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Cautionary Tales


Peter Barns


Published by Boddaert Books at Smashwords


Copyright 2012 Peter Barns



Smashwords Edition, License Notes.

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



This novel is a work of fiction. The names, characters and events portrayed are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is coincidental.









What's Up There?

Never Eat A Dog


Poke Me Please




3 R's

Just Like That

Recycle Me

Just A Pee

Cake Bake


Swallowing A Swallow


Little Brat

Water Bed

Touchy Type


Curly Cabbage

Fatty Folds




Joe's Ghostly Lament




What's Up There?


Peter was a dirty boy,

who picked and picked his nose.

Picked away so very much,

he nearly reached his toes.


Picking snot is not so bad,

but Peter did much worse.

Pulled his loaded finger out,

and flicked it in mum's purse.


He flicked it at the ceiling,

stuck it on the floor.

He flicked it at the curtains,

smeared it on the door.


Peter flicked his snot so much,

his mum and dad were mad.

At a loss to know just why,

their son was oh, so bad.


None could stop the snotty boy,

from picking at his nose.

Pick, then flick, then flick, then pick,

not caring where it goes.


He flicked it at a postman.

He flicked it at a car.

He flicked it at a lamp-post;

just to see how far.


Digging deep to reach his goal,

Pete caused his nose to bleed.

Silly boy just kept right on,

and paid the blood no heed.


Then one day, he pushed too deep,

picked out a piece of brain.

And now the snotty little boy,

will never pick again.


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Never Eat A Dog


Rebecca was a busy mum,

and fed her daughter on the run.

Didn't have the time to cook,

or clean the house, or read a book.

So daughter, Ceilidh, every day,

lived on Chinese take-away.


Over time the poor girl found,

her bottom growing rather round.

Friends and neighbours came to stare,

at such a bulbous derrière.

Some joked, some poked, some whispered low,

especially her cousin Joe.


Father frowned and shook his head,

Uncle Bert just grinned and said,

"J-lo would pay a pretty price

to have a bum that looked that nice."

Mother chuckled at the fuss.

Replying, "That'd stop a bus!"


Such comments made young Ceilidh mad,

feel unattractive, deeply sad.

She ate and ate to fill the hurt,

provoked by mum and Uncle Bert.

But when she ate her dog, called Fang,

poor girl exploded with a bang!


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When one lives with a wife who's a nutter,

one tends to be nutty oneself.

That's why this one lives in an orange,

and sleeps with his head on a shelf.


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Poke Me Please


Kylie was a lovely lass:

pretty hair a curly mass,

full red lips, the brightest grin,

bright eyes lit from deep within.


Social life a heady whirl,

Kylie was a busy girl:

friends who'd go that extra mile,

just to see our Kylie smile.


When Kylie got a special gift

- wrapped in tape so hard to shift,

tore it apart with breathless glee;

out popped a shiny Blackberry.


So began her time of stress,

and life became a horrid mess:

Facebook, Twitter, all the rest,

'Liking' on-line friends the best.


Old pals now, all gone away,

new on-line friends with which to play.

Blond locks dirty and uncombed,

she's friendless now and all alone.


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A hole is nowt,

So what's about,

And then a shout,

"Oy mate, look out!

Too late John,

Poor bleeders gone."


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Old Granny Gobbins,

sneaked around Odd Bins,

hunting for bargains all day.

Then Mr Nighter,

Odd Bins proprietor,

chased Granny Gobbins away.


Old Granny Gobbins,

snuck back to Odd Bins,

filling her bag to the top.

Ran down the back aisle,

wearing her best smile,

slid her way out of the shop.


Old Granny Gobbins,

hurried from Odd Bins,

clutching her prize to her chest.

A car hit her back,

she dropped like a sack,

spilling gin over her vest.


Old Granny Gobbins,

dreams now of Odd Bins,

wishing she hadn't been bad.

Sits in her wheelchair,

moans life's so unfair,

missing her bogoffs like mad.


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Sheree is a burpy girl,

she burps and burps all day.

And burps and burps,

and burps and burps;

her burps won't go away.


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3 R's


When Jane and Johnny wed in May

the sun was high and bright.

They loved each other very much

and never had a fight.

But when they signed the register,

John said, "Oh, I can't write!"


"But John," said Jane, "you never said.

You never told me so.

"You've kept this secret to yourself

since you became my beau?"

Jane stamped her foot, so very cross,

because she didn't know.


Ashamed he couldn't read, John frowned,

remembering the day,

he should have learnt to read at school,

but went instead to play.

And now he stood here like some chump,

not knowing what to say.


So dear reader, if you find,

you're just like poor old John:

can't read, can't write, can't add your sums,

can't use your lexicon.

Get back to school this very day,

learn this phenomenon.


Or just like John, there'll come a day,

when you won't look so cool;

because you didn't want to learn,

this handy little tool.

You'll be like him,

so very sad, he acted like a fool.


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Just Like That


See birdie Num Num,

sitting in her cage,

singing for her supper,

she's really 'all the rage'


See pussy Sneaky,

such a nasty cat,

stalking birdie Num Num,

he eats her - just like that


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Recycle Me


Old Lady Clutter - an outrageous nutter,

squirreled her papers away.

She filed them, and stored them,

piled them and pawed them,

and read them all over each day.


Her neighbour Sir Fred - not quite right in the head,

paid her a visit last May.

He pyred them, and cussed them,

fired and combust them;

then threw all the ashes away.


The lesson to learn - is that if you don't burn,

and get rid of that stuff, no delay.

They'll get you, and fine you,

upset and malign you.

So 'cycle that stuff, right away.


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Just A Pee


I went to the doctors this morning,

to tell him about my bad back.

He said, "Get up there,

right up on the chair."

Well, I tried to, but fell with a crack.


The doctor said, "Have you been drinking?

'Cause 'I won't treat a patient like that."

I told the doc, "No!"

Said, "I really must go,"

as I struggled my way off of his mat.


The doctor then typed on his keyboard,

fingers flying - tap, tappity, tap.

Held a vial out to me.

Said, "Go take a pee.

Fill it right to the top, leave no gap."


"But doctor," said I, really shaken.

"It's my back," and I tapped it, all smiles.

He tossed me the vial,

said, "It's only a trial,

so try not to drip on the tiles."


I stood in the loo, vial cocked ready.

My trousers way down at half-mast.

I strained and I tried.

Had no luck. So I cried,

"It's 'cause I am stood here bare-arsed!"


I dropped off the vial at reception,

Hid my smirk well under my hat.

Embarrassed, you see,

'cause it wasn't my pee.

I'd got it from next door's fat cat!


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Cake Bake


Paul the fancy baker

was tall and quietly droll.

He took great pride

he could provide,

just any type of roll.


Breadcake roll or crusty roll,

kummelweck or bin,

manchet roll or seeded roll,

'twas all the same to him.


One cold night, last summer,

Paul frowned and shook his head.

Said, "No, enough,

won't make this stuff.

I'm baking cake instead!"


"But darling!" said poor Ellie,

It's rolls they want, not cake.

Now get out there,

drop that éclair.

Bake rolls, for goodness sake!"


"No!" Cried Paul, so loudly,

he frightened his poor wife.

"I am changing roles -

not baking rolls,

for all my bloody life!"


Angel cake and carrot cake,

Battenberg and date,

Tunis cake and simnel cake,

Paul slaved away real late.


Paul worked hard all summer,

baking cakes instead.

And it's no lie,

he piled them high,

real far above his head.


Then, when he had finished -

just one more cake to place.

Climbed to the top

with skip and hop,

big smile upon his face.


Stepping out so proudly,

pavola in his hand.

The top cake slipped,

and poor Paul tripped,

came crashing down to land.


I hope this tale might teach us;

be a lesson for us all.

Roll or cake,

make no mistake:

pride cometh before a fall.


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You really are a silly boy,

trying to scratch your back like that.

May as well give up right now,

you really are just far too fat.


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Swallowing A Swallow


There was a young lad from Loch Neathers

Who hid himself deep in the heathers

Ate a swallow that passed

Right down to the last

And now he is pooping out feathers


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Crazy Lilly from old Hong Kong

had let her nails grow far too long,

so when she went to eat her pie,

she stabbed herself right in the eye.


She jumped up quick, then kicked the cat,

then ran around her tiny flat.

She tripped and fell, got up, then swore,

then stabbed her finger through the door.


And there she stuck, and did she wail,

while hanging from her too long nail!

Now you can hear her ghostly song,

poor crazy Lil from old Hong Kong


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Little Brat


Young Frank, he was a handful,

when mother took him out.

He'd scream and shout,

and run about,

and really make a din.


His mother, at her wits end,

said, "Frankie, don't do that."

Frank kicked the cat,

the little brat;

then fell into a bin!


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Water Bed


The slates on Bob's roof,

they were damaged.

He new he should fix them - instead:

he went down to the pub,

had a drink and some grub.

Then drowned when he went to his bed



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Touchy Type


Peter thought he'd learn to type,

'twas such an easy task.

Trouble was, before he did,

he donned his girlfriend's Basque!


Punching at the keys too hard,

his fingers, they got caught,

and, no matter how he tried,

his struggles came to naught.


Saw his mobile on the couch.

and dialled, using his nose.

Coughed, then hummed, then quickly talked

explaining all his woes.


They carted Peter down the stairs,

laptop, and Basque and all.

Slung him in the ambulance,

took off - Pete feeling small.


While being dragged through A&E,

to shouts and calls and leer.

Pete learnt this lesson very quick:

'Don't wear your girlfriend's gear!'


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While trying to pee on British Rail,

a gentleman should sit.

'cause if he stands, he'll soon find out

the pan is hard to hit.


He'll wet the floor, or seat or wall,

no matter what his aim.

Then exit from the rocking loo,

to show his stain of shame!


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Curly Cabbage


Young Henry Crutcher, so it seems,

Just really hated eating greens,

Whenever mum served them at tea,

He'd scream and shout like some banshee.


She tried and tried but always failed,

To make young Henry eat his kale,

He screamed so hard, "Take it away,"

That mum let Henry have his way.


Then at age thirty, Henry found,

His middle grown so very round,

He couldn't bend down on his knee,

His legs were far to fat, you see.


Poor Henry Crutcher, dead in bed,

Was found by healthy cousin Fred,

Who liked to give this good advice,

So good in fact, he'd say it twice:


"Don't be like Henry, be like me,

Eat curly cabbage for your tea,

To be like me and stay alive,

Eat up your greens, and you'll survive".


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Fatty Folds


Cousin Mildred Constance Phipps,

Grew so fat when she ate chips,

That people flocked from oh so and far,

To see a woman so bizarre.


Her folds of fat rolled down the bed,

And swallowed up poor uncle Fred,

Who'd come to gawp at his niece Phipps,

But disappeared into her hips.


His cries and moans they came and went,

Until he energy was spent,

And he could wail and weep no more,

A folded hanky in a drawer.


So learn this lesson, learn it true,

To not end up all black and blue,

Or eaten by some fleshy hips,

Keep well away from Mildred Phipps.


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Old farmer Weck,

Had such a fat neck,

That his snores,

They sounded like thunder.

They rattled the panes,

They cleared all the drains,

And blew his small cottage asunder.


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Willie's temper was so short,

He'd snap and snort and cuss,

When upset, he'd really shout,

Cause such a bloody fuss.


His favourite pastime,

Was to chat, far into the night

With friends perhaps, or family,

An acquaintance, or the like.


But Facebook changed quite suddenly,

As it always does,

Started 'Time-Line' on its site,

Which really caused a buzz.


Willie flipped, he really did,

Shouted, "That's enough."

Made up his mind that very night,

Social networks to rebuff.


He 'Unliked' John, and cousin Ted,

Left Chloe and Dick bereft

'Unliked' so many of his friends,

That now he has none left.


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I hate toast that's soggy,

Crispy, dry, or brown,

But most of all,

Hate toast that lands,

With buttered side flat down.


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Joe's Ghostly Lament


Joe's family was so very large,

That each child had a chore,

With fifteen kids to clothe and feed,

Mum couldn't do much more,

She had two other jobs, you see,

And dad was off at war,


Carol washed and scrubbed like mad,

Young Kylie made her bed,

Sue and Lu took out the trash,

While Sandra made the bread,

Brother Peter washed the pots,

And Brian cleaned the shed.


Geoff and Mark, cooked all the meals,

And David helped out Fred,

Bill and Rosie ironed a lot,

Along with brother Ted,

And little Richard scrubbed away,

Until his fingers bled.


But mum was forced to shout at Joe,

Whene'er she hurried passed,

"Don't just sit there looking dumb,

Get out and cut the grass,

Or when your dad gets home from war

He'll really tan your arse!"


Joe stuck his bottom lip right out,

then hurried down the hall,

Into the garden, where the grass,

Had grown to six feet tall,

Determined that he'd hide away,

Behind that green, thick wall.


And there Joe stayed for many months,

While rain lashed down outside,

Eating worms, and toads, and such,

He cried and cried and cried,

Too obstinate to go back home,

'Till finally - he died.


Now on still nights, when stars are bright,

And clouds drift by unscarred,

You'll often hear an eerie sound,

Drift over your back-yard,

It's ghostly Joe, out cutting grass,

And boy, he's working hard!


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About the author:



Peter Barns live in the Highlands of Scotland.

Retired, he now spends his time writing and refurbishing houses.


Connect with me online:

Website: http//

Twitter: http:!/peterbarns





Also available in paperback format by the same author at

7 Days In May

Fire Rock

Hobart at Home


Love Is

Cautionary Tales




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