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Ethelred: The Sad Tale of a Motor Fan

THE SAD TALE OF A MOTOR FAN

by

H. A. Field


Young Ethelred was only three

Or somewhere thereabouts when he

Began to show in diverse ways

The early stages of the craze

For learning the particulars

Of motor bikes and motor cars.

It started with a little book

To enter numbers which he took,

And 'though his mother often said

"Now do be careful Ethelred.

Oh dear, oh dear what should I do

If anything ran over you?"

Which Ethelred could hardly know

And sometimes crossly told her so...

It didn't check his zeal a bit

But rather seemed to foster it.

Indeed it would astonish you

To hear of all the things he knew

He'd guess the make and get it right

Of every car that came in sight.

He knew as well it's MPG

It's MPH and LSD,

What gears it had, what brakes and what;

In short he knew an awful lot.

Now when a boy thinks day and night

Of motor cars with all his might

He gets affected in the head

And so it was with Ethelred.

He took long drinks from mug and cup

To fill his radiator up.

And went about upon all fours

And usually, to get indoors

He pressed a button then reversed

And went in slowly back most first.

He called himself a Packford Eight

And wore a little number plate

Attached behind with bits of string

He looked just like the real thing.

He drove himself to school and tried

To park himself (all day) outside.

At which the head became irate

And caned him on his number plate.

And then one day an oily smell

Hung around him and he wasn't well.

"That's odd," he said, "I wonder what

Has caused this rumbling pain I've got?

No car should get an aching tum

From taking in petroleum."

At that he cranked himself but no...

He couldn't get himself to go.

He merely whirred a bit inside

And gave a faint chug-chug, and died.

Now since his petrol tank was full,

They labelled him inflammable

And wisely saw to it that he

Was buried safely out at sea.

So if at any time your fish

Should taste a trifle oilyish

You'll know that fish has lately fed

On what remains of Ethelred.

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