Friday Fable. Belloc’s “Franklin Hyde, Who caroused in the Dirt and was corrected by His Uncle.”*

Posted by jlubans on August 12, 2016

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Caption: Uncle about to lay into Franklin, by BTB, 1907

“His Uncle came on Franklin Hyde
Carousing in the Dirt.
He Shook him hard from Side to Side
And
Hit him till it Hurt,
Exclaiming, with a Final Thud,
‘Take that! Abandoned Boy!
For Playing with Disgusting Mud
As though it were a Toy!’”
“MORAL
From Franklin Hyde’s adventure, learn
To pass your Leisure Time
In Cleanly Merriment, and turn
From Mud and Ooze and Slime
And every form of Nastiness—
But, on the other Hand,
Children in ordinary Dress
May always play with Sand.”

The abusive Uncle – someone call Child Protective Services, please - is like the punctilious boss; all work and no play.
But, Uncle makes exceptions for the fastidious few – like himself - who, “in ordinary Dress, May always play with Sand,” i. e. Mediocrity.
For me, Franklin is about creativity and its messiness (“Carousing in the Dirt”) abhorred by Uncle-type bosses. Appearance and tradition matter more than changing and improving every day.
So, limit your horizons, don’t get your hands dirty, and don’t color outside the lines. “Final thud!”

*Source: “Cautionary Tales for Children” by Hilaire Belloc, illustrated by Basil Temple Blackwood, 1907.

© Copyright John Lubans 2016

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