|Guy Wetmore Carryl|
Who was walking on the wold
Nearly stepped upon a viper
Rendered torpid by the cold;
By the sight of her admonished,
He forbore to plant his boot,
But he showed he was astonished
By the way he muttered “Hoot!”
Now this simple-minded piper
Such a kindly nature had
That he lifted up the viper
And bestowed her in his plaid.
“Though the Scot is stern, at least he
No unhappy creature spurns,
‘Sleekit, cowrin, tim’rous beastie,’”
Quoth the piper (quoting Burns).
This was unaffected kindness,
But there was, to state the fact,
Just a slight soupçon of blindness
In his charitable act.
If you’d watched the piper, shortly
You’d have seen him leap aloft,
As this snake, of ways uncourtly,
Bit him suddenly and oft.
There was really no excuse for
This, the viper’s cruel work,
And the piper found a use for
Words he’d never learned at kirk;
But the biting was so thorough
That although the doctors tried,
Not the best in Edinburgh
Could assist him, and he died.
And THE MORAL is: The piper
Of the matter made a botch;
One can hardly blame the viper
If she took a nip of Scotch,
For she only did what he did,
And his nippie wasn’t small,
Otherwise, you see, he needed
Not have seen the snake at all.
– Guy Wetmore Carryl, Fables for the Frivolous, 1898