The Ballad of Kid RatFather Lawrence C. Smith
The Ballad of Kid Rat
Once upon some time or other
Lived Kid Rat with Dad and Mother.
This happy rodent trio
Ate cheese at ev’ry meal.
Having this, they’d all their druthers.
Farmer’s cheese lived in Farmer’s house
With Farmer, his Wife, and their Mouse.
Along with all these
Protecting the cheese
Lived Claw’d Cat, ridden with fleas and one louse.
A Mouse in the house Farmer had.
Life as a pet wasn’t too bad.
He stayed in his cage
Safe from the rage
Of Claw’d, who lived to make mouse-life sad.
Kid Rat in the barn had his home.
In there and the fields he’d roam.
Jealous of Mouse
Safe in his house,
Mindless of druthers Kid’d moan:
“I wanna house, notta barn.
What’d that mouse ever larn
Ta get such a set-up
‘thout go ner get-up
Comin’ ta no good an’ no harm?”
Kid Rat dreamed a really big dream,
Bigger’n the folks ever seen.
Not for a mil’
He’d give up this thrill:
“Ta make fool’uv Claw’d Cat I’ll scheme.”
“Oh, son, yer bein’ a pill.
Yer gripin’ be makin’ us ill.
Pa an’ me think
We’re in the pink.
No life is better – not fer a mil’.”
Not paying his ma any heed
Kid wanted to act on his greed.
“Only one mouse
Kin live in that house,
But a rat’s what that house really needs.”
Now Claw’d Cat was none too bright,
But to any mouse he was a fright.
Ev’ry one he et,
‘cept one – the pet.
Such a life was, for Claw’d, just right.
From a mouse, a rat Claw’d couldn’t tell.
Kid knew this all very well.
Claw’d’s lack of brain
Was part of his fame.
That and chasing mice pell-mell.
One day, the day the scheme started,
From his parents Kid parted.
“‘bye-’bye, yoo two.
Ya know I love yoo.
Be happy fer me, not down-hearted.”
Said the folks, “Please don’ be leavin’.
It’s yoo who’ll soon be grievin’.”
But Kid was young,
Looking for fun,
And anxious for folly was seethin’.
To Farmer’s house bravely Kid strode.
Claw’d’d never seen a mouse so bold.
“What in the blazin’?!
This is amazin’!
Mah eyes is weak, but I ain’t that old!
“Whatcha be doin’, yer dumb stranger?
No mouse kin servive mah danger.
If yer was I
Yer’d look ta th’ sky
An’ say, ‘Bless yer, God, I thank yer!’”
“Oh, dear cat, thank me instead.
Nope (pig), ya won’ be gittin’ fed.
Yool git nothin’ a’tall
If I git th’ claw.
Yool git yer git, but not if I’m dead.”
It was with fire, not smoke, Kid played.
Claw’d wanted lunch, not talk, to be made.
But Claw’d, Kid matched
And Claw’d got snatched.
Curiosity kept Claw’d; Kid stayed.
“Now, Mr. Sir Cat, if ya please,
I hear ya have problems with fleas,
An’ one lousy louse
Botherin’ yer house,
Spreadin’ bad moods an’ disease.
“It’s become my favorite pleasure
Ta tell folk of glorious treasure:
Vermin it kills,
Just eat these pills –
And give me some cheese, a small measure.”
Now Claw’d couldn’t believe his ears.
What he heard moved him to tears.
“Ta be rid of mah fleas
Fer only some cheese?
Oh, Lord, yer a wonder an’ dear!”
Forgetting himself and his station,
Claw’d kissed Kid in elation.
“Oh dear, oh me,
I’ll pay any fee!
I’m the happiest cat in creation!”
Kid got some cheese, Claw’d took a pill.
Claw’d got surprised, Kid took his fill.
Claw’d fell asleep,
But none too deep.
Kid kept smiling, Claw’d became ill.
T’ward Mouse’s small cage Kid advanced
As Claw’d tossed about sickly entranced.
The cage Kid opened,
The mouse went lopin’
And cozy inside Kid danced.
To the fields went Mouse, ever so glad,
Living the life the cage never had.
Stupid Claw’d Cat
Became quite fat.
Retired from mousing, food was his fad.
What of Kid Rat, so brave and so bold?
From Mouse’s small cage he heard this scold:
“A rat’s no mouse!
Git outta my house!”
Cage and all went out in the cold.
The Farmer’s Wife did Kid a favor.
Caged living he didn’t long savor.
It’s freedom from fun,
It’s warmth without sun,
It’s life sadly safe from flavor.
Back went Kid to Dad and Mother,
To his cheese-filled life like no other.
Tough living but free
And happy to be.
No more needed Kid for his druthers.
What’s the moral of this here tale?
To live a hard life is not to fail.
Whatever your call
Give God your all.
Easy or hard, balance your scale.
Author Notes: Are you a man or a mouse? A mouse or a rat? A rat or a cat? Prove it!
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