried To park himself (all day) outside. At which the head became irate And caned him on his number plate. And then one day an oily smell Hung around him and he wasn't well. "That's odd," he said, "I wonder what Has caused this rumbling pain I've got? No car should get an aching tum From taking in petroleum." At that he cranked himself but no... He couldn't get himself to go. He merely whirred a bit inside And gave a faint chug-chug, and died. Now since his petrol tank was full, They labelled him inflammable And wisely saw to it that he Was buried safely out at sea. So if at any time your fish Should taste a trifle oilyish You'll know that fish has lately fed On what remains of Ethelred.
The end