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Phoebe Cary

They Didn't Think

Once a trap was baited

With a piece of cheese;

It tickled so a little mouse

It almost made him sneeze;

An old rat said, "There's danger,

Be careful where you go!"

"Nonsense!" said the other,

"I don't think you know!"

So he walked in boldly—

Nobody in sight—

First he took a nibble,

Then he took a bite;

Close the trap together

Snapped as quick as wink,

Catching mousey fast there,

'Cause he didn't think.

Once a little turkey,

Fond of her own way,

Wouldn't ask the old ones

Where to go or stay;

She said, "I'm not a baby,

Here I am half-grown;

Surely I am big enough

To run about alone!"

Off she went, but somebody

Hiding saw her pass;

Soon like snow her feathers

Covered all the grass.

So she made a supper

For a sly young mink,

'Cause she was so headstrong

That she wouldn't think.

Once there was a robin,

Lived outside the door,

Who wanted to go inside

And hop upon the floor.

"No, no," said the mother,

"You must stay with me;

Little birds are safest

Sitting in a tree."

"I don't care," said Robin,

And gave his tail a fling,

"I don't think the old folks

Know quite everything."

Down he flew, and Kitty seized him,

Before he'd time to blink;

"Oh," he cried, "I'm sorry,

But I didn't think."

Now, my little children,

You who read this song,

Don't you see what trouble

Comes of thinking wrong?

And can't you take a warning

From their dreadful fate

Who began their thinking

When it was too late?

Don't think there's always safety

When no danger shows;

Don't suppose you know more

Than anybody knows;

But when you're warned of ruin,

Pause upon the brink,

And don't go under headlong,

'Cause you didn't think.