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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 N0.2 ~  CRYBABY

Narrated by Poet Charles Rammelkamp


  “Don’t be a crybaby,” ordered Mr. Major.  “Be brave.”

     His son Johnny, who had just turned nine, had fallen on the sidewalk, scraped his knee, and was sobbing loudly.

     “Behave like a man.  Like a grownup,” commanded Mr. Major.  “Only babies cry.”

     So Johnny stopped sniffling and went into the house.  But no sooner was he in the house, than he cried to his mother that his father was being mean to him.

     “Daddy yelled at me,” said Johnny.  “And just because I fell down.”

     “No,” yelled Mr. Major, who had just entered the house and overheard his son complaining about him.  “I scolded you for crying, not for falling down.  There’s a difference.”

     As soon as Mr. Major said this, Johnny began to cry all the louder.

     “Here we go again,” sighed Mr. Major.

     And the truth is, Johnny did cry a great deal.  In fact, he cried about any number of things.  He cried if he fell down, or if his bicycle tire was flat, or if he had to take a bath, or if he had to swallow medicine, or if he had to eat lima beans, or if he was scolded.

     “You’re like a water faucet,” complained Mr. Major.  “You’re always turning the tears on and off.  You must learn to control yourself.”

     “I can’t help it,” answered Johnny.

     “Don’t be a crybaby,” growled Mr. Major.

     Johnny, of course, responded to this advice by crying all the more.  Mr. Major threw up his hands in exasperation.  He was running out of patience.  He didn’t know what to do.

     “I have an idea,” said Mrs. Major.  “Johnny wants a dog.  If he agrees to stop being a crybaby, we’ll buy him a collie.”

     When Johnny heard this idea, he said in a very grownup way, “I’ll never cry again.”

     So Mr. and Mrs. Major bought Johnny a collie, which Johnny named Rufus.  It was black, with white paws, muzzle, and tail.  Johnny loved Rufus and took him for long walks in the park and up and down the block.  Rufus was smart and obedient; he was house trained in no time and learned quickly to respond to commands such as sit, lie down, heel, and come.  Even Mr. and Mrs. Major, who would have preferred a cat to a dog, had to admit that Rufus was clever and lovable.  But best of all, Johnny had stopped being a crybaby.  If he fell down, he picked himself up without a word of complaint.  If his bicycle tire was flat, he patched the inner tube and said nothing.  He bathed, swallowed medicine, and ate lima beans without uttering a word of protest.  And if he was scolded he never, no never, not even once, cried.

     Mr. and Mrs. Major were delighted that Johnny was no longer a crybaby.  After all, crying, they said, was for babies, not for big boys like Johnny.

     Well, one foggy morning, when the streets were wet and the mist hung like clouds of smoke, a car came out of the vaporous fog, having lost its way, and hit poor Rufus.  Johnny, who had been standing at a distance while Rufus sniffed a fire hydrant, saw Rufus thrown into the air, landing on a neighbor’s front lawn.  In a minute, word spread from house to house that Johnny’s dog had been hit by a car.  Mr. and Mrs. Major came running.  Johnny was sitting on the grass next to poor Rufus.

     “How awful,” cried Mrs. Major, as she ran to embrace her son.

     “Don’t cry,” said Johnny.  “It was an accident.”

     “It’s awful, just awful,” Mrs. Major kept repeating, as large tears rolled down her face.

     “These things happen,” explained Johnny.

     “You aren’t even crying,” said Mrs. Major.

     “We have to be grownup,” answered Johnny.

     Mr. Major, upon seeing that one of Rufus’ back legs was fractured, broke down and wept.

     “We’ll take him to the vet,” said Mr. Major.  “Don’t cry.  He’ll be as good as new.”

     “I’m not crying,” said Johnny.  “Only babies cry.”

     Mr. Major didn’t know what to say.

     “Don’t you care about Rufus?” he asked his son.

     “Of course I care,” answered Johnny.  “But it’s no good to be like a water faucet, always turning the tears on and off every time something bad happens.”

     “Rufus isn’t just something!” exclaimed Mr. Major.  “He’s your dog.  Your own Rufus.  You should be crying.  Have you no heart?”

     “I’m behaving like a man,” answered Johnny.  “I’m holding back my tears.  You really must learn to control yourself, Dad, and not let your feelings get the better of you.”


What would you advise?

a. that Johnny cry;

b. that Mrs. Major not cry;

c. that Mr. Major not cry;

d. that Johnny forget about Rufus and get a new dog;

e. that Johnny sue the driver who hit his dog;

f. that Mr. and Mrs. Major learn self-control, which, we’re told, is like a jewel at the bottom of a still pond?



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