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The Ballad of May and the Shortcut

A girl named May, in a tiny town
Did live, with never a pout nor frown.
Her attitude gentle, behavior mild
So pure and simple was this child.

May went to school in this town small;
Grade two was she, beginning in fall.
Said Ma, “When school’s done, please don’t roam,
Just follow the path and come straight home.”

“If from this route you never stray,
You’ll return home safe each day.”
And May stayed faithfully to this plan,
Until the arrival of Daring Dan.

Older than her by years about three,
Dan held an aura of mystery,
Arriving from the town of Firle
And aboding next to this little girl.

He chanced to walk back home one eve
The same time as young May did leave.
He called, “Wait up! I’ll walk with you.
You live by me, the same road, too.”

Since May always did as told,
She waited for this youth so bold.
And perfectly silent both were they,
Till Dan turned ‘round and spoke to May.

“Listen here,” to May said he,
“I don’t walk this way normally.
I know a shortcut we can take.
Let’s go that way, for goodness sake.”

And so small May, all filled with trust
Followed him (she thought she must!).
Into the woods, they wandered deep,
Neither uttering a peep.

As May had been told by her mother,
One fir tree looks like another.
As into the woods you journey forth,
You can’t tell east or west from north.

This was true, the two had found.
The only certain thing was ground.
They thought that they were hopelessly lost...
Till May noticed-- the trees were mossed!

May had learned that day in school,
Where the moss grows, as a rule.
When you look, it’s clear to see
Moss on the north side of a tree.

So now directions they could tell,
Because dear May listened so well.
But by the time May got inside,
Her mother was just petrified.

“Oh May! I was afraid you’d gotten
Put up for sale-- and maybe boughten!”
May smiled and said, “Ma, please calm down.
I never even left the town.”
“I’m here now, Ma, I’m quite all right.”
“But goodness, May, you are a sight!”
Said Ma, “Thank God you’re safe and sound--
What would I do without you around?”

MORAL: Pay attention in school.