Three Little Persons

The Story of the Three Little Persons
(A prose poem perhaps)


This is the story of three little persons
Who lived in a sty-lish house
On the north side of the city
With their father and mother,
But mostly with their mother,
Because their father was at work all day
And in the pub all evening.

One day
Mr Person went straight home
After work,
Without going first
To the pub.

Next day,
His mates said to him:
“You must be tied
To Mother Person’s
Apron strings.”
So, he never went straight home
Without visiting the pub first.

It was equal
To the three little persons
Whether their father
Was at work
Or in the pub. 

Mrs Person sometimes
Called the Three Little Persons
“Sylvester, Walter and Gunther,”
Because those were their names,
But mostly she called them
“Silly, Wally and Grunt.”

She asked them to be quiet,
But they were noisy.
She asked them to be neat,
But they were quite untidy.
She asked them to be respectful,
But they jeered and sniggered.

When they ate with their fingers,
Mrs Person said,
“You eat like persons;
For de Valera’s sake,
Use your fork an’ knife.”

Instead of dinner,
The Three Little Persons 
Liked to eat bread rolls
And drink fizzy drinks,
So, they were fairly fat,
But, still,
They were filled
With energy.

When the Three Little Persons
Stamped their feet and shouted,
“Give us jam ‘n’ bread,”
Mrs Person often answered,
“You’ll get a slap instead.”
But then she gave in
And gave them jam and bread. 

But when the three little persons
Careered around the house,
Punching and kicking each other,
Mrs Person shouted,
“For luck's sake,
There must be something
Wrong with you.”
But, then,
They smashed
The breakfast bowls.

Mrs Person said,
“Why can’t you
Behave yourselves
Like the Whyte boys
Next door?”

The Whyte boys
Loved boiled potatoes and milk.
They were slim and trim
And well-behaved.

One day, when the Whyte Boys
Were digging for buried treasure
In their garden,
Silly Person asked them,
“Can we come in and join you?”
But the Whytes answered,
“Go away, we hate you.”

The three little persons
Did not go away;
They jumped into Whytey’s garden
Saying, “Why do you hate us?”
And Wackey Whyte  answered,
“Because you are little Persons!”

Then the three little Persons

Knocked the Whyte boys down
And rolled them in the treasure hole
Till they were White no more.

Mrs Whyte
Complained to Mrs Person.
Mrs Person
Called the Three Little Persons

“You went into their garden,”
She said;
“You knocked them down;
You punched them and kicked them;
You rolled them in the mud.”
“You should be ashamed of yourselves.”

Said the Three Little Persons.
“You should be ashamed of yourselves,”
She repeated,
And they were sad
And angry.

Then Silly thumped Wally,
And Wally thumped Gunther,
And Gunther went wild
Around the place;
And Mrs Persons said,
“Just wait 
Till your father gets home!”

You would always know
When Mr Person was coming home,
Because you could hear him whistling
“Johnny comes marching home.”

When Mr Person came home,
The Three Little Persons went quiet.
They were afraid that Mrs Person
Would tell Mr Person
They had been bold.
But Mrs Person
Said Nothing.

When the three little Persons
Went outside,
And were not fighting
With the Whyte boys,
They loved to play
Hurley ball
Up against
Cranky Naybor’s
Gable wall.

Cranky Naybor did not like
To hear the ball
Going thump, thump, thump
Against his wall.
“They’ll thump and they’ll thump,
And they’ll knock my house down,”
He said.

And he did not like
The three little Persons
Climbing into his garden
To find their ball.
He thought they might
Trample his weeds.

One day Cranky Naybor
Spoke politely
To the three little persons,
When they canted the ball
In his garden.

This is what
Cranky Naybor said:
“Excuse me, please:
You need not come in here
Looking for your ball.”

Then he showed them
Their Hurley ball,
Which was really
A tennis ball,
On a stick, –
Not a Hurley stick,
But a blackthorn stick
With a sharp spike on one end
That went right through the ball.
Then he laughed:
"Heh, heh, heh-heh-heh!"

Another day he said to them:
“Excuse me, please.
Don’t call me
Cranky Naybor;
My name is
Mr Francis Sweetman.”

That night, in bed,
The three little persons had a bad laugh.
Silvester said, “Excuse me, please;
My name is Mr Francis Sweetman,”
And he laughed.
Walter said, “My name is Cranky Frankie Sweetman,”
And he laughed louder.
Then Gunther said:
“Frankie Wankie,”
And he grunted.
Then their father said, from the bottom of the stairs,
“Go to sleep, you persons.”

Next day, the three little persons
Decided to have bad fun.
They stood outside
Cranky Naybor’s house
All morning,
“Frankie Wankie,
Where are you?”

Cranky Naybor heard,
But he pretended not to hear.
He stood behind the curtain,
Feeling mad.
Then he got so mad
He could bear it no longer.

He rushed over 
To the Persons’ house
And knocked on the door.
He said to Mrs Person,
In an angry voice,
“Those three little persons
Called me Frankie Wankie.”

 Mrs Person tried not to laugh,
But Cranky Naybor got even madder.
He said, “What are you going
To do about it,
Mrs Person?”

Mrs Person
Wanted to give Cranky Naybor
Some polite advice.
She said,
“I would advise you
To go for a walk by yourself,”
Or words to that effect.
Then she slammed the door.

Mr Naybor roared
In through the letter box.
He said,
“I’ll report you to the police.”
Mrs Person said:
“Report to whom you like.”
Then Cranky Naybor said,
“I’ll report you to 
The social worker.”

Mrs Person opened the door.
She said,
“O please do not do that,
Mr Sweetman,”
But Cranky Naybor
Was already gone.

 Mrs Person went out
To call the Three Little Persons in;
But they were nowhere to be seen.

When the Three Little Persons 
Came home,
Mrs Person said:
“Where have you been?”
They said, “Nowhere.”
Then she said:
“What have you been doing 
All day?”
But they said, “Nothing.”
Then she asked:
“Why was Mr Sweetman upset?”
But they said: “We don’t know.”
(This was the correct answer:
Only Cranky Naybor could say
Why he was upset).

“All right so,” said Mrs Person.
“You are getting no dinner.
Go straight up to your bedroom.”
But they went straight 
Into the kitchen
And got themselves 
Jam and bread
And fizzy drinks.

“Do what you are told,”
Said Mrs Person;
“Go straight to your bedroom.”
So they took the jam and bread
To their bedroom.

When the Three Little Persons

Were finished their jam and bread,
They played stage-coach robbers,
Using the bed as stage-coach.
Then, they played pillow fighting
For a while.
After that, they played trampoline
On the bed.
Then they played tug-of-war
With the bedspread.
Sylvester was nearly able for
Walter and Gunther, both together.
After that, they went down
For tea.

Mrs Person
Gave them jam and bread for tea.
They said, “We want fizzy drinks;”
But Mrs Person said,
“The fizzy drink is all gone.”
So they had tea instead.

After tea, Mrs Person
Told the Three Little Persons  
To take out their school books
And do their lessons.
So they took out their drawing books
And poster paints,
And got a jar of water.
Then, they played splash-painting
Until they got tired
And went to bed.

That night,
When Mr Person
Arrived home,
He said to Mrs Person,
“This house is like a Person Sty.”

Mrs Person was mad.
She said to Mr Person,
“It’s all right for you to talk;
You don’t have to cope
All day long
With three little persons!”

“O,” said Mr Person,
“Have they been bold?”
“Have they ever?”
Said Mrs Person.
“Well, I’ll fix that,”
Said Mr Person.

Mr Person took the strap
Out of his trousers,
And went up
To the three little persons’ room.
He said,
“I heard you have been bold.”
He lifted back the bed clothes.

Whack! The strap came down
On Sylvester’s back side.
“Ouch,” said Sylvester.
Whack! The strap came down
On Walter’s back side.
“Ouch,” said Walter.
Whack! The strap came down
On Gunther’s back side.
Gunther gave a little grunt.

Next day the three little persons
Said to each other,
“We must run away from home
To seek our fortune
In the real world.”

They took all the bread rolls
From the kitchen
And all the money
From the mantelpiece,
And they set out 
Upon their journey.

The three little persons
Had not gone very far
When they reached
The House of Grass.

Some of the Grass People
Came out to meet them,
And they said,
“Why don’t you stay with us
In the House of Grass
And have fun?”

“Naw,” said Grunt.
I want to stay
In a sound and solid house.”
“Naw,” said Wally,
I want to stay
Where I can make money.”
“Yes,” said Silly,
“I want fun,”
And, so, Sylvester stayed
In the House of Grass.

Walter and Gunther
Had not gone far
Before they came
To the House of Thicks.
Some of the Thicks
Came out to meet them
And they said,
“Why don’t you stay with us.”

“Naw,” said Grunt,
“I want to stay
In a sound and solid house.”
“Yes,” said Wally,
“We can get lots of money
By slapping old people
With sticks.”
So Walter stayed
In the House of Thicks.

The Social Worker
Was looking for
The three little persons.

Soon she came
To the House of Straw.
“Quick, hide,”
Said the Straw People to Sylvester,
“The Social Worker’s

“Open the door and let me in,”
Said the Social Worker;
But the Straw People shouted,
“Have you got a warrant?”
So, she said,
“I will go and get one.”

Next she came
To the House of Thicks.
“Quick, hide,”
Said the Thicks to Walter,
“The Social Worker’s

“Open the door and let me in,”
Said the Social Worker.
The Thicks shouted back,
“Have you got a warrant?”
So, she said,
“I will go and get one.”

Soon, the Social Worker
Met Gunther
On the Road.

“Come with me,” she said,
“And I will try to find you
Some place to stay.”
“Yes,” said Grunt,
“I want to stay
In a sound and solid house.”

So the Social Worker
Took Gunther
To a sound and solid
Where he lived
For many years
Under the watchful eye
Of Father Wolfe,
Until he grew hairs
On his chin.

When Mr Person heard
His boys had left home,
He blamed Mrs Person,
So he gave her a slap.

Mrs Person complained about that
To the Police.
A policeman came 
And told Mr Person
He could not go home 
Any more.
“That is the Law,” he said.

Now Mr Person
Lives in a bubble.
He sleeps in a bed-sit
And he eats in the pub.
Nobody wants to talk to him.

Mrs Person joined
The North City
Single Womens’
Bingo, Bridge and
Turkish Holidays
She has fun.

The House of Grass
Turned out not to be
A House of Joy,
But a House of Anguish.

Sylvester Person needed money
For stuff.
He was sent to jail
For stealing money.

Sylvester Person
Met his brother, Walter,
In prison.
Walter said,
“We could make money
From Grass and Stuff.”

Now Walter Person
Gets Grass and Stuff
For Sylvester’s many friends.
Sometimes he has to slap them
For his money.

Gunther Person
Works with his brother, Walter.
He gets boys and girls
For important people.

The Whyte Boys are good.
They do what they are told.
Walter makes sure of that.

Cranky Naybor
Got neither rest nor peace.
Other boys came
And play ball
Against his gable wall.

The End

Post Script:

If that was a fable, you say,
Where is the moral?
The story is not simple, unlike Aesop’s Fables. 
It may have many morals, instead of one.

You may pick what moral suits you from the following list, or make one up for yourself.

  • ·      An outcome is the result of many causes.
  • ·      An urban father is a poor role model, because the children do not see him doing anything useful.
  • ·      Diet affects behaviour; sugary foods create hyperactivity.
  • ·      Children are a handful.
  • ·      Abusive language and punishment are poor management tools (for family or organization).
  • ·      Punishment estranges punisher and punished.
  • ·      Siblings may appear to be peas in a pod, but each one is different.
  • ·      Focus on money is the best indicator of success in life.
  • ·      We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.
  • ·      If you are cranky, don’t live in an end-house.

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