Next day, Badger dug in desire of a worm,
and came back with his mouth full of creatures that squirm;
then the Mongoose squirmed, too, but she pleaded he’d wait
till his food had been brought to an edible state.
The kitchen was full of chipped crocks, pots and pans
that were covered in mould, and some rusty old cans,
but on finding the oven was still giving heat,
she arranged Badger’s food in a way she felt neat.
After much fuss and trouble, she laid on a plate
all his worms ‘midst some lettuce; she hoped that would sate
his rough appetites; clearly he needed some aid
to make sure that his meals would be properly made.
Well, he looked so suspicious; she curtseyed and smiled,
and wondered what else he’d been fed as a child –
but on taking a bite, Badger gasped, choked, and spat,
and exclaimed that he “couldn’t be having with that.”
“Oh dear,” sighed the Mongoose. “I’ve curried your worms,
for it isn’t quite right to eat food that still squirms;
when a Mongoose eats snakes, it’s important they’re dead,
and until one has killed it, one cannot be fed –
and I’m sorry the chilli was not quite enough;
I lost quite a lot of my cookery stuff
on the way - this is all that I had, in a fold
of my sari. Oh please, if it’s bland, please don’t scold.”
Then she burst into tears, and regretted her fate;
she was clearly well used to fine food on her plate,
and a dish of king cobra must make one to thrive
more than dirty old worms still uncooked, and alive.
“I can see,” he replied, “your intentions were nice -
but an Englishman’s food must be bland, without spice,
and I’m old enough still to prefer my food plain,
so I’d ask that you don’t use your chilli again.
We are different; we don’t have to eat the same food.
Boiled snake is a nightmare to me; I’m not rude,
but just different, and now I must drink all I can,
though I thank you for all of the care in your plan.”