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The Witch and the Truant Boys | 16-Dec-05

Peter and John against the rule
Were playing truant from their school
With eager steps away they go
To seek a fishing pool they know
But hush! A witch is waiting there
She'll catch them if they don't take care.

(The witch tries to cook them in her house - can't remember the details.
I think at some point the following quote appears.)
"You boys are fine and plump," says she.
"A fine, fat meal you'll make for me."

6 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


Do you know this poem? Do you have any clues to help us find it?


Comments:

Oh boys, make haste and hurry pass
No, she has caught them tight and fast
And now away with them she hies
In spite of all their kicks and cries
She hurries home and shuts the door
And then she drops them on the floor.
"These boys are nice and plump" said she
A nice fine meal they'll make for me
I'll heat my very biggest pot
And cook them when the water is hot.


Lorrice Carraha

I would love to know the entire poem, I know this much :- Oh boys make haste and hurry past, no she has caught them tight and fast, and now away with them she flies, in spite of all their kicks and cries, she hurries home and shuts the door and then she drops them on the floor. These boys are plump and soft says she, a fine fat meal they'll make for me I'll fill my biggest pot and cook them when the waters hot, but while her pot she's getting out, the frightened Peter looks about, he sees a bread tin open wide and into it he leaps to hide, and with a bump he shuts the lid and there he lies all safely hid, but no, the old witch has heard the sound and quick she
turns herself around, she peers around with blinking eyes, Where is that other boy she
cries, he can't have got away so quick, he must be hiding for a trick WHAT COMES NEXT PLEASE !!
marie elliott

My dad used to recite this poem to me as a girl, did a search and found this site. Little help sorry as I cant remenber the end- although I do remember they escaped through an open window and ran home never to truant again.

Linda McGowan

I have part of a completely different poem of the same name which I'm trying to complete - recited to me by my grandmother in 1940s Australia. Perhaps someone might help me so I can recite it to my grand-daughter?

THE WITCH AND THE POPLAR/TRUANT

A witch sat up in a poplar tree
A very strange place for a witch to be
Something a boy who was passing that way
Playing truant from school, that day

?Good morrow, my laddie?, the old dame said
She had a black hat, and her cloak was red
She wore a red cloak, and a steeple crowned hat
And under her arm she carried a cat

?Good morrow my laddie, and what?s your name??
Said this very inquisitive ancient dame
?My name is Timothy Tupkins, Ma?am
And Mother?s been making some damson jam.?

Timothy, Timothy, tell me, pray
Why are you out for a holiday?

??I wonder if I should keep the rule
If I were a boy, and went to school?

Timothy fell on his knees in the grass
?Good madam, I pray you, let me pass!?

The witch looked up, the witch looked down
She took off her hat and looked in the crown
She said ?Timothy Tupkins, get up out of that
And would you mind holding my faithful cat??

I wonder, should I a truant be
If I were you, and you were me?
She wrapped him fast in her scarlet cloak
?We?ll try it, laddie, just for a joke?

She something or other, and whirled him round
Till they fell apart on the grassy ground
So changed you couldn?t tell which was which
For the witch was the boy, and the boy was the witch

Timothy Tupkins?? went to school
Took his books, and sat on his stool
???.
???.


The cat crept in, and growing bolder
Came and sat on the scholar?s shoulder
?.at the master, winked at the boys
Till lessons were lost in laughter and noise

?Extinguish O?possum, chase it out!?
And the boys and the master went chasing about
The ink was spilt, and the tables turned
And not a lesson was said or learned


???..
???.
Why not? Said the cat; it spoke out loud
And the boys and the master fled in a crowd

Timothy sat in a dunce?s cap
And the cat was safe on the dunce?s lap
???
???

Something or other, ?tis hardly the rule
That dames of my age should be taught in school

A witch sat up in a poplar tree
A very strange place for a witch to be
And oh, it was the strangest thing
That funny old woman had made a swing

The ??cat, with eyes of fire
Chased that false witch higher and higher
?Till at last she reached the tip, tip top
?Then down she fell from the poplar top

Timothy woke with a bump on the floor
And said ?Such a dream had I never before!











Helen Wheatley

THE WITCH AND THE TRUANT BOYS
BY KATHARINE PYLE

PETER and John, against the rule,
Are playing truant from their school.
With eager steps away they go
To seek a fishing pool they know.

But see a witch is hiding there-
She'll catch them if they don't take care.
Oh boys! make haste and hurry past!
No, she has caught them tight and fast.

And now away with them she hies,
In spite of all their kicks and cries.
She hurries home and shuts the door
And then she drops them on the floor.

?These boys are plump and soft,? says she,
?A fine fat meal they'll make for me.
I'll fill my very biggest pot,
And cook them when the water's hot.?

But while her pot she's getting out,
The frightened Peter looks about.
He sees the bread trough open wide,
And into it he jumps to hide;

Then with a bump he shuts the lid.
And there he lies all safely hid.
But the old witch has heard the sound.
And quick she turns herself around.

She peers about with blinking eyes,
?Where is that other boy?? she cries.
?He can't have run away so quick.
He must be hiding for a trick.?

?You haven't treated me so well
That you can think I want to tell,
But if you look outside,? says John,
?Maybe you'll see which way he's gone.?

The old witch throws the window wide
And leans to look about outside.
But while she's peering all around
John creeps up close without a sound,

And shuts the window on her tight,
And holds it down with all his might.
'Tis vain for her to kick and bawl,
John does not heed her cries at all.

?Quick, Peter! Bring me from the shelf
Hammer and nails. Bestir yourself.?
Out from the dough-trough Peter springs;
Quickly he fetches John the things.

?Here they are, brother!? now, tap-tap!
John drives the nails with many a rap.
He has the window nailed at last
So tight 'twill hold the old witch fast.




No matter how she squirms and cries,
She can't get loose howe'er she tries.
But now the little boys are free
To run on home, as you may see.

I'm sure it will be many a day
Before agam from school they stay.
As for the witch, if she's stuck tight
Until this day, it serves her right.
Lisa McKay

This is how my mother recited it to me many times over 60 years ago:
Peter and John against the rule
Were playing truant from their school
With eager steps away they go
To seek a fishing pool they know
But see a witch is hiding there
She'll catch them if they don't take care
Oh boys make haste and hurry past
Too late, she has them and holds on fast
And then away with them she hies
In spite of all their kicks and cries
She hurries home and slams the door
And then she drops them on the floor
These boys are plump and soft says she
A fine fat meal they'll make for me
I'll fill my very biggest pot
And cook them when the water's hot
But while the pot shes getting out
The frightened Peter looks about
Sees the dough trough open wide
And into it he springs to hide
Then with a bump he shuts the lid
And there he lies all safely hid.
But no the old witch heard the sound
Quickly she turns herself around
Where's that other boy she cries
And don't you tell me any lies
He can't have got away so quick,
He must be hiding for a trick
You haven't treated me so well
To think that I might want to tell
But if you look outside said John
Maybe you'll see the way he's gone
The old witch flings the window wide
And leans to peer around outside
John creeps up without a sound
And really slams the window down
Quick Peter from the shelf
Hammer and nails bestir yourself
Out of the dough trough Peter springs
Quickly he fetches John the things
Then tap tap tap
They hammer the nails with many a rap
So now at last the boys are free
To go on home as you can see
As for the witch if shes stuck tight
Until this day IT JOLLY WELL SERVES HER RIGHT!!
Patrick Solway


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