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Carolyn Wells

(1869-1942 / the United States)

The Two Friends


A Spider and a Centipede went out to take a walk;
The Centipede said frankly, 'I will listen while you talk,
But I may appear distracted, or assume a vacant stare,
Because to keep my feet in step requires my constant care.'

Said the Spider: 'I appreciate your most peculiar case,
And your feet must be quite handy when you want to run a race;
But though you gain in some ways, in some other ways you lose;
And, of course, my friend, you must be quite extravagant in shoes.'

'Ah! yes. Ah! yes,' a heavy sigh escaped the Centipede;
'And I have other trials, too;--my life is hard indeed!
Why, sometimes when I'm very tired, a long, long time it takes
To ascertain with certainty which foot it is that aches.

'And when I go to dancing-class on Saturdays at three,
I find the First Position very difficult for me.
Though I put my best foot foremost, and good time I try to keep,
To my chagrin, I often find a foot or two asleep.

Athletics I attempted, but, alas! I must admit
That every exercise I tried I put my foot in it.
I think I'll join a foot-ball team,--as many friends suggest,--
Before I've one foot in the grave and gout in all the rest.

But now I'll say good-morning; for, my friend, I have to stop
To get my boots blacked neatly at this little boot-black's shop;
And, as you may imagine, it will keep me here some time,
But, what is worse, I'll have to pay him many a hard-earned dime.'

The Spider said good-morning, and pursued his way alone,
And as he went he murmured, in a thoughtful undertone:
'I'm a happy little Spider, and I'm very glad indeed,
That I was born an octoped and not a centipede!'

Submitted: Monday, September 13, 2010

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