[PW] Lost poem
jonathanb at plico.com.au
Mon Mar 21 21:27:37 PDT 2016
This is my second posting to your site. My first in late December, 2015 yielded a response from one of your members, who doggedly researched
entire swaths of the internet but to no avail. I am truly grateful for the time and care he took to correspond over his findings, the stories he discovered
were fascinating but alas not the real McCoy, or in this case the real Toby Brown!
Below is my original posting with the few scant details known to me included. I realise it is an extreme long shot this poem will ever be found and am hoping
that someone who may not have read the original post has an inkling of where to look. It’s hard to believe that my 98yr old aunt knew something that
Many thanks in advance.
Original posting 24/12/15
I’m asking your help to see if anyone may be able to shed light on a poem that I fear is lost but would mean a lot to my family if we were able to
obtain a copy of it, or at least find out who wrote it.
Yesterday at my dear Aunt Dotty’s funeral several recollections referred to her narration of a poem called ‘Toby Brown’. It was about a cat who ate a
canary then lied about it. I gather it was quite lengthy and of course humorous. My Aunt who was 98 years of age when she passed away, was born and educated in Australia
and apparently learned the piece in her childhood. This gives a small clue that the piece was in existence by the early 1920’s, though whether it was an Australian poet or
from lands beyond is unknown. That she could still recite it some 80 years later, word for word, with all the comic timing was equally impressive. As I listened to these reminiscences
I was reminded of Stanley Holloway’s recitation of ‘Albert, the boy that was Eaten by a Lion’, and Hillaire Belloc’s cautionary tales like ‘Matilda, the Girl that Told Such Dreadful Lies’.
But from what I’ve been able to uncover ‘Toby Brown’ was not in their repertoire.The Toby Brown which Dot recited was about a fat cat that ate the neighbour's bird then lied about it,
a fairy came and punished him by giving him a tale of feathers. He was, of course, very repentant and confessed to his crime and the fairy then restored him to his old self.
The moral of the story being not to tell lies.
I would appreciate if you could reply to me privately as I am not a member of the list.
Many thanks in advance.
jonathanb at plico.com.au <mailto:jonathanb at plico.com.au>
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