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Fidgety Philip

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Fidgety Philip is another horrid creature from the poem Shock-Headed Peter by Heinrich Hoffmann. He’s not quite so terrifying as Dreadful Harriet, but he’s certainly a bit of a brat. Hoffmann’s children are made from the same stuff as some of Roald Dahl ‘s characters (see Augustus Gloop ) They are pretty horrid, and they sometimes come to sticky ends, but in the case of Philip, it’s his poor parents who suffer most.

Read by Natasha. Duration 3.15

“Let me see if Philip can
Be a little gentleman;
Let me see if he is able
To sit still for once at table”:
Thus Papa bade Phil behave;
And Mamma looked very grave.
But fidgety Phil,
He won’t sit still;
He wriggles,
And giggles,
And then, I declare,
Swings backwards and forwards,
And tilts up his chair,
Just like any rocking horse—
“Philip! I am getting cross!”

See the naughty, restless child
Growing still more rude and wild,
Till his chair falls over quite.
Philip screams with all his might,
Catches at the cloth, but then
That makes matters worse again.
Down upon the ground they fall,
Glasses, plates, knives, forks, and all.
How Mamma did fret and frown,
When she saw them tumbling down!
And Papa made such a face!
Philip is in sad disgrace.

Where is Philip, where is he?
Fairly covered up you see!
Cloth and all are lying on him;
He has pulled down all upon him.
What a terrible to-do!
Dishes, glasses, snapt in two!
Here a knife, and there a fork!
Philip, this is cruel work.
Table all so bare, and ah!
Poor Papa, and poor Mamma
Look quite cross, and wonder how
They shall have their dinner now.

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