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Near Kathmandu was found a shoe
Of truly monstrous size.
There could be no doubt about it,
No cosy compromise.
It was a shoe, though two feet long,
And made of coarse yak hair,
Just the very sort of thing
A two foot foot would wear.
An ancient wise man came to see
This monstrous artefact,
Crossing many a wind-whipped peak
And frozen cataract.
He took it in his aged hands,
And sniffed its vast interior.
“Whoever owns this shoe,” he said,
“His hygiene is inferior”.
“It smells of ghee and yak milk tea,
And some things quite disgusting.
Just from being close to it,
My prayer wheel is rusting.”
Just then was heard a piercing shriek,
And then a long loud sigh,
And on a peak appeared a thing
Outlined against the sky.
It was a man, but ten feet tall,
Armed with a twelve foot lance,
Who there upon the icy rocks
Began to leap and dance.
“Return my shoe,” the monster roared,
“Before my poor toes freeze,
Or I will come and carry off
A hundred Nepalese.”
Then with its huge and hairy fists
It beat upon its breast.
“Dear me!” the ancient wise man said,
“The poor thing is distressed.”
“We do not want your putrid shoe,”
He called out very loud,
And all his words were echoed
By the frightened little crowd.
“Come down and get the beastly thing.
We do not like its odour.
It would make unliveable
The very best pagoda.”
“We’ll just leave it here for you,
And go and have some lunch.
We would not stay to frighten you,
We’re not a nasty bunch.”
So in they went and down it came
With a loud and dreadful rumble,
And every rock on which it stepped
Began to crack and crumble.
Upon the softer snow it made
Footprints most impressive,
And gave a great blood-curdling roar,
Both fearsome and aggressive.
And all the people watched it,
From the windows of their houses,
And saw it wore a yak-hair coat,
And very holey trousers.
And when it reached the village street,
And sat down in the snow,
They saw its great big hairy feet
Had only skin below.
It took its shoe and put it on,
And tied up all the laces,
Then sang a little happy tune,
And made some funny faces.
It rubbed its feet together,
And said, “Ah, that feels nice.
No-one can be happy
When their toes are cold as ice!”
It stood and faced the houses,
Where all the people hid.
“I haven’t had a tantrum
Since I was just a kid.”
“I didn’t mean to be so rude,”
It said, while looking down.
“I wish I hadn’t made a fuss
And terrified the town.”
“I’ve never been so horrible,
Although I am quite old,
But I cannot keep my temper
When my feet are freezing cold!”
© Fay Johnston
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