The Doormouse and the Doctor

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There once was a Dormouse who lived in a bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)

And all the day long he’d a wonderful view

Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue)

A Doctor came hurrying round, and he said:

“Tut-tut, I am sorry to find you in bed.

Just say ‘Ninety-nine’, while I look at your chest…

Don’t you find that chrysanthemums answer the best?”

The Dormouse looked round at the view and replied

(When he’d said “Ninety-nine”) that he’d tried and he’d tried,

And much the most answering things that he knew

Were geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).

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The Doctor stood frowning and shaking his head,

And he took up his shiny silk hat as he said:

“What the patient requires is a change,” and he went

To see some chrysanthemum people in Kent.

The Dormouse lay there, and he gazed at the view

Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue),

And he knew there was nothing he wanted instead

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

The Doctor came back and, to show what he meant,

He had brought some chrysanthemum cuttings from Kent.

“Now these,” he remarked, “give a much better view

Than geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”

They took out their spades and they dug up the bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red),

And they planted chrysanthemums (yellow and white).

“And now,” said the Doctor, “we’ll soon have you right.”

The Dormouse looked out, and he said with a sigh:

“I suppose all these people know better than I.

It was silly, perhaps, but I did like the view

Of geraniums (red) and delphiniums (blue).”

The Doctor came round and examined his chest,

And ordered him Nourishment, Tonics, and Rest.

“How very effective,” he said, as he shook

The thermometer, “all these chrysanthemums look!”

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The Dormouse turned over to shut out the sight

Of the endless chrysanthemums (yellow and white).

“How lovely,” he thought, “to be back in a bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).”

The Doctor said, “Tut! It’s another attack!”

And ordered him Milk and Massage-of-the-back,

And Freedom-from-worry and Drives-in-a-car,

And murmured, “How sweet your chrysanthemums are!”

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The Dormouse lay there with his paws to his eyes,

And imagined himself such a pleasant surprise:

“I’ll pretend the chrysanthemums turn to a bed

Of delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red)!”

The Doctor next morning was rubbing his hands,

And saying, “There’s nobody quite understands

These cases as I do! The cure has begun!

How fresh the chrysanthemums look in the sun!”

The Dormouse lay happy, his eyes were so tight

He could see no chrysanthemums, yellow or white.

And all that he felt at the back of his head

Were delphiniums (blue) and geraniums (red).

And that is the reason (Aunt Emily said)

If a Dormouse gets in a chrysanthemum bed,

You will find (so Aunt Emily says) that he lies

Fast asleep on his front with his paws to his eyes.

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– A. A. Milne

 

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