King of the Rats


he talked them into following

paid the piper for his tools

played the tune they wished to hear

and listened to the sound of little rat feet

pattering along behind him


what a pity that the tools were second rate

and the tune, a borrowed one, a fake

so sad, that the piper, having been paid

sewed seeds of doubt amongst the rats

though they still followed, with false pride


he talked them into following

but gave no thought to how he’d feed them

when he stopped piping and they gathered in expectation

he only listened to a private tune

the one where he was king of all the rats



Copyright May 2017

Naughtiness is its Own Reward

One small boy was not anticipating the arrival of Santa Claus. Last Christmas he’d discovered a book in the library, a very old book of mid winter stories about The Krampus. He had been quite taken with The Krampus, anyone who rewards naughtiness with lumps of coal was a goodun in his eyes, for the winters were always long and coal was expensive.

Robin {for that was the small boy’s name} had devised a plan, if he was naughty everyday for the whole year surely The Krampus would deliver enough coal for his family to have a warm and snug Christmas and New Year and if he was naughty enough then there might even be enough coal to last until spring.  He put his plan into action.

Being naughty every day was a lot harder than Robin had first thought. First of all he was quite small so people didn’t necessarily notice all the naughty things he was doing. Bigger naughtiness things took a lot of energy, which Robin, being an undernourished weak child, didn’t always have. Still he lived a whole year of naughtiness, eyes always on the goal of a warm winter.

On Christmas Eve, thoughts full of coal, Robin shivered himself to sleep, having left a letter of explanation on the table, together with a glass of water and a crust of bread.

The Krampus was not having a good time. All of the things he counted as naughty were not considered so any longer. Children were allowed liberties he could not approve of, so by the time he reached Robin’s house he had most of his store of coal still with him. Sighing at the water and bread, he picked up the letter and read:


Dear Mr. Krampus,

I have been naughty all year.

Please leave the coal in the cellar.

Merry Christmas to you.




The Krampus looked around the room, for the first time noticing the cold and lack of Christmassy knick-knacks. He sat and thought, absentmindedly chewing on the crust.

The next morning Robin woke to a roaring fire, a cellar full of coal, food on the table and presents for all. One of the presents he received was a book: A Book of Recommendations For Naughty Boys. Over the next few years Robin tested each recommendation until he reached the end of the book, then he ran for Parliament, becoming the youngest politician in the town’s history.

Each Christmas, The Krampus arrived for dinner with a ceremonial lump of coal {Oh how they laughed!!} and presents. Winter was never cold for Robin ever again.


Copyright September 2014