Lucy Vickery

21st-century Belloc

In Competition No. 2898 you were invited to give an update on one of the children in Cautionary Tales who lived to tell the tale.

Belloc’s gallery of kiddie delinquents suffered particularly unpleasant comeuppances — being eaten, feet upwards, by a lion, and so on. Of those who did escape with their lives, weepy Lord Lundy and Algernon (who narrowly missed killing his sister with a loaded gun) were the most popular subjects in this comp.

Max Ross’s entry, in which Algernon grows up to be a jihadi, had a chilling topical twist: ‘Thus, in the best religious fashion,/ Al-gee indulged his boyhood passion’. Both Mae Scanlan and Chris O’Carroll saw a glittering future for Franklin Hyde, digger of dirt, as a member of the press. And Mark Lemmon thought that Godolphin Horne (‘He held the Human race in Scorn’) might make an excellent Newsnight presenter.

The winners, in a large and excellent entry, take £25 each. Noel Petty nets £30.

Lord Lundy lived for decades yet,
His eyes still obstinately wet.
He lived through wars and slumps and such
And didn’t like them very much.
One day, though, he was called to share
The nuptials of a Royal Pair.
There in the Abbey with his peers,
Lundy broke down in joyous tears.
It was a gift: the Press went wild —
grandee in touch with inner child!
This New Age fashion grew with force
And dry-eyed males were deemed quite coarse.
He died, redeemed, in tears of bliss,
A single stone declaring this:
‘Lundy, the weeping earl, lies here.
Traveller, pause and shed a tear.’
Noel Petty

Charles Augustus Fortescue
Continued all his Life to do
Those Things that he believed were Right.
Alas! His unquenched Appetite
For Greasy Morsels made him fat;
One day, he burst, and that was that.

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