The Mongoose looked tired when she’d lapped it all up,
(for an animal laps, even if from a cup),
and declared that she’d have to lie down on the floor
in a corner she’d chosen for hers by the door.
It was just by the stairs and a strange metal thing
that when tapped made a strange and most curious ring,
in between which she’d laid the remains of the curtain,
now Badger’s sherwani had gone for a burton.
“I was wondering where you last lived?” Badger asked -
“for no Mongoose is known on these shores. I was tasked
to remember quite where I had heard of your kind,
and a Mongoose in England had not crossed my mind.”
“Mind your business,” she snapped. “For my story’s my own.
I have no great desire for my name to be known,
or my whereabouts stated for anyone’s ear.
If one asks of a Mongoose, then say I’m not here.”
The Badger knew well she must not be disturbed;
for an animal’s sleep must not ever be curbed
by the whim and requirements of any who care -
and besides, he would get her most venomous stare.
He busied himself in assessing the work
that ensured he could stay in this place; every quirk
that the builders had built into plaster and wood
was soon known to his mind - he would do what he could.
For a Badger, the building of setts takes great care;
of the tiniest cranny he’s always aware.
But this house, it appeared, had been thrown into place
by some people who thought they were running a race.
He was lost in his thoughts when he heard a great moan;
at the sight of the Mongoose he chose to postpone
all his work - for she lay in a dream, in great pain,
that the ‘water’ he gave her alone could explain.
She began to shake slightly, and twitch at the flank;
her ears were laid flat, her expression was blank,
but her breath came in whistles; she muttered and moaned,
so the Badger drew nearer to hear what she groaned.
“Please to be leaving me out of your plot -
I’ll never agree to become what I’m not.
I’m a Mongoose! A Meerkat may seem very cute,
but my family stands in the highest repute!
Oh! How embarrassed I am in this cage
that says I’m a Meerkat. I’m boiling with rage!
It may pay the bills better to say that I am,
but I’ll never agree to the shame of this scam!
Stand on my heels and look cute? I’m so hurt -
I’m a snake-killing predator, quick and alert,
not some cuddly fluffball that lives in a clan,
and I’ll leave just the minute I’ve found a good plan.
Gather my things, and escape through the wire –
a Mongoose, in need, can move quicker than fire -
and I’ll never return here, whatever I do;
I’d rather be dead than in Warrington Zoo.”
Old Badger looked on, and he said not a word,
but smartened her up just the way she preferred.
An animal must be itself, so you see;
whatever it is, is the best it could be.