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Lost quotations

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"I know five men..." | 28-Nov-04

"I know five men
there names are who what where why when"

3 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?


This is Rudyard Kipling, and I think it's from whichever childrens' collection has "The Elephant's Child" in it. I found it in The Complete Verse:

I keep six honest serving men
(They taught me all I knew)
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.
I send them over land and sea,
I send them East and West;
But after they have worked for me
I give them all a rest.

I let them rest from nine till five,
For I am busy then,
As well as breakfast, lunch and tea,
For they are hungry men.
But different folk have different views.
I know a person small -
She keeps ten million serving men,
Who get no rest at all!

She sends 'em abroad on her own affairs,
From the second she opens her eyes -
One million Hows, two million Wheres,
And seven million Whys!
Penelope Tarnowski

Dear Ms Tarnowski,
I am most grateful to you for finding this poem.
I had an idea that it was Rudyard Kipling, but of course didn't have the first line correct.
Trevor Coffey
Trevor Coffey

Hungry Land poem by Catherine Thomas (myself). I came second in the Jackanory writing competition, I think in 1981 (when I was 11) and Pam Ayres read it out on the TV. I won a ?5 book voucher. I was just wondering if the poem had been printed in a poetry book somewhere? It goes like this:

In the kingdom of Hungry Land,
Every type of food is banned.
Not even a big green juicy pear,
No-one eats food - not even the Mayor.

Now one dreadful, horrible morn,
The Mayor passed out upon his lawn.
"Oh", cried the townspeople,
"What shall we do?",
Then pretty soon the King died too.

Then everyone in Hungry Land died,
Even the horses sat down and cried.

The motto of this story is,
Never ban food like Hungry Land did.
If you do, you'll soon find out,
What not eating food is all about

Catherine Jones

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