The Mongoose was moral beyond all compare,
and indignant that animals - ferret or hare,
tiny dormouse, great badger, swift swan or slow toad
should be troubled to carry another one’s load;
so the thought that a badger should die for a cow
was unnatural to her, and she wondered quite how
any human imagined a badger to blame -
they should treat the two creatures exactly the same.
“Can you work?” she enquired from the end of his snout.
“There is much to be done, and without any doubt
all my paws are too small for the work here to do.
Oh, I wish that the curtains had not been so blue!”
She was clearly a creature of taste most refined,
but just possibly also clean out of her mind,
for the curtains were threadbare, and hung up with tacks,
while the windows were covered with something like wax.
“That’s soft soap,” said the Mongoose. “The people who left
had some standards. Of taste they were clearly bereft,
but they made the place private, although it’s a wreck,
though the bathroom - they’re wanting a rope round their neck!”
The Badger got up, and he followed his host
round the house, which was fit for the average ghost -
but most animals lived in a much cleaner den
(though he’d seen the odd ferret in worse, now and then).
“Beg your pardon,” he asked; “have you lived here for long?
For the smell of the place is most terribly strong.”
“That’s the curry,” she answered, and rolled both her eyes.
“But the place is a wreck, that I cannot disguise.”
“So you’ve lived here for how long?” the Badger persisted.
“A day,” said the Mongoose. And then she insisted:
“But finders are keepers, and thus it’s all mine -
though I have to admit that it’s state’s far from fine.”
The Badger was thoughtful. “You may have a case,
but you’re desperately needing some help with the place.”
“It’s all mine!” said the Mongoose. “Yes, yes, you can stay,
but the minute you’re finished, you’ll leave the same day.”
Well, the Badger considered the Mongoose’s case,
that she had the whole right to the use of the place,
and concluded that since he had lost his old sett
he was stuck here a while, and he’d humour her yet.