Daily Express, Saturday, November 7, 1903

Poem 34

(By P. G. Wodehouse)



After finishing a hearty
Little luncheon off a party
Who in quest of big-game shooting
Had arrived on Afric’s shore, 1
In the valley of the Niger
Sat a philosophic tiger,
When a Parrot, having spied him,
Said “Your food will cost you more.”

“Pray proceed,” the beast requested;
“I am very interested
In the subject you have started”
(Quoth the genial carnivor).
“Up till now my daily victual
Has been costing very little.
Have you solid grounds for saying
That ‘It’s going to cost me more’?

“When I scour the desert sandy,
Snapping up whatever’s handy,
I have little apprehension
Of a lengthy bill in store.
Will this state of things be altered?”
“Why—er—yes,” the Parrot faltered,
“I’m afraid I cannot prove it,
But—Your food will cost you more.”

But the tiger, irritated,
For no further statements waited.
“Go away,” he growled with hauteur;
“Go away, you feathered bore;
I can see your dark predictions
Are a mass of foolish fictions.
You’ve no ground at all for saying
That ‘My food will cost me more.’ ”



This reverts to the theme of poem 22. It also brings to mind a passage in the much later Ring for Jeeves:

It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn’t.

There is, however, a confusion of ideas here: tigers are native to Asia and do not occur in Africa.