The Late-Night Diner

By L. W. Smith

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    When I awoke, there was a bear

    Reclining by my bed.

    He said, “It’s good to see you, dear;

    It’s time that I was fed.”

    I asked, “What would you like, good sir?”

    Though it was plain to see,

    The hungry glint that lit his eyes

    Was gleaming straight at me.

    He said, “Pray, pass this way, my dear,

    A morsel, if you please.”

    I reached beneath the coverlet

    And drew out cottage cheese.

    He said, “A salad, that, perhaps,

    But where is the main course?”

    I found a fig beneath the sheet

    And threw it with great force.

    He said, “A tasty fruit, the fig,

    But I wish something more.”

    I felt beneath the mattress then

    And found an apple core.

    He said, “A lovely meal, my dear,

    But though it’s rather curt,

    I think it’s time to end things now

    With cold milk and dessert.”

    I did not care to be dessert,

    Though I am sweet, it’s true;

    I thought and thought and thought and then

    I knew just what to do.

    I leaped from bed to face the beast;

    My body shook in dread.

    I flicked the light switch on—to find

    The coward had just fled!

    Illustrated by Dick Brown