Daily Express, Tuesday, October 6, 1903

Poem 06

(Attribution uncertain)



Now the Parrot, bent on stopping
His depression, went a-hopping
Where a play by Mr Barrie 1
Sets the people in a roar.
Where with grins each face relaxes;
There, he thought, that Stomach Taxes
He’d forget, and disremember
That “Your food will cost you more.”

But he found the name a dummy,
“Little Mary” was a tummy! 2
At the mention of which organ
He retreated to the door,
Where he saw a programme-seller,
And was just in time to tell her,
As he vanished from the theatre,
That “Your food will cost you more.”



J. M. Barrie (1860–1937) was a Scottish author and playwright. Now remembered chiefly as the creator of “Peter Pan”, he was a prolific author. His play “Little Mary” received its premiere at Wyndham’s Theatre, London, on 24 September 1903.


As with many of his works, “Little Mary” deals with a social issue, in this case the ill effects of over-eating. “Little Mary”, it is revealed in the final act, is the main character’s secret word for the stomach.