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Syndic Literary Journal


Written by Paul M. Levitt


Narrated by Syndic Literary Journal Poets

Published by LeRoy Chatfield


Introduction by the Publisher

Paul. M. Levitt, Professor Emeritus of English,  University of Colorado at Boulder, has written 14 Moral Fables that I have agreed to publish ~ and narrate ~  in serial-fashion in Syndic Literary Journal.

The titles of these Moral Fables are: Bad Words; Crybaby; Making Believe and Day Dreaming; Drawing the Line; Eating; Pocket Money; Nay Saying; Practice; Respect; Shouting; Tidiness; Telling the Truth; Whining; and No Bullying

The narration for each Moral Fable is  provided by a Poet  from Syndic Literary Journal.

I hope you will enjoy these moral fables as much as I do.

~ LeRoy Chatfield, Publisher

Moral Fable No.13  ~  No Whining

Narrated by Poet Charles Rammelkamp



     Ruby Skilowitz knew that whining was like squeezing and that the best and longest whine came from the strongest, longest squeeze.  So she squeezed and squeezed and squeezed—to her heart’s content and her parents’ distress.

     Whenever Ruby wanted something and didn’t get it, she’d whine.

     “I waaanna new mountain bike.  I waaanna wear lipstick.  I waaanna blue sweater.”

     When her mother said, “No whining,” Ruby whined, “I’mmm nooott whhhinnning.”

     When her father said, “Stop squeezing and speak like a grownup,” Ruby said, “I’mmm nooott squeeezzzing.”

     In fact, Ruby’s whining became so bad that it affected all her speech.  Her language sounded like spoiled baby talk:  whined, muttered, and clipped.  “You’re not a child,” her mother would complain.  “You’re thirteen!  Now act your age and stop speaking like a child.”  Her father suggested she read good books and improve her vocabulary. “Even though you’re not an adult,” he said, “big words will make you sound like one.”  He was hoping, of course, that once her vocabulary improved, her whining baby talk would stop.  But nothing helped.  Ruby whined when she spoke to her parents; she whined to her friends and even whined to strangers.  Whatever she said came out a whine, a long squeeezzzing baby whine.

     Finally her mother and father could stand it no longer.  They told her that unless she quit whining and spoke like a grownup, she’d never again be allowed to go skiing, which Ruby loved to do, or play with her computer, which was even more fun than skiing.  Ruby was scared.  She knew that once her parents made up their minds, they stuck to their guns.  So she went to her speech teacher at school and had a long talk with her.  Together they worked out a plan of study that included a great deal of reading.

     For the next few months, Ruby said very little around the house.  Then one night, during dinner, she looked across the table at her parents, who were muttering about the price of new drapes, and said without the trace of a whine:  “Let us talk about subjects that invite a sophisticated diction, instead of the usual mundane matters.”

     “What’s that?” her mother asked, utterly bewildered.

     “Children,” Ruby answered, enunciating all her syllables very clearly, “would neither whine nor slur their words nor swallow them if they were taught at home the principles of speech and grammar.”

     Her father looked as if he’d been struck by lightning.  He could hardly believe his ears.  Was this, he wondered, his daughter sitting in front of him?  She sounded like a university professor.

     “If,” Ruby continued, “children heard beautiful language at home, they would commit to memory the sound and sense of this discourse and would then be free of the barbarisms so often heard in the street.”

     Ruby’s mother nearly fainted.  Her father wiped the sweat from his forehead.

     Distinctly and crisply, without a trace of a whine, Ruby remarked:

     “To learn how to use words in their proper place, and how to utter them fully and richly, would bring the whole language into a child’s power.  This I take to be the most rational and most profitable course for parents to take in raising a child.”

     Before Ruby could say another word, her mother said, “I’m lost.”

     Her father, looking slightly ill, gasped, “Ruby, dear; Ruby, honey, maybe you’d like to whine a little again.  Go ahead.  It’s all right.  I mean . . . like a little whining baby talk isn’t so bad.  After all, nobody’s perfect.”

     “Perfect,” her mother blurted.  “Who wants perfection?  I just want my lovable, adorable, sweet, little thirteen year old Ruby the way she used to be.”


What would you advise?

  1. that Ruby whine again;
  2. that Ruby continue to speak like a university professor;
  3. that Ruby go to live with her speech teacher;
  4. that her parents start whining themselves;
  5. that her parents encourage Ruby to keep up her fancy language;
  6. that her parents learn to speak like Ruby?



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