The Little Fish That Would Not Do as It Was Bid

I came across this in a Victorian poetry book for children and had to laugh. The Victorians certainly had different ideas about raising children, didn’t they?

The Little Fish That Would Not Do as It Was Bid
by Ann Taylor
“Dear Mother,” said a little fish,
“Pray is not that a fly?
I’m very hungry, and I wish
You’d let me go and try.”

“Sweet innocent,” the mother cried,
And started from her nook,
“That horrid fly is put to hide
The sharpness of the hook.”

Now, as I’ve heard, this little trout
Was young and foolish, too,
And so he thought he’d venture out,
To see if it were true.

And round about the hook he played,
With many a longing look,
And — “Dear me,” to himself he said,
“I’m sure that’s not a hook.

“I can but give one little pluck:
Let’s see, and so I will.”
So on he went, and lo! it stuck
Quite through his little gill.

And as he faint and fainter grew,
With hollow voice he cried,
“Dear mother, had I minded you,
I need not now have died.”

The poetry book is The golden staircase: poems and verses for children, the poems are selected by Louis Chisholm and it includes several absolutely luscious illustrations by Minnie Dibdin Spooner. You can drool over them here.

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  1. Frances
    Posted March 2, 2021 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I suppose he didn’t include Hillaire Belloc’s
    “Jim, Who Ran Away from His Nurse, and Was Eaten by a Lion”?

    I love the lion drawing at this link.

    • Headmistress
      Posted March 5, 2021 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      At least Belloc was intentionally funny!

  2. Lisa Beth W.
    Posted March 6, 2021 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

    Haha! Now I must send that to my eldest daughter, who will chortle gleefully at it!

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