Sunday, February 19, 2012

XIX: The Well-Intentioned Mr. Foxen

Wherein two children encounter a friendly fox who provides them with some confusing and impractical advice.

"Let's move on from here," said Jonah Craven the Crow,
"this fellow will be of no help, don't you know?"

Mr. Craven had expressed his skeptical thoughts
while perched on the shoulder of young Antonio Potts,
whose little sister Lydia stood by him quite meek
wiping a small tear from her tender white cheek.

Mr. Frederic A. Foxen, striking a very dignified pose,
peered at the children down his long spectacled nose.
He had listened to their tale of getting lost in Deep Wood
and his heart moved with real pity for them where they stood.
He tugged down on his waistcoat, straightened his tie,
and proclaimed with an important gleam in his eye:

A fortuitous meeting!
Fortuitous indeed!
Listen carefully, my sweet ones,
for my words, if you heed,
will elucidate
an efficacious
to your

Antonio and Lydia's brows both furrowed at this obfuscation.

The fox continued on without one hint of trepidation:

From Henceforth, little Sixpence?
To Thenceforth, bold Eightpence?
From Hence onward to Thither?
Therefore: to Thence from Hither!

Wince fifth along a further sixth fence
which will take a bleary princess and a weary weary prince
out to minced and withered heather
in knotted and cloudy weather!

Antonio glanced over questioningly at his wide-eyed sister
but saw that she was as confused as he by this fine-dressed mister.

He then said softly to Mr. Foxen the Grand:
"I'm afraid, good Sir, that we don't understand."

"What did I tell you? Let us go!"
said an increasingly impatient Crow.

"Let me more word myself plainly,"
said the gentlefox, quite insanely.

He then spoke forth a stirring oration,
which was quite wise in his own estimation:

Hither Dither, you are Hither
and being Hither, you cannot go Thither.
(Not directly, to speak correctly.)
If you Ponder, and head Yonder,
arriving Yonder, you would then be Thither.
And being Thither, Hither would be Thither
and then Thither would Hither surely be -
but Yonder would ever be Yonder, do you see?

A profound silence fell upon that part of the wood,
but the fox thought that surely he had been understood.

"Of course they do not See!" squawked Mr. Craven, becoming quite intense.
"Nor do they Hear, Smell, Touch or Taste your words for they are full of Non-Sense!"

The fox, quickly straightening up, spoke indeed plainer this time
but in his exasperation and duress he made no attempt to rhyme:

You do not Belong here.
You do not Beshort here either.
In fact, you should not Be here at all!
You cannot go Forward, you cannot stay Here -
you must go Back, children, go Back!

"At last, I think I understand you now!"
said Antonio with an unfurrowed brow.
"Just point out the way to go Back to me."

"Child, I haven't the slightest idea of that," said he.

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