Jim, Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion by Hilaire Belloc

From Cautionary Tales for Children, a book of verse written by Hilaire Belloc and Provoking lions can be very dangerous indeed!illustrated by Basil T. Blackwood. Cautionary tales were popular during the Edwardian era, and Belloc’s were considered among the best. Described as “humorous poems with an implausible moral,” these stories seem written as much for the amusement of adults as for children.


Who ran away from his Nurse, and was eaten by a Lion.

Lions and small boys do not mix, according to Hilaire Belloc!






There was a Boy whose name was Jim;
His Friends were very good to him.
They gave him Tea, and Cakes, and Jam,
And slices of delicious Ham,
And Chocolate with pink inside,
And little Tricycles to ride,

Jim had stories read to him (from Cautionary Tales for Children, by Hilaire Belloc).







read him Stories through and through,
And even took him to the Zoo—
But there it was the dreadful Fate
Befell him, which I now relate.

You know—at least you ought to know.
For I have often told you so—
That Children never are allowed
To leave their Nurses in a Crowd;

Now this was Jim’s especial Foible,
He ran away when he was able,
And on this inauspicious day
He slipped his hand and ran away!
He hadn’t gone a yard when—

The lion sprang upon Jim (from Cautionary Tales for Children, by Hilaire Belloc).







With open Jaws, a Lion sprang,
And hungrily began to eat
The Boy: beginning at his feet.

Now just imagine how it feels
When first your toes and then your heels,
And then by gradual degrees,
Your shins and ankles, calves and knees,
Are slowly eaten, bit by bit.

The lion ate Jim! (from Cautionary Tales for Children, by Hilaire Belloc)





No wonder Jim detested it!
No wonder that he shouted “Hi!”
The Honest Keeper heard his cry,
Though very fat

The keeper came to try and help Jim (from Cautionary Tales for Children, by Hilaire Belloc).




he almost ran
To help the little gentleman.
“Ponto!” he ordered as he came
(For Ponto was the Lion’s name),
“Ponto!” he cried,

The keeper frowned at the lion who was eating Jim (from Cautionary Tales for Children, by Hilaire Belloc).






with angry Frown.
“Let go, Sir! Down, Sir! Put it down!”

The Lion made a sudden Stop,
He let the Dainty Morsel drop,
And slunk reluctant to his Cage,
Snarling with Disappointed Rage
But when he bent him over Jim,
The Honest Keeper’s

Even the keeper could not save Jim from the lion (from Cautionary Tales for Children, by Hilaire Belloc).







Eyes were dim.
The Lion having reached his Head,
The Miserable Boy was dead!

The Nurse had to tell Jim's parents about the lion incident (from Cautionary Tales for Children, by Hilaire Belloc).







When Nurse informed his Parents, they
Were more Concerned than I can say:—
His Mother, as She dried her eyes,
Said, “Well—it gives me no surprise,
He would not do as he was told!”
His Father, who was self-controlled,
Bade all the children round attend
To James’ miserable end,
And always keep a-hold of Nurse
For fear of finding something worse.


From Cautionary Tales for Childen: Designed for the Admonition of Children between the ages of eight and fourteen years.


More Belloc poetry

Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953) was an orator, poet, satirist, man of letters, and political activist. He is most notable for his Catholic faith, which had a strong impact on most of his works, and for his writing collaboration with his friend, G. K. Chesterton. His most lasting legacy is probably his verse, which encompasses cautionary tales and religious poetry. (Read more at Wikipedia.)