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The parents of Reg, from his earliest age,

Had tried in a manner more kindly than sage,

To see he was stayed by no curb or taboo

From doing those things that he wanted to do.

“Far be it from us to forbid or deny

One whim to this apple,” they said, “of our eye.”

Encouraged by “Yes,” and untrammeled by “No,”

His dear little ego shall flourish and grow,

And, free as the breezes that blow where they list,

Remain unacquainted with “Don’t” and “Desist.”

Pursuing this plan they avoided with skill

Such things as ran counter to Reginald’s will.

And blended with manners caressing and mild

The shortage of rod that corrupteth a child.

So Reginald did for the whole of each day

What Reginald wanted, in Reginald’s way.

He even, however he were begged or cajoled,

Did opposite things to the ones he was told.

And more and more marked in his conduct became

Contempt for commands and dislike of the same.

If strangers were reckless enough to suggest,

“I think, Reggie dear, perhaps this would be best,”

Such howls would arise, such an outburst of noise,

Such stamping of feet and such smashing of toys,

That lashings of sweets would be proffered for peace

Lest neighbors grew nervous and summoned the police.

How sad that his parents so failed to descry

The paramount need at such times to apply

A heavy tattoo with a muscular hand,

On parts for such chastisement specially planned!

Instead, uncorrected, young Reginald grew

Till relatives talking as relatives do,

Were drawing it mild when they said, as they did,

They never had met such a horrible kid.

One day Reggie’s mother determined to slip

With Reggie to town on a purchasing trip.

And after some deep disputation and fuss

(For Reggie said “train” when his mother said “bus”)

They made their approach to the shop where report

Had said the best bargains were commonly bought.

At spots in that town, near its busiest sites,

Were crossings controlled by mechanical lights,

And reaching the shop where they purposed to call

Meant crossing the busiest crossing of all.

The lights, which were green, went to crimson instead.

And “STOP,” little Reg, who could read a bit, read.

Now how could that light be expected to know

That “STOP” was the way to make Reginald “Go!”

Big masses of motors at right angles pent,

All threw in their clutches as Reginald “went.”

Not harshest of hoot or the fiercest of brake

Could possible save after such a mistake.

The traffic, like tide that sweeps in on a shore,

Poured right over Reg until Reg was no more.

This story so tragic but stresses the truth,

“The stricter the parent, the better the youth”;

No boy who has tannings discreetly applied

Could possibly die as young Reginald died.

` Homes and Parents, used by kind

permission of the publishers.

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