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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.1  ~  Bad Words

Narrated by Poet Charles Rammelkamp


     “One more bad word,” warned Dickie Lessor’s mother, “and I’ll put you across my knee and spank you.”

     Dickie just smiled because he knew that his mother’s spankings never hurt.

     “You have a mouth like a gutter,” added Mr. Lessor.

     “What’s so terrible about using bad words?” asked Dickie.  “Aren’t words made to be used?”

     “Not bad words!” answered his mother.  “Bad words are not allowed.”

     “Then why were they invented?” asked Dickie.

     His mother, not knowing how to answer Dickie’s question, said nothing.  His father, raising his voice and stabbing the air with his finger, said, “The next time you use a bad word, I’ll wash out your mouth—with soap!”

     What Dickie Lessor’s mother and father did not know was that Dickie said bad words for different reasons.  Sometimes he simply wanted to attract attention; sometimes he was truly angry; sometimes he was not aware of what the words meant; sometimes he liked the sound of the words; sometimes he thought that saying bad words made him appear grownup; and sometimes he regarded the words as magical, because they had the power to shock strangers and cause parents to be thrown into utter confusion, which is just what happened when Dickie said @#$!%&*(+??# in front of his parents’ friends at a Sunday afternoon barbecue.

     “That’s the last straw,” said Mr. Lessor, after all the guests had left.  “You embarrassed your mother and me with your foul mouth.  Now I’m going to wash it out!”

     And wash out Dickie’s mouth is exactly what Mr. Lessor did.  He took a small bar of soap and rubbed it all over Dickie’s tongue.  Dickie, of course, didn’t at all like the taste of soap.  In fact, he so hated the taste of it that he promised never again to say a bad word.  He kept his promise too.  Instead of swearing, he said such things as “Aw shucks” and “Oh darn.”  When he was really mad, he might shout, “Oh, frogs and fishes” or “Oh, sticks and stones.”  But he never said anything worse.

     Now one day, Dickie tried out for the local Little League baseball team called the Lobos, which is the Spanish word for wolves.  Mr. and Mrs. Lessor were very proud and told all their friends that Dickie was going to be a member of the Lobos.  The manager of the team was Mr. Gruff, and he told his players over and over again not to behave like sissies, but like men.

     “No sissies around here,” Mr. Gruff ordered when the boys went out to practice.  “No crying.  No excuses.  No baby talk.  Act like men!”

     Dickie didn’t cry and didn’t make excuses, even when he dropped the ball or struck out; instead, he said things like, “Oh, crickets and crocodiles,” and “Oh, whales and wheels,” and “Oh, scissors and sausages.”  The other boys, who cussed a lot, laughed themselves silly every time Dickie used such language.

     “Can’t you swear like a man?” asked one boy.

     “You sound like a sissy,” said another.

     “What a baby,” said a third.

     Mr. Gruff agreed.

     “We don’t want any sissy talk around here!” he thundered.  “No man says, ‘Oh, crickets and crocodiles.’  If you can’t speak like a baseball player, then maybe you’d better play in some sissy league.”

     Dickie didn’t want to use bad words; and yet what was he to say when he got mad or grew angry because of some mistake?  Dropping a fly ball or striking out were no laughing matters.  Strong feelings require strong language.  But he couldn’t cuss; he’d promised his parents that he would never cuss again.  And he could no longer say things like, “Oh, blooms and blossoms.”  The other boys would laugh at him.  So he quit the Lobos.  When Mr. Lessor heard why he had left the team, he threatened to have the coach fired and the other boys reprimanded.  Then he broke out into a long string of swear words:  *&%!*!##&%@!*%&!#.  Dickie was shocked.

     “Well, what do you expect?” said his father.  “I’m boiling mad!”

     “But I thought you told me bad words were not allowed,” complained Dickie.


What would you advise?

a. that Dickie start to use bad words again;

b. that Dickie remain on the team and just ignore the other boys;

c. that Dickie forgive his father’s bad words;

d. that Dickie wash out his father’s mouth with soap;

e. that Dickie not play baseball any more and not talk to his father any more, if his father continues to swear;

f. that Dickie decide that if spoken words are only breathy sounds, which is what some people think, then bad words are just a lot of air?




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