By Ernestine Cobern Beyer
Birthington Biddle (his friends called him Bertie)
Would have been nice if he hadn't been dirty.
So grubby and grimy was Birthington's face,
His appearance, alas, was a perfect disgrace.
You see, he believed soap and water were poison,
And tubs were for clothes--not to wash little boys in.
Crusted with dust which flew up from the street,
He grew heavier, daily, and slower of feet.
And though his poor mother could hardly endure him,
She couldn't, it seemed, either change him or cure him.
On the day he turned ten, Bertie found to his shame,
He could no longer run or take part in a game.
Just one final cinder, just one speck of dust
Had at last overburdened the weight of his crust.
Yes sir, one speck had stopped Bert in his track
Just as one final straw broke the poor camel's back.
Unable to move, Bertie let out a yelp . . .
A mud-smothered holler: "Help, Mother, help, help!
Mrs. Biddle came running, and seizing a hose,
She hastily soused him from cowlick to toes.
The water gushed out in a glorious squirt,
And merrily melted his coating of dirt.
Thank goodness, that crust which had made him look fat
Was banished forever in two minutes flat!
His mother was filled with unspeakable joy
As she gazed at her clean little, lean little boy.
This was a day she would never forget--
His birthday! The day Dirty Bertie got wet!
That gurgle-and-slosh day, that sputter-and-splosh day,
Known in the village as Birthington's Washday!
Many thanks as always, to
Barbara Beyer Malley
for permission to post. =)