Read PETER AND THE OGRESS of Careless Jane and Other Tales , free online book, by Katharine Pyle, on

These small boys started off for school
But loitered by the way,
Until at last ’twas quite too late
To go to school that day.
Ah naughty, naughty, truant boys!
But listen what befell!
Close by a wicked ogress lived,
Down in a lonesome dell.

Now see her coming down the hill!
Now see the children run!
Her arms are long, her hands are strong,
She catches every one.
In vain the children kick and scream,
The ogress takes them home
And locks the door; then off she goes
To bid the neighbors come.

But clever Peter sees above
The chimney, black and wide;
“Quick, wipe your eyes and come,” he cries;
“I’ve found a place to hide.”
And none too soon, for scarce the last
Is out of sight before
They hear the wicked ogress
Come stumping in the door.

Then from the chimney Peter bawls,
“We’re hiding, stupid face!”
“Oh, oh!” the ogress says, “I know;
You’re up the chimney place.”
So up the chimney now she looks;
“I’ll fetch you out,” she cries;
But puff! the clever Peter blows
The soot down in her eyes.

All filled with black out through the door
She hurries, howling still,
Just when the other ogresses
Are coming up the hill.
They stop, they stare, they quake with fear,
They stand appalled to see
This dreadful, hopping, howling thing
As black as black can be.

And now pell-mell away they run;
But down the chimney place
The boys climb ere the ogress
Can clean her sooty face;
And when they’re safely home again
They keep the master’s rule,
And never, never play again
At truant from the school.