The Carrot An’ The Stick

“Which way d’you be goin?”
The old man’s grav’lly shout
Came at me with the blowin’
O’ the fresh gale from the Sout’.

“Same way as you, old codger,
I’m on the London road.”
“Then ’op aboard an’ lodger
Yer carcass an’ yer load.”

I thanked the fellow gladly,
And said: “What awful sky”.
“Indeed,” he chipped in sadly,
“Espec’lly f’July”.

I loaded my portmanteau,
And climbed up on the cart,
He gave a cry of “Heave ho
You dumb ass, let’s depart!”

The ass had other notions;
The old man cursed and swore,
Then started making motions
Towards the tavern door.

I sat there ’neath the hood,
(Best to avoid the wet),
The creature simply stood,
Froze’ like a statuette.

The old man came back holding
A packet in his hand,
Then from the canvas folding
At the back he took a strand.

He climbed back in his seat,
And with a length of string
He tied a tasty treat
Onto a rod, and let it swing.

It dangled in the air
Above the ass’s nose,
And as it grew aware
Its poorly spirits rose.

Yet still it wouldn’t move,
So the old man took a stick,
"We’ll see if this improves
Yer," he said, and gave a flick.

The creature started walkin’,
The old man shouted, "Faster!
An’ don’t you be a-balkin’,
Or else you’ll learn oo’s master."

At last it struck a pace -
As much as asses can;
I studied the grimace
Of this old, wizened man,

Then asked him, "Is it needy
To whip the creature so,
Could you not coax it speedy?"
He laughed, "This thing? Oh no!

“This as you see, is wily,
Jus’ like a little child,
You never will beguile ’e,
Be you so very mild.

You’ll never make ’im do
Your will unless you give
The stick, (though it seem cruel),
That an’ some incentive.

I’s tried t’foster kindness,
I’s tried t’talk ’im sweet,
T’that ’e’s only blindness,
F’such is ’is conceit.

I’s also tried t’beat ’im,
That failed at each attempt,
Mere blows will not entreat ’im,
Such is the beast’s contempt.

The only thing that moves ’im
Is a little bit of each,
A crack an’ bite improves ’im
Till ’e’s sweet as a peach.

Yes, ’is jus’ like a kid,
(Like every mother’s son),
Needs trainin’, God forbid,
Else our trip could ne’er be done”.

And so, forward we journeyed
Upon the London road,
The ass both wet and wearied
For it pulled a heavy load.

But every time it faltered
It picked up mighty quick,
For the old man never altered:
First the carrot, then the stick.

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