The History of the Seven Families of the Lake Pipple-Popple
by Edward Lear
THE HABITS OF THE SEVEN FAMILIES
The Parrots lived upon the Soffsky-Poffsky trees, which were beautiful to behold, and covered with blue leaves; and they fed upon fruit, artichokes, and striped beetles.
The Storks walked in and out of the Lake Pipple-Popple, and ate frogs for breakfast, and buttered toast for tea; but on account of the extreme length of their legs they could not sit down, and so they walked about continually.
The Geese, having webs to their feet, caught quantities of flies, which they ate for dinner.
The Owls anxiously looked after mice, which they caught, and made into sago-puddings.
The Guinea Pigs toddled about the gardens, and ate lettuces and Cheshire cheese.
The Cats sate still in the sunshine, and fed upon sponge biscuits.
The Fishes lived in the lake, and fed chiefly on boiled periwinkles.
And all these seven families lived together in the utmost fun and felicity.
THE CHILDREN OF THE SEVEN FAMILIES ARE SENT AWAY
One day all the seven fathers and the seven mothers of the seven families agreed that they would send their children out to see the world.
So they called them all together, and gave them each eight shillings and some good advice, some chocolate-drops, and a small green morocco pocket-book to set down their expenses in.
They then particularly entreated them not to quarrel; and all the parents sent off their children with a parting injunction.
"If," said the old Parrots, "you find a cherry, do not fight about who should have it."
"And," said the old Storks, "if you find a frog, divide it carefully into seven bits, but on no account quarrel about it."
And the old Geese said to the seven young Geese, "Whatever you do, be sure you do not touch a plum-pudding flea."
And the old Owls said, "If you find a mouse, tear him up into seven slices, and eat him cheerfully, but without quarrelling."
And the old Guinea Pigs said, "Have a care that you eat your lettuces, should you find any, not greedily, but calmly."
And the old Cats said, "Be particularly careful not to meddle with a clangle-wangle if you should see one."
And the old Fishes said, "Above all things, avoid eating a blue boss-woss; for they do not agree with fishes, and give them a pain in their toes."
So all the children of each family thanked their parents; and, making in all forty-nine polite bows, they went into the wide world.