An argosy of fables/English fables/They Didn't Think


ONCE a trap was baited
 With a piece of cheese;
It tickled so a little mouse
It almost made him sneeze;
An old rat said, "There's danger,
Be careful where you go!"
"Nonsense!" said the other,
"I don't think you know!"

So he walked in boldly—
Nobody in sight;
First he took a nibble,
Then he took a bite;
Close the trap together
Snapped as quick as wink,
Catching mousey fast there,
'Cause he didn't think.

Once a little turkey,
Fond of her own way,
Wouldn't ask the old ones
Where to go or stay;
She said, "I'm not a baby,
Here I am half-grown;
Surely I am big enough
To run about alone!"

Off she went, but somebody
Hiding saw her pass;
Soon like snow her feathers
Covered all the grass,
So she made a supper
For a sly young mink,
'Cause she was so headstrong
That she wouldn't think.

Once there was a robin.
Lived outside the door.
Who wanted to go inside
And hop upon the floor.
"Oh, no," said the mother,
"You must stay with me;
Little birds are safest
Sitting in a tree."

"I don't care," said Robin,
And gave his tail a fling,
"I don't think the old folks
Know quite everything."
Down he flew, and Kitty seized him
Before he'd time to blink
"Oh," he cried, "I'm sorry,
But I didn't think."

Now, my little children,
You who read this song,
Don't you see what trouble
Comes of thinking wrong?
And can't you take a warning
From their dreadful fate,
Who began their thinking
When it was too late?

Don't think there's always safety
Where no danger shows,
Don't suppose you know more
Than anybody knows;
But when you're warned of ruin,
Pause upon the brink,
And don't go under headlong
'Cause you didn't Think.

(Phœbe Cary.)