YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DOG…

George Belling took a deep breath, filling his lungs with the fresh salty air as he stepped out towards the sea front. It had been a long dark winter and even the early spring and occasional promise of better weather had not lured him out. At his age, he felt the cold. This morning, however, the gentle warmth of the English sun seemed to have taken ten years from his eighty-six-year-old body and he walked with a spring in his step, at least, as much as his arthritis would allow.

It was a Saturday and the small town was already busy. He decided to walk through the park, past the Bowling Green. A few enthusiastic players were softly padding about in their flat, white shoes, preparing for an early game. George decided that he would try to enrol as a member, this year. The slow pace of the game appealed to him. It came back to him that when he was small his grandfather had taken him to their local Green and he had watched them play and had been allowed to touch the beautiful shiny bowls, too large and heavy for his little hands to hold but he had loved their spherical beauty and the smooth feel of them. The tactile pleasure returned to him, even after so many years.

He strolled past the workmen busy placing out the new bedding plants. ‘Neat,’ he thought, ‘everything in rows. Still, I suppose that’s what people want, in a park.’ He preferred the riotous anarchy of the woods and the fields, ‘Still, everyone to his own.’ He walked on. Leaving through large wrought-iron gates and crossing the busy coastal road, he trudged across a small piece of wasteland, scattered with children at play. In one corner was an official play area, where tiny tots and watchful Mums were making the most of the sunshine. On the far side, George spied a vacant bench. He made straight for it; he was ready for a sit-down. He reached it with a sigh of relief. Mopping his face with his handkerchief (he still preferred them to paper tissues) he surveyed his surroundings. The bench was so positioned that, looking to his left, he could see along the length of the broad promenade and out to sea, and to his right, he could watch the children playing on the grass. The sun was pleasantly warm and set to get warmer as the day progressed. He was glad he’d worn his old panama hat. He remembered the little shop where he had bought it, years ago. It had been on the corner, near Lyons Tea-shop in the High Street; all gone now.

Having settled, he gazed with idle curiosity, at what was going on around him. He relaxed. Piping voices to his right drew his attention.

“Run…run”

“One…two…’urry up. Get after it…three…”

A group of small boys were enthusiastically enjoying their own ‘Test Match Special.’ George watched as the batsman, a small skinny lad of about seven, skidded into the crease just as the balding tennis ball arrived within a yard of the wicket; a home-made affair, concocted from three odd sized sticks stuck into the ground and a small sandal balanced on top, acting as bails. The mate of the sandal had been discarded some way off and the bowler was bare-foot. The game progressed between arguments.

Happily content, George was gradually lulled into a doze but suddenly, a rasping sound, punctuated with crashing and clacking noises, which, gathering momentum, put paid to any idea of a nap. Turning towards the promenade, he saw, careering towards him, an armada of skate boards, their riders, arms outstretched, knees bent, completely in control of the wheels beneath their feet. They jumped, turned, hopped on to the small dividing wall between the promenade and the piece of wasteland and landed back among the whirl of boards. No-one, crashed, broke any bones or were decapitated. George watched, at first with horror, then admiration as they swept towards him.

His thoughts sped back once more to the days of his youth. He felt again, the challenge and thrill of climbing seemingly unclimbeable trees, of jumping ditches on his bike, getting up to speed on his home-made wooden scooter with the ball-bearing wheels and the satisfying rhythm as they crumped across the paving cracks. Oh, how he envied these skateboarders. He felt the adrenaline pulsing through his body…if only he was younger… he’d show them. Mentally he was shooting the rapids of the promenade, balancing, jumping, dancing over walls, flying low and landing with the precision with which he used to land his Spitfire.

Lost in his memories and imagination, he was suddenly aware that the riders had skidded to a halt in front of him. The leader, a long lanky youth, whose dark hair stood up in stiff little spikes, stared with arrogance straight at George. Seeing something in the old man’s expression, and sensing that here was an appreciative audience, the boy flipped his skateboard into the air with one foot, landing both feet on it as it came down, then he was off; a solo turn, swift, skilful; a first-class performance and all, George was certain, was for his benefit. His admiration was genuine but tinged with resentment for he knew the boy, with the unintentional cruelty of youth, was rubbing his nose in it. As the lad stopped neatly in front of the old man, he swept his arms, as if to include all his mates in the joke, and challenged George, with a grin, “I bet you wish you could do that, Grand-dad, don’t you?”

George smiled ruefully. “Maybe, but it’s too late, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, can you?” Just then, a shout arose from the band of young cricketers.
“Out!” “
“ ‘s not, I was back in. I got a run.”
“Yer didn’t. You was run out.”
“Who sez?”
“ I sez. It’s my bat, so I’m captain. You gotta do what I say. Stands to reason, if it’s my bat, I get to say who’s out.” The skinny batsman, his face twisted with anger, threw the bat to the ground. “Keep yer rotten bat. It’s gotta wobbly handle anyway. My Dad’s going to buy me a proper bat…and I’m not letting you have a go…” The captain rushing to pick up his bat, set up such a wail that the skateboarders turned to see what was happening

“You’ve broken it now. See what you’ve done, Bobby Miller. I’ll tell yer Dad. You’ve gone and busted it…”

“Ain’t that your little brother, Will?” One of the bigger boys was addressing their leader. “Yeah, I’d better sort it.” Tucking his skateboard under his arm, Will ran down towards the squabbling boys and turning to the now crestfallen batsman, said, “You stay where you are. I’ll deal with you in a minute. It’s no good you running off, I know where you
live. Reaching his small brother and resting his hand on his shoulder, he tried to comfort him. “Don’t take on…lets have a look at it. We might be able to mend it…anybody got any string?” The boys started to turn out their pockets but among the assortment of sweet wrappers, pebbles, pocket fluff, only one short piece was discovered, and that with a suspect sticky blob attached to it.
“That’s no good, it’s too short…haven’t yer got anything else?” Shaking their heads, they stood defeated.

“This any good?” George proffered a neatly tied hank of thin red cord.

“Cor! Ta! “ Will took the offering and, with his little brother steadying the blade of the bat, he held the two split lengths of the handle together and started to wind the string round and round, ending in a knot, as tight as he could make it. Swinging the bat to test it, he declared, his voice showing his disappointment. “ That’s no good, it’s too wobbly, it won’t hold…sorry, kids, it can’t be done.” A miserable silence settled on the team,

“Excuse me,” George held out his hand. “Bring it here, I’ll show you.” Untying the cord, he told them,“ It needs whipping.”
“Whipping?”
“Yes, you know, like the way the wooden handle on your Grannie”s old potato peeler is tied on. That’s whipping. My Dad taught me and now I’m showing you. Here, hold it steady.” Placing the split sides of the handle together,
he set about it.

“Watch,” he said, as they all crowded round. “Lay the string double. in a long loop along the two parts to be whipped, with one piece only just a bit longer than the handle, then, holding both ends of the looped string in place, wind the long piece tightly, really tightly, round and round towards the loop end, making sure the cut end of the looped string is left clear. Wind as far as you need. Then pass the winding string through the loop and grabbing and tugging the short piece, at the other end, the loop will pull it back through the coils to fit snuggly underneath. They watched silently as he slowly demonstrated. At last, holding it up and testing it, he announced, “There you are, tight as a… well that’ll hold. Cut the string left over and Bob’s your Uncle!” Neatly slicing the string with his pocket knife, he handed the bat back and getting up, prepared to make his way home.

“Cor! Ta, Mister.” The little cricketers dashed away to resume play, their captain swinging his resurrected bat; quarrel forgotten in the wonder of this unexpected miracle.

“Wicked! Thanks!” Will grinned, shouting back as he mounted his skateboard, “Reckon you’re one old dog, who doesn’t need new tricks. See yer around, Grand-dad.”

© Marion Sharville

THE FALLEN IDOL

Auntie Maudie bought a hat
to wear at Sylvie’s wedding.
Its beauty touched her ageing heart
and set her thoughts re-treading.

Memories came flooding back
of the day she’d married Fred,
re-capturing her girlish dreams,
with beauty on her head.

They took their places on the left
and waited for the bride.
The smart creation trembled
as Auntie Maudie cried.

For years he’d been her idol
but now, alas, a fallen one
for Uncle Fred should not have said
that he preferred her woollen one.

© Marion Sharville

LOVE IN THE BRITISH HOME STORES

Two people seated at a table for four;
they need the room;
bulk and shopping require it.

She stirs his cup; they eat slowly,
sipping their tea,
taking their time.

She leans across, speaks, pokes him in his side.
Laughing, they are cocooned
in a web of familiarity;

youth’s beauty, remoulded
by time’s callous hand; still beloved,
accepted, un-remarked.

Past tragedies and joys rest softly,
layered between the tissue of years;
renewed when memory stirs the leaves.

Rising awkwardly on thick stockinged legs;
fleshy ankles spilling over
neat black shoes,
she reaches for her handbag.

He leans heavily on the table
as step by painful step,
he shuffles to help her into her coat,
then dons his own.

She sets the back of his collar
with a gentle tap on his shoulder.
They go their way;
two people,
one life

© Marion Sharville

ECHOES

The school bell rings its message out,
it’s home time, mum and tea.
The subsequent stampede resounds
with cries of “Wait for me.”

This kaleidoscope of infants,
their clothes in dis-array,
are gathered up by doting mums
and slowly led away.

When all have gone, do daily sounds
still echo through the halls;
come floating from the rafters
and bounce around the walls?

Does Miss Payne’s weary voice call out
“No running on the stairs”
and all those feet yet clatter
through the hall and into prayers?

Does pushing, shoving anarchy
and voices, shrill and high,
stay still, for just a moment
as a teacher passes by

then rise again, discordant tones
of chair legs fiddle-squeak,
a timpani of desk lids;
trumpet voices as they speak
to long lost friends across the room,
whom every day they see,
tuning up these instruments
for the school cacophony?

A symphony that does not end, at last,
with rapt applause
but by the teacher entering
and closing of the doors.
The encore…”Children, settle down now,
Tommy, no more talk,”
the fidget-laden silence
and the scratch of teacher’s chalk.

© Marion Sharville

CHRISTMAS COMES TO THE PUBLIC ‘LOO’

Cramped space; grubby corners;
door slamming; water flushing;
humming of hot air machines;

necessary; functional
and always the queue.

This time, the sound of singing,
a voice raised in glorification
as she cleans to sparkle.

The door of her private cubicle
stands open; nothing to hide.
The one-bar electric fire,
a knife wound of warmth,
rosies the card table and the radio.

Her knitting, skewered mid-row,
rests on the fireside chair,
a kettle, mug and bun in a plastic bag
await the moment of respite to come.

Her shopping-bowed audience
enter and depart to the strains of
‘Away in a manger, no crib for His bed…’
her cleaning arm, the metronome.

Shiny sinks, spotless toilets and
still mopping the floor, she bestows
‘Hark the Herald Angels si…ing’

Her Christmas offering to the Christ Child
enfolds us in the gift.

© Marion Sharville

AN ENCOUNTER WITH A COMMON WIFE

The bride was late, the church was cold,
the organ in the loft was old
and unskilled fingers on the keys
brought forth a strange asthmatic wheeze.
Some stumbling notes and then, with pride
announced the coming of the bride
and though the guests had done their best,
her beauty far outshone the rest.

The service over, they were one;
the kissing and the photos done,
the mixed assembly, one and all,
repaired in convoy to the hall.
Stray relatives were rounded up
with promise of a warming cup
and aunts and uncles, kith and kin
at last were safely gathered in.

The hall bedecked with loving care;
the parents of the bride were there
welcoming the guests with sherry wine.
“So glad the weather has stayed fine.”
The wedding feast was nicely done
with ham and beef and pork and tongue
but everyone was quite repressed
in brand new clothes or ‘Sunday Best’.

One person seemed relaxed and gay
but who she was, no one could say.
Then someone said she was the wife
of Tom, who they’d known all his life.
They said she was a kindly soul,
though rather common, on the whole.
Her family was pretty rough
but Tom seemed quite content enough.

She nudged her neighbour as she drank
and told them that her Uncle Frank,
who everyone had thought was slow
had wed a girl with lots of dough’
She loved the speeches, every one
and thought the hoary jokes were fun.
The beacon of her smile was such,
folks thought they felt a loving touch.

The disco man was very keen
to animate the social scene
but folks, intent in little cliques,
like oil and water, didn’t mix.
The bride cast round a worried glance
as nobody got up to dance.
She’d dreaded it would all fall flat.
Why did they all stand round and chat?

Then Tom’s wife rose and took the floor.
Alone she danced , then danced some more,
then to the guests began to sing.
Oh, heavens! How embarrassing!
The gaudy dress, the brassy hair,
her happy heart was unaware
of scorn. She knew for girl and boy
their wedding was a time for joy.

When once a fire is burning bright
it’s warmth pervades the coldest night
and soon the guests began to thaw
then others ventured on the floor.
The guest who knew then quietly sighed,
“A month ago, she nearly died.
They hope it’s clear, too soon to speak,
they operate again, next week.”

Unknowing and helped by the wine
the party now was going fine.
I glanced at Tom, whose loving gaze
shone on her through the smoky haze.
Each guest had come out of their shell,
the bride was laughing, all was well.
Tom’s wife was happy for the pair
and I was humbled, sitting there.

When all the revellers had gone
and we were clearing up the mess,
I mused on this encounter with
a soul who’d shared her happiness.
The bride had had her lovely day,
the common wife had gone her way.
She’d looked on death and shown us life,
this woman, this uncommon wife.

© Marion Sharville

WINTER PLANTING

“What do you mean, you don’t want to be bothered?”
Sybil was furious. She had just taken a mug of tea down to the garden shed, for William, her husband of forty years, and had been feeling pleased with herself. She had offered him the tea, along with the brilliant idea that had come to her on what to spend the unexpectedly large prize she had won at bingo. She was going to buy him a new shed. His lack of enthusiasm was like a slap in the face. She banged the mug of tea down on the bench, splashing it over the crossword he had been doing.

“Watch it, watch it.” William Warwick dabbed the offending pool of tea with his handkerchief, careful not to rub a hole in the damp paper.

“Here! Not your hanky, that’ll stain, that will. Honestly! Why don’t you use that kitchen roll? It’s always the same with you; the easiest thing to hand. You’re getting worse. You spend nearly all day in this tumbledown shed, supposedly tending your plants and half the time, you’re doing crosswords. There’s plenty of odd jobs about the place that need doing, if you can muster up the energy, instead of wasting your time in here. I’m telling you, this shed’s so old that, one day, it’ll fall down around your ears. It’s like a refugee from the allotments. I offer to buy you a new one and all you can say is, you don’t want to be bothered. It’s not as if you’ll have to do anything, the shed people will put it up.”

“I know, I know, but I’ll have to move all my plants and pull this one down. It’ll be a lot of work and that new one will cost quite a bit.”

“I know that… I’m paying for it, aren’t I? So that needn’t worry you. Here’s me, offering to spend my winnings on you and you throw it back in my face. I tell you this for nothing. I’m going to get a new shed, whether you like it or not. I’ll get one of those, you know…like a Swiss chalet and I’ll have it put right in front of yours so that I don’t have to look at that eye-sore anymore.”
Stalking off and entering the kitchen, she slammed the back door. The new shed duly arrived and took pride of place at the far end of the lawn, blotting out Sybil’s view of the potting shed. She was delighted with it and started to make it into a small home from home; a remnant of carpet, table and chairs and an electric point to boil a kettle. On warm sunny days, she sometimes invited her friends to tea; sitting on the small veranda, enjoying the sunshine.

William, passing to tend his plants could be heard to mutter “Blooming Wendy house.” After a few months, the novelty wore off and with winter coming on, they were back to their normal routine. They had always walked their dog, Sandy, every morning and evening but several times, lately William had said, ”You go. It doesn’t need two of us.” He’d make some excuse or other. In the end, Sybil went on her own. She decided it wasn’t worth an argument but she was worried about his growing laziness.

Their usual walk took her through a small wood. She wasn’t nervous, she had the dog after all, but one morning, she noticed an old van dumped among the trees. There was a man, sitting on the cabin step. He was dirty and unshaven. Sybil was startled and Sandy started to growl.

“Good dog, good dog.” The man held out his hand. The dog walked towards him, timidly, and the hand stayed outstretched. The voice was soothing. Sybil was surprised to note it was a cultured voice. She watched nervously as the dog, on reaching him, submitted happily to the fondling of his head and the gentle comforting words. The man looked up at Sybil. She noticed his eyes were a startling bright blue, even in the shade of the trees. He spoke,
“That’s a fine dog you have. I’m sorry if I frightened you.”
“Oh, no, not really,” she lied. “It’s alright. Come along, Sandy,” and she resumed her walk. She told William of her little adventure and next day, he accompanied her. He told her he wouldn’t let her go alone. She was rather touched.

The tramp appeared to have taken up residence in the van for he was there every day when they passed and they would nod a greeting. Sybil started taking him a flask of tea. And they would sometimes stay for a short chat. “Just call me Reg,” he said and, after a while, they learned that he was alone in the world, having no relatives or friends. After a week or two, William, saying he thought he was harmless, went back to avoiding the exercise of walking the dog. Winter really set in and one evening, finding the man wrapped in a blanket and looking frozen and ill, she couldn’t go back to her warm house and leave him there to freeze, so, she decided to take him home, with her.
Later, in the kitchen, while Reg was soaking in their bath upstairs, William, shocked out of his usual apathy, voiced his horror at what she’d done. “What got into you, woman? We don’t know anything about him. Social Services should be looking after him. He’s not our problem. He can’t stay here.”
“He’s a gentleman, Will. You can tell by his voice.”
“They’re the worst kind,” William warned her. Sybil shrugged, “Well, It’s obvious Social Services don’t know about him. At least let him enjoy his hot bath.”
“It’ll probably kill him.”
“Don’t be stupid…and you can lend him your old pyjamas … and give him some of your old clothes. We’ll have to burn his.”
“But where’s he going to sleep?”
Sybil gave it some thought.
“I suppose he could sleep in my shed. There’s a point for a kettle and he can have the blow-up bed.”
“Your precious shed?”
“Well, he can’t go back to that van in this weather.”
“Why not? That was his choice, and, what’s he been living on, I’d like to know?” Will was getting hot under the collar.
“Oh, stop making a fuss. You said yourself, you thought he was harmless. Go on.” She gave him a slight push, “Go and get out the blow-up bed and I’ll get him something to eat.”

That night, Sybil slept peacefully, revelling in a ‘good feel’ factor. William slept uneasily, trying to remember if he’d bolted the back door and being too warm and comfortable to go and check. Next morning, Sybil was awakened by a frantic William.
“Sybil, Sybil, I told you that bath would kill him.” His wife, rudely wakened, yawned “What do you mean, kill him? Who’s been killed? Someone we know? “
“No, someone we don’t know… the man in the shed.”
“What do you mean, dead?” She was wide awake, now. “He can’t be. He was alright, last night. He tucked into my hot-pot, right enough. . Dead? What are we going to do? Oh, my Goodness,””
“It might be your goodness that has done for him… your hot-pot on an empty stomach.”
“Oh, don’t say that, William… they’ll have me up for murder…I’ll go to prison…what’ll we do?”
“Don’t take on, it might not be as bad as that…it’ll probably be manslaughter, you won’t get quite so long.”
“William!” “Oh, Will, you’ve got to do something. I can’t go to prison. I’ve never even had a parking ticket.”
“I know, old girl… but if it was your hot-pot, I expect we’ll have to tell the police.”
“Do we have to? Nobody knows he’s here. Can’t we take him back to the van…let someone else find him?”
“We can’t do that. It’s broad daylight. We’ll be seen…and he’s wearing my pyjamas.” After a few minutes, he asked, “No one saw you last night, did they?”
“No, I don’t think so, it was dark.”
“Well, that’s a relief! So, no one knows he’s here.” He sat on the edge of the bed, his head in his hands, thinking. Sybil spoke, a faint trace of hope in her voice. “Are you sure he’s dead…not just sleeping in…he must have been tired?” Her husband shook his head,
“He’s dead, alright. I looked in on him this morning and I couldn’t wake him. He was icy cold.”
“Oh, Will, the poor man.” William got up suddenly from the bed with a brisk air that was unusual for him.
“What are you going to do?” Sybil panicked.
“I think I’d better look in his pockets to see if there is any identification. You haven’t burnt them, already, have you?”
“No. They’re in a black bin bag, in the kitchen.” Will disappeared downstairs. A few minutes later, he called up,
“It appears his name is Reginald Plant. That’s all there is, there’s no address… hand-stitched labels…good quality clothes…”

Over coffee, they pondered on what they were going to do. Sybil, despite her fear of being arrested, could see no way around it and felt that they would have to inform the police but her husband hesitated. “It’ll be such a palaver, I can’t be bothered with all that. There’ll be questions and statements, then we’ll have to give evidence at a Coroner’s hearing. It’ll go on and on and be such a lot of trouble. I don’t think I’m up to it. What’s more, if it turns out that it really was your hot-pot that did it, your Women’s Institute will never let you bake another cake for their market stall. And, just think of it, if you get sent to prison, it’s bound to be miles away for visiting. I’m not sure I’ll be able to…” Seeing the look on her face, he quickly added, “But, of course, I’ll come.”
“Oh, Will”
“I’m sorry, old girl. I wish there was another way to avoid all this upheaval but I don’t see how…” He relapsed into a state of pensive melancholy, but suddenly brightening, he caught hold of her hand. “Are you sure no one saw you?”
“Certain.”
“ I’ve had an idea. We could get rid of the body ourselves. After all, he’s got no relatives or friends. He told us that himself. We could give him a decent burial and say nothing about it. No one needs to know.”
“But where can we bury him? The neighbours are bound to see us.”
“I’ve been thinking…no one would think anything odd about me spending all day in my shed. What they won’t know is that I’ll be digging up the floor. Then tonight, when it’s dark, we’ll carry him from the other shed and bury him, and cover it with my plants,” Suddenly a rueful grin crept across his face, “Come to think of it, with a name like Plant, he should feel at home.”
“Oh, Will, don’t talk like that, this is no joke.”
“Quite right, old girl. I’d better get on with it.

Sybil, at last accepting the situation, decided that a bit of digging, manual labour, might do him good.
William had been digging for a couple of hours. He was out of breath and his back was killing him. He was muttering about irresponsible strangers, inconsiderately dropping dead where they weren’t wanted when, a shadow fell across a tray of winter pansies and a voice broke in on his complaining.
“Good morning.” The voice was bright and cheerful. William straightened up to find himself gazing into the bright blue eyes of the stranger who, rubbing his hands together, in an attempt to revive his circulation, remarked,
“That’s the best night sleep I’ve had in ages but I’m frozen. It’s like a morgue, in there. May I use your toilet?”

© Marion Sharville

PHYSICAL ATTRACTION

My quizzical re-action
to this physical attraction is;
‘Whatever is it, draws me to him so?’
…I just don’t know.

He isn’t tall and handsome
for, in stocking-feet, he stands some
four-foot-three and
I am nearly six-foot-two
…quite hard to woo

but he’s learned to jump quite high,
so he can look me in the eye
and I haven’t dropped him
more than once or twice
…and he’s so nice

about it. I can shout it
from the roof-tops,
that this is the man I love
…Heaven’s above!

How is it that I find
that I don’t really mind
the jutting of the ears?
…not altogether.

Perhaps…
because the love he shows,
ignores the blight of my big nose
and sees me as a beauty
…well, I never!

© Marion Sharville

McDOUGAL HIPPOPOTAMUS

McDougal Hippopotamus
sat down in his armchair
and pondered on the question why
he had no kilt to wear.
He was a Scottish Hippo,
born and bred in Glasgow zoo;
to wear a tartan kilt, he felt,
was what he ought to do.

His mother never thought of it,
His father heaved a sigh
and said, “There is no tartan, son,
for Hippopotami.
It would be Hippo-critical
to say it bothers me,
I’ve never felt deprived. Now, lad,
sit down and have your tea.”

McDougal hardly touched it.
“What will become of us?”
It was a sad and dreadful sight
to see a Hippo thus.
He said, “ It is undignified
and, to our breed, abhorrent
to be without a tartan kilt,
with or without a sporran.

McDougal Hippopotamus
was sunk in deep despair.
It made his parents very sad
to see him sitting there.
“We’ll advertise his quest,” they said
“in all the Scottish news,
he’ll be the toast of Glasgow
and all the other zoos.”

Then tartans came from far and wide
in plaids of every hue
but none of them would fit him
so, what were they to do?
The solution that they came to
was, that every Hippo must
resign himself to kilt-less go,
no matter how unjust.

McDougal would not have it,
to give up, he was loath.
His father, under stress,
then swore a Hippo-cratic oath.
“I tell you, Dad, I know it,
for my Hippo-thesis is
that, somewhere in this land of Scots,
a kilt for me exists.

Then came the Lochness monster
who said, to their surprise,
he had a kilt that he could have
which would be just his size.
McDougal, quite delighted, cried
“It is the very thing,”
and there, beside the Loch that night
they danced the Highland fling.

© Marion Sharville

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