A little bit of butter for my bread

24 November 2013

A few weeks ago, a chore landed on my desk. It had started somewhere near the top of the company, and been rapidly bounced down through the layers before it skittered to a halt on mine. Someone asked me about it, and I said, well, the king told the queen, and the queen told the dairymaid, and then the dairymaid went to ask the Alderney – and then I realised, from the blank looks, that no-one had a clue what I was talking about.

This might be a generational thing, and the taste for A.A.Milne’s children’s poems, written in the 1920s, died out sometime in the ’60s or ’70s. Or it might just be me, or rather my family, because my father used to love that particular poem, even reciting it all from memory from time to time. (And no-one could call him a fussy man).

So here it is, for younger readers, courtesy of the Poetry Foundation.

The King’s Breakfast

By A.A. Milne

     The King asked
     The Queen, and
     The Queen asked
     The Dairymaid:
     “Could we have some butter for
     The Royal slice of bread?”
     The Queen asked
     The Dairymaid,
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “Certainly,
     I’ll go and tell
     The cow
     Now
     Before she goes to bed.”
 
     The Dairymaid
     She curtsied,
     And went and told
     The Alderney:
     “Don’t forget the butter for
     The Royal slice of bread.”
 
     The Alderney
     Said sleepily:
     “You’d better tell
     His Majesty
     That many people nowadays
     Like marmalade
     Instead.”
 
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “Fancy!”
     And went to
     Her Majesty.
     She curtsied to the Queen, and
     She turned a little red:
     “Excuse me,
     Your Majesty,
     For taking of
     The liberty,
     But marmalade is tasty, if
     It’s very
     Thickly
     Spread.”
 
     The Queen said
     “Oh!”
     And went to
     His Majesty:
     “Talking of the butter for
     The Royal slice of bread,
     Many people
     Think that
     Marmalade
     Is nicer.
     Would you like to try a little
     Marmalade
     Instead?”

     The King said,
     “Bother!”
     And then he said,
     “Oh, dear me!”
     The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”
     And went back to bed.
     “Nobody,”
     He whimpered,
     “Could call me
     A fussy man;
     I only want
     A little bit
     Of butter for
     My bread!”

     The Queen said,
     “There, there!”
     And went to
     The Dairymaid.
     The Dairymaid
     Said, “There, there!”
     And went to the shed.
     The cow said,
     “There, there!
     I didn’t really
     Mean it;
     Here’s milk for his porringer
     And butter for his bread.”
 
     The Queen took
     The butter
     And brought it to
     His Majesty;
     The King said,
     “Butter, eh?”
     And bounced out of bed.
     “Nobody,” he said,
     As he kissed her
     Tenderly,
     “Nobody,” he said,
     As he slid down
     The banisters,
     “Nobody,
     My darling,
     Could call me
     A fussy man—
     BUT
I do like a little bit of butter to my bread!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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