Carolyn Wells

(1869-1942 / the United States)

A Dream Lesson


Once there was a little boy who wouldn't go to bed,
When they hinted at the subject he would only shake his head,
When they asked him his intentions, he informed them pretty straight
That he wouldn't go to bed at all, and Nursey needn't wait.

As their arguments grew stronger, and their attitude more strict,
I grieve to say that naughty boy just yelled and screamed and kicked.
And he made up awful faces, and he told them up and down
That he wouldn't go to bed for all the nurses in the town.

Then Nursey lost her patience, and although it wasn't right,
Retorted that for all she cared he might sit up all night.
He approved of this arrangement, and he danced a jig for joy,
And turned a somersault with glee; he _was_ a naughty boy.

And so they all went off to bed and left him sitting there,
Right in the corner by the fire in Grandpa's big armchair.
He read his books and played his games,--he even sang a song
And thought how lovely it would be to sit up all night long.

But soon his games grew stupid, and his puzzles wouldn't work;
He drew himself up stiffly with a sudden little jerk,
And he said, 'I am not sleepy, and I love to play alone--
And--I--think--' the rest was mumbled in a drowsy monotone.

He leaned back on the cushions like that night he had the croup;
His head began to wobble and his eyes began to droop;
He closed them for a minute, just to see how it would seem,
And straightway he was sound asleep, and dreamed this awful dream!

He thought he saw a garden filled with flowers and roses gay,
A great big gardener with a hoe came walking down his way;
'Ah, ha!' exclaimed the gardener, as he clutched him by the head,
'Here's a fine specimen I've found; I'll plant him in this bed!'

He held the boy in one big hand, unheeding how he cried,
And with the other dug a hole enormous, deep, and wide.
He jammed the little fellow in, and said in gruffest tone,
'This is the bed for naughty boys who won't go to their own.'

And then the dirt was shovelled in,--it covered up his toes,
His ankles, knees, and waist and arms, and higher yet it rose.
For still the gardener shovelled on, not noticing his cries;
It came up to his chin and mouth--it almost reached his eyes;

Just then he gathered all his strength and gave an awful scream,
And woke himself, and put an end to that terrific dream.
And he said, as Nursey tucked him up and bade him snugly rest,
'When I am planted in a bed, I like my own the best.'

Submitted: Monday, September 13, 2010

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