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A Tale of a Tell Tale Snail
by james lewis
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A Tale of the Tell-Tale Snail
James R. Lewis 16 May 2005
(second or third grade?)
(with primary ending, good spiritual content)
(home schooling target audience?)
(* numbers indicate pages, built for the 26 page "picture book")

This is a tale…a snail tail!
Tell us the tale of the Tell-Tale Snail!
A tale of a snail on the trail of the Holy Grail.
He was a very frail male snail, was Sir Snail, going for a sail, clad in mail on the trail of the Great Holy Grail.

As Sir Snail set sail, he shined up his mail,
and then did impale his tail on a nail!
Poor frail snail! He was becoming quite pale,
and boy, did he wail for of the nail in his tail!
“Hail, Snail!” Cried a trout with a bout of gout.
The trout had a pout on her snout because of her bout with gout.
“Hail, Snail—you look awful pale! Mayhaps some kelp will help?”
The trout with the bout of gout joined the frail male snail in mail with a nail in its tail, to help with kelp, as they sail on the trail of the Great Holy Grail. The trout with gout helped the frail male snail with the nail in his tail, by putting his tail in a pail with kelp to help.

“Ahoy! Boy, it’s a buoy! I hope it’s not a ploy!” cried the trout with a pout on her snout from her bout with gout. “The buoy is no ploy! We have found ground; let us breach the beach!” proclaimed Sir Snail at this hail. As they reach the beach, a pirate named Teach would preach to Doc Leech on the beach, who cried out “Preach, Teach!”

As the trout with gout and the snail in mail with his tail in a pail breach the beach where Teach did preach for the good Dr. Leech,
they see in a tree…

An itsy-bitsy gypsy from Paughkeepsie* (and I’m sorry to say, the itsy bitsy gypsy from Paughkeepsie was actually rather tipsy!)
(*Its pronounced ‘pu-kip-see’ and it’s
a real place in New York!)

The itsy-bitsy tipsy gypsy was with a brassy lassie.
This was a brassy Tallahassee lassie, and my, was she sassy!
Behind a great grate, stayed they,
in prisoner state one might say,
those coming by sea could all see in the tree,
sassy lassie and gypsy today.

From the tree did they call, “Please help, or we’ll fall!
Help us down from this treacherous tree!
Imprisoned, indeed, once were we,
Though, now, from our bonds, we’re set free,
but though we’re now free, we’re still stuck in this tree.
Please help us,” begged they, “we pray thee!”

So Teach with great reach reached up high,
To those silly girls stuck in sky,
Though we know not why
imprisoned they’d been,
it seemed they’d been washed of their sin.

So the frail male snail in mail and the trout with a pout from her bout with gout joined the itsy-bitsy gypsy from Paughkeepsie and the sassy Tallahassee Lassie on their classy silver chassis.

Already on this classy silver chassis was a skunk in a bunk with a bright red trunk. “You can’t drive drunk!” cried the skunk in the bunk with the bright red trunk to the itsy-bitsy gypsy who was still rather tipsy, when she climbed behind the steel wheel. The frail male snail in mail with his tail in a pail decreed that he agreed. “I thrive when I drive, and if I drive, we’re sure to arrive alive!” called the brassy Tallahassee Lassie who was sassy.


The sassy, brassy lassie drove the skunk in the bunk with the bright red trunk, the trout with the pout on her snout from her bout with gout, the frail male Sir Snail in mail with his tail in a pail (that he did impale on a very rusty nail, and the kelp in the pail sure did help), and the tipsy gypsy from Paughkeepsie, on the classy silver chassis, she drove the crew she hardly even knew, hot on the trail of the Great Holy Grail.

With the whole load on the road, this very odd squad drove around and found that the classy silver chassis was really rather trashie—the truck got stuck! It was no joke, and nobody spoke, when they broke a spoke and were stranded where they landed. Then…

…Who landed where they stranded, but a crane with a brain?

“Our travel’s in the gravel, because our truck got stuck since our spoke broke,” said the itsy-bitsy gypsy from Paughkeepsie. “Can you unravel this travel in the gravel?”

“Your solution is plain,” said the crane with the brain, “but I disdain the train, and hold a plane in the very same vein—we just need a crane! Of course a horse draggin’ a wagon might be a sure cure…”

So the crane with a brain, named Blaine found a horse, of course, draggin’ a wagon with the main crane from Maine. “We’ll first drain the crane,” said Blaine the crane, “’cause I got a little peek at a little bitty leak—it made the wagon creak when we tried to sneak through the bubbling creek—and now the crane from Maine is gonna make a big stain where it drips from the drain—you can see it quite plain...” said Blaine the crane with the very big brain.

It was a bit of a strain to run the crane from Maine, being run by a buck called Chuck. And the hind didn’t mind, in the noise, what was signed: “Keep your feet really neat in the seat.” But he made a little grunt when his feet at his front, in their shoes, the little knobs he did lose, “These make my grip slip,” proclaimed he a quick quip, “But the task that you ask shall be done.” So the truck got unstuck with a little bit of luck, and a great big buck called Chuck.


The gypsy from Paughkeepsie and the sassy brassy lassie, drove the frail male snail in mail with his tail in a pail and the trout who did pout from her bout with gout, in the classy, yet trashie, chassis of the truck that the buck called Chuck got unstuck with the crane from Maine that made a stain from its drain, that Blaine the crane provided (since Blaine disliked both the train and the plane), as they continued on the trail of the Grail.

Chuck the buck who helped them get unstuck, and Blaine the crane with the great big brain, joined the crew that was true on the trail of the Grail, as it was too much of a gas to pass!

They met Rick Flick and his cousin Mick, who were on a picnic with the twins Nick and Vick. They found Rick Flick had a slick little trick that he did with a stick, used to cross the grass as they came across Crass Crick. “Hey, Rick Flick!” called Chuck the buck on the classy silver truck, “You know that crass little trick that you did with your stick to help you pass the grass as you got to Crass Crick? Can your slick little trick help us cross Crass Crick?” “Sure can,” said the man who always had a plan, “But this slick little trick requires my twin kin! You see, you’ve got to pick Nick to hold onto the stick, then you get his sister Vick to stick the stick in the crick. Once you dip the stick right into the crick, then you take the dip-stick, and you give it a lick, it’s a nice way to have a picnic!”

“Yick and yuck!” Vick said to the buck, “I don’t want to lick a stick—that’s sick!”

“Fear not, my thin kin, you give it to your twin—you know about men, they just get a kick when they do a slick trick, even if the slick trick’s kind of sick!”

Though he still said “Yick!” Nick still got a kick as he pulled the slick trick from his lick on the stick (and it was rather sick), then he gave it a flick, and the buck in the truck with a little bit of luck, crossed across Crass Crick with a whole lot of pluck, then they all gathered round the picnic. And the crowd was rather loud after Nick Flick bowed, as he helped them to cross Crass Crick.

“May we come too?” politely asked the two, “and join on your journey with you?” Said Sir Snail, tail in a pail, “We’re hot on the trail of the Great Holy Grail, and we’ve less chance to fail if you two join our crew, so please do!”

So they left the picnic, the twins Vick and Nick (who felt a bit sick from his trick). “Pick Nick!” said she, who had been in the tree, “To have the nice treat to ride in the seat next to me!” Next to Nick’s neck, next came a quick squeak by his cheek through a crack from the back, a quick quip was heard from the beak of a bird, “What do we do, our quest to keep true, to stay on our best trail say you?”

So the sassy little lassie and the great big crew, put their brains together for a few. Then a voice from a chap who woke up from a nap, said “Perhaps I’ve a map that’ll do.”

The gypsy from Paughkeepsie had the map in her lap, and pointed to the rill and the hill, “So we follow this rill to the foot of the hill, where there’s a castle put there by King Bill.” “Now the castle has a vassal, put there by King Bill, it should be Sir Will if he’s still on the hill,” the skunk was a sport to report. The lassie in skort, gave a nasty retort, to the kind sporting skunk on his bunk, “So the skunk who has stunk,” she said with a snort, “Is now expert on our fort?” Said Sir Snail “Please just drive so we’ll make it alive, for I hope we arrive there by five.”

So by five the big mob did arrive, and they talk as they walk to the door, “Would you be so good, just to knock on that wood,” Sir Snail to his friend did implore, “When I knocked for to enter last winter, a splinter quite grand did enter my hand, so off to the side I’ll now stand.” But before on the wood could Nick knock, he stubbed his small toe on a rock, and saw a small sign on the door by the floor, “please knock on the door with a rock.”

With the rock that was once on the floor,
on the door, Nick knocked, once, then once more,
then the door was flung wide
by a kind tie-dyed bride,
“Who might you be?” she asked in implore.

“Sir Snail, at your service, my dear-- toward the floor you must look-- I’m down here,” said Sir Snail full of pride to the kind tie-dyed bride, then introduced those at his side:

“Our crowd’s quite a few, I’ll present them to you,”
he said and then took a deep breath:
With me is a trout, who is really no lout,
though a pout may appear on her snout;
it is true she is sad, you’d be too, if you’d had,
the long bout with the gout she has had.

Then we have two, from a tree we withdrew,
Tallahassee has given us Sue;
the gypsy you see, itsy bitsy like me,
from Paughkeepsie, (she’s sometimes askew).

We found Teach at the beach (and he really can preach!),
with his friend, the dear Dr. Leech.
And the great big buck called Chuck,
Who, with pluck,
fixed our stuck classy truck,
with wise help from Blaine, who provided a crane,
Joe Skunk and his trunk, then also thin Vick,
who, with sick twin Nick,
and his lick on stick, with a trick and a flick,
helped us cross a thick crick,
then shared their picnic at Crass Crick.
This rounds out our crew, I present them to you,
and to you we all say ‘Howdy do’”

“Wow!” said she, greeting them full of glee,
“What a mouthful you have I can see!
What brings you, my friend, to our house once again,”
asked she, polite as can be.

“A treasure and clue has brought us to you,”
responded Sir Snail for his team.
“When I was here before and I knocked on the door,
the vassal who helped me was Will.
I’d just started my quest in my shiny mail vest,
Hope then for my best quest was nil.
By then I’d my fill of Grail tales
and I’d still had their truths from the myths to distill,
And he’d helped with that test,
truth culled from the rest,
then on my way sent me downhill.
Is he still the man who can help with my plan,
is dear Will still here on this hill?”

“Yes the vassal in the castle’s still Will,”
responded his kindly wife Jill,
and Will’s tie-dyed bride had a child by her side,
who said “I just lit up the grill.”
“So won’t you come in my new friend,
who climbed this tall hill to see Will,
have a seat by the sill, we shall eat by the grill,”
said Jill, “pretty soon we’ll begin.”

Indicated their small-fry named Ty,
a small guy who sported a tie,
he showed them a rocker which was quite a shocker,
for to it the whole crew could hie.
Now you might wonder why
to a rocker you’d hie,
if ushered there by shy guy Ty,
though the seat was real neat, sized at least twenty feet,
there was but one cushion to try!

So the very loud crowd—(‘twould make a football team proud)
they did push and then squoosh toward that seat;
they all climbed aboard, you would really be floored,
their sight on that seat was a treat!

Then entered the room, the bride’s handsome groom,
“Join me now in prayer to show how we care,”
said Will with a nice pious flair.

Aware of the prayer, the cook, Jolly Bear,
the one whom the feast did prepare;
by the door he then stood,
for his manners were good--
interrupting their grace he’d not dare.

To those on the rocker (‘twas still quite a shocker,
to see such a crowd on that seat),
to each gave a bowl wherein was a roll;
sassy lassie replied with conceit:

“What’s the deal with this meal?
I hope you don’t feel, just a roll makes a meal feel replete!”
“Sure, ‘tis not enough,” Bear said in a huff,
“but here we dine fine, and as you recline,
in that special, back and forth seat;
from our guests it is said
when we serve them this bread,
the rock and roll with meal is quite neat.”

The rest of the meal was brought on the heel
of their time to enjoy a rock and roll.
Dressed in shades of teal,
the bride brought the meal,
great hungers to now satiate.

To the skunk who had stunk, who now brought in his trunk,
as a table at which to dine fine,
the tie-dyed bride sighed
as she came to his side,
“You’re the best guest, I must now confide.”

Said she, feeling blessed, “but as for the rest…”
“I know-- they’re a test,”
Skunk in his wisdom replied.

So on this auspicious great date,
Will’s Jill gave to each a great date,
and this crowd big and loud,
they all ate rather late,
till they came to the Great Grail debate.

Sassy lassie spoke up as she finished her cup,
asked true clue of their host, good Sir Will,
“We’re hot on the trail of the great Holy Grail,
this true crew and Sir Snail in his mail;
know you of this clue that I’m handing to you,
please tell us, please tell us do, true!”

“A new clue for the Grail?” asked Will with a thrill,
“this clue’s not the same as the few,
that I’ve seen in the past, let me see it real fast,
perhaps it’s indeed something new.”

Now the small-fry named Ty (who is really a spy!)
all at once, he let out a great shriek!
“There’s a mouse in the house!” came a shriek from that louse—
then all feet to the seat, and the clue Will then threw,
and the little guy Ty,
he did fly to the clue,
then he flew!

Since he left in a rush with the clue,
‘cross the floor he did race with a flush on his face,
‘cross the floor, out the door past the store old as yore,
and the tiny shrimp ran with true clue for the Grail,
from those hot on its trail, who were heard for to wail:
“Now we’ll fail!”

Cross the floor to the door did they rush with a crush,
the loud crowd, Sir Snail and his crew.
Now not on the trail of the Great Holy Grail,
instead, chased shy spy with their clue!

And as that spy fled, Sir Snail quickly said,
as he led from skunk’s head, atop skunk’s bunk bed, on the back of the truck, now driven by Chuck, “Be he chased, time don’t waste!”
The loud crowd jumped aboard, to the chase went the hoard: Jill and Will, the castle vassal, came down from the hill, to join Sir Snail’s crew too, along with…

The sassy Tallahassee lassie on whose chassis
Drove Chuck Buck,
Now draggin’ the wagon,
In which sat Blaine’s crane,
(though Blaine Crane flew to see true)
which held high (who knows why!)
the bunk of the skunk with the trunk,
on which did dine fine
twin Vick Flick, who picked Nick to picnic with the the trout,
still with gout in her snout
and the gypsy (no more tipsy) from Paughkeepsie,
and the horse, of course, carrying Teach and the leech,
with whom Teach would practice preach speech.

What a sight, was this flight, to get the shy spy,
the little bitty guy with a tie!
“Why’d he spy?” was the cry to
Will from mom Jill, the kind tie-dyed bride from the hill,
“I love him still!” sighed the bride with Will still by her side
What a cry, for her guy, small-fry Ty!

The spy was chased with terrible haste
‘cross dry desert waste, until he could be cased and then faced.
They found where he’s bound, and with ear to the ground
listened for every sound as they cased the big place.
Then came a far cry from Blaine high in the sky,
“I spy that small guy with my little eye,
I knew that I would, would I try!

From up on a ridge, they looked down to a bridge, where small Ty by a fire did retire. So down they all came, charging down toward the flame, proclaiming the Holy Grail name. “For the Grail!” Wailed the snail, as they charged down the shale, to the dale for the hale little guy.

The shy little spy, with the clue, he did fly, ran away to the troll Onaroll. With the troll spy had spoken, now gave him this token, the clue, still unbroken, was given. Then soft air was riven with wail from Sir Snail, “Hail you with my clue to the Grail!”

Said the sly little spy, “I’ve no clue for you!
But I’ll show you who I gave it to--”
From under the bridge, down the dale from the ridge,
the troll, Onaroll, then did stroll.

To the troll ‘neath the bridge, who seemed cold as a fridge,
came the crew, proud and true, on the trail of the Grail.

“Why try you this guy, my little friend and I?”
the troll, Onaroll heaved a sigh.
“Ty put to the test our hot little quest,
with our clue flew that sly little guy!”
was Sir Snail’s quick retort, no more playing good sport,
‘twas now mad as was little Ty’s dad.

“So Ty here is sly,” said the troll, “Me Oh my!
And your clue he did steal, tell me how you feel,
How’s this quest best I now wonder why?
So answer me best, why’s this quest best don’t jest!
Tell me as you look in my eye!”

“The quest we’re on’s best, a historical test:
for the glory of the story, it comes from the sup
where the cup was lifted up.
And that meal was such a deal, for the world ‘twas to heal,
which made the cup ‘twas lifted up such a steal.
And the test of this quest is that it’s all about your trust,
put it simply, got no trust you’re a bust!”

“So where’s the clue that came to you?” pled the brassy sassy lassie, to the troll, Onaroll, whom clue stole. “It just might raise your ire, as I threw it in the fire; I had it burned as I was spurned—wasn’t paid what I’d earned!” she replied as she cried, for few is the clue on the trail of the grail, and that quest which was best will now fail!

Said the gypsy, no more tipsy “What to do without the clue? Seems now we’re really in a stew!”
“Now that’s surely true!” said the lass with less sass, for her sadness had still yet to pass.

“Though the clue may’ve been true, now I’m blue as are you,
for the trail of the Grail’s now gone stale...”
went the wail of Sir Snail, still so frail and so pale, there in mail,
with his tail still in pail.

With sighs in her tries to ‘pologize,
cried the Troll, Onaroll,
“As you just might have guessed, you may still be blessed;
for you’ve all tried your best on this test of a quest,
though you fail with the Grail, your tries have been wise,”
said she with soft sighs for her size.

Said Doc Leech “Time to Preach,” so launched Teach into speech
in his eloquent way: “Methinks we’ve a lesson today…
The Wise Guy from the Sky,
He will know how to show
what you’ve earned, what you’ve learned,
from the glory of the story…”

With the word they both heard after Leech said “Preach Teach!”
Onaroll and Ty changed, their ways rearranged!

To the crew, now these two, too:
the troll in her tu-tu,
shy Ty in his new shoe,
repentant, now these two
were joined to this true but blue crew.

So this has been the tale of the tell-tale frail snail,
They set sail, this grand band from the sand.
“Oh well,” said the snail with his tale still in pail,
“Though we fail with the Grail, it’s a whale of a tale!
And to tell you this tale at the rail as we sail,
though we fail with the Grail on this quest,
when you do your best through the test of a quest,
and the quest is the best you can find,
though to fail can be sad, its not really that bad,
when it stretches your soul and your mind.”


Sir Snail m
Joe Skunk (quite a hunk) m
Trout (w/ a pout on her snout from her gout) f
Chuck (BIG buck) m
Blaine (crane w/big brain) m
Teach (reformed pirate) m
Doc Leech f
Sue (brassy lassie) f
Gypsy f
Nick m
Vick f
Jill f
Will m
Onaroll (pretty troll in a tu-tu) f
Small fry Ty (little fish or shrimp) m


Holy Grail
a gas


Other school lessons this can help with (any suggestions?)

Discuss meter and prose, different kinds of poetry, classic meters.
Find “run-on sentences”

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