The Water Babies

Illustrated Online Children's Book by Charles Kingsley

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As he went down to the shore he passed the poor turnip’s new tomb. But Mrs. Bedonebyasyoudid had taken away the epitaph about talents and precocity and development, and put up one of her own instead which Tom thought much more sensible:-
“Instruction sore long time I bore, And cramming was in vain; Till heaven did please my woes to ease With water on the brain.”
So Tom jumped into the sea, and swam on his way, singing:-
“Farewell, Tomtoddies all; I thank my stars That nought I know save those three royal r’s: Reading and riting sure, with rithmetick, Will help a lad of sense through thin and thick.”
Whereby you may see that Tom was no poet: but no more was John Bunyan, though he was as wise a man as you will meet in a month of Sundays.
And next he came to Oldwivesfabledom, where the folks were all heathens, and worshipped a howling ape. And there he found a little boy sitting in the middle of the road, and crying bitterly.
“What are you crying for?” said Tom.
“Because I am not as frightened as I could wish to be.”
“Not frightened? You are a queer little chap: but, if you want to be frightened, here goes—Boo!”
“Ah,” said the little boy, “that is very kind of you; but I don’t feel that it has made any impression.”
Tom offered to upset him, punch him, stamp on him, fettle him over the head with a brick, or anything else whatsoever which would give him the slightest comfort.
But he only thanked Tom very civilly, in fine long words which he had heard other folk use, and which therefore, he thought were fit and proper to use himself; and cried on till his papa and mamma came, and sent off for the Powwow man immediately. And a very good-natured gentleman and lady they were, though they were heathens; and talked quite pleasantly to Tom about his travels, till the Powwow man arrived, with his thunderbox under his arm.