4.1 The Vet

To be a successful and competent vet,
Needs knowledge exceedingly wide,
For each of the patients he’s likely to get
Possesses a different inside.
He must know why the cat is refusing her milk,
Why the dog is not eating his bone,
Why the coat of the horse is not shining
like silk,
Why the parrot does nothing but groan;
Why the ducks and the chickens are failing
to lay,
Why so faint the canary bird sings,
And if he is called to the zoo he must say
An incredible number of things.
If the lion’s caught a cold,
If the zebra’s getting old,
If the centipede has trouble with his feet,
If the hippo’s feeling ill,
If the bison’s got a chill,
If the Arctic fox is suffering from heat,
If some virulent disease
Has attacked the chimpanzees,
If the tortoise hasn’t stirred for several years,
If the bear’s too full of buns,
If the cobra eats her sons,
If the panther has a wife who chews his ears;
If giraffes have had a tiff
And their necks are feeling stiff
If hyenas will not laugh at keepers’ jokes,
If the monkey’s pinched his tail,
If the rhino’s looking pale,
If the elephant eats paper-bags and chokes,
If the camel-hurts his hump,
If the kangaroo won’t jump,
If the crocodile turns cannibal and bites,
They run away and get
That omniscient, the vet
And expect him to put everything to rights.
Profoundly I pity the vet, who must learn
Such a very great deal for his pay;
My son, I advise you most strongly to earn
Your living an easier way.
Don’t attempt to attend the zoological crowd;
a far more advisable plan
Is to call yourself ‘Doctor’, and so be allowed
To treat the illnesses of man.