Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Odious Ogress


If you had lived in Iceland
A few short centuries ago
You'd have heard of Gryla
Who lived mid the ice and snow.
She was a hideous creature
As ogresses often are,
She had hooves and a tail, for one thing,
And many a wart and scar.
She was tall and she was smelly
And, like it or like it not,
She used to snatch bad children
And boil them in a pot!
Many a quivering toddler
Had crawled into his bed
With thoughts of the dreadful Gryla
Circling in his head.
She had wonderful hearing,
So, though they might run and hide,
She could hear acts of naughtiness
All over the countryside.
She, also, was dreadfully hungry;
One bad child was never sufficient.
She sometimes collected a sackful,
Because she was so proficient!
 Now the postscript to this story
Is an unlikely one.
We consider our age humane
But, do you know what was done......?
In 1746 a decree
Was proclaimed throughout the land!
Frightening children with Gryla
Was absolutely banned!
Since then no Icelandic children
Have been, this way, tormented,
And many a childish nightmare
Has been, certainly, prevented.
Now Gryla is only in stories
She's lost her magic powers
And the little children of Iceland
Are as badly behaved as ours!



'The oldest school in Australia' that's the school's proud boast.
Newcastle East, in New South Wales, up here on the coast.
My grandson, Harry, now goes there; I collected him yesterday,
And I came upon these old stone walls, with their lovely golden grey.
Australia is very young, European-wise, at least,
So I was pleased to see preservation when I visited Newcastle East.

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