Once there was a little beast.
Belly round and tiny eyes.
Pouting lip and yellow teeth.
Jowly mouth that gathered flies.
Haunches grew, though paws did not.
Orange scales shone green in light.
“Emeralds,” the people thought,
“When one drops, I’ll grab it tight.”
People followed close behind,
Waiting for a lucky snatch.
But instead their eyes smacked blind;
Spiny tail their faces catch.
Normal brothers, sisters too.
Parents loved their Beast the same.
“So ugly that he’s kinda cute.
Given time he will be tame.”
Mother hugged her snorting lad.
Father frowned and shook his head.
“Lost two fingers; he was mad.
Biting creature we have bred.”
“He’s like you,” she smiled and winked.
Dad grinned yellow; puffed out chest.
“Nonetheless – I’ll be succinct.
He must go. It is for best.”
“But he’s not… studious.”
“He’ll make pals and they’ll assist.”
“But he’s not… beauteous.”
“Then send his work to those who grift.”
Suitcase filled with golden coins,
Beast squeezed into jacket blue.
Other students were enjoined,
“Give him more than he is due.”
One boy tried to be his chum
But when he laughed and gave a wave,
Beast grew angry; lobbed a drum;
Then assured that he forgave.
“You forgive? What did I do?”
“You laughed at me and I can tell
He and he and he all knew.”
On and on he shook and yelled.
Schoolmates all stayed far away.
Dainty paw might hurl a chair,
Cannonball or dining tray.
Deafen ears with roar of bear.
Sometimes they might get too close,
Find themselves against a wall,
Pinned by girth and hear his boast,
“I am strongest one of all.”
“Do not touch him,” said the school,
“Father bought his life of ease.
And to punish would be cruel.
Few indeed are beasts like these.”
“He’s dangerous!” the boys then cried.
“Independent,” said the dean.
“And malignant,” they replied.
“True but with a wealthy sheen.”
Came a day when school was complete,
And Beast went home to hibernate.
No sooner had he laid on his sheets
Than father appeared. Hour was late.
“Talk we must,” he said with a growl.
“There are things you need understand.
Others like us are here and about,
Hiding in caves with contraband.
“They sleep in towers scraping the sky;
Play on an island far from port;
And clip bird wings so they might fly;
Wash their bullion alone in the dirt.
“Being a beast is no easy feat.
Walk by the starving man who begs.
Never assist with money, nor greet,
Lest he forget to bow us a leg.
“Some are born beasts but these are quite few;
Others are made by following us.
Within each man there simmers a stew,
Stir it correctly and kindness is crushed.
“Natural beasts, within them a spell –
Those who listen are covered with scales.
One, then two, then blood they can smell.
A snout. Gold fangs. A man they’ll assail.
“Man they will kill, but never the beast.
Bound by form and similar thought,
They seek new life, the ultimate feast,
Walking behind the one they besought.”
Son furrowed his brow, and wet his lips.
“When scales are shed, he’s man once more?”
Father then sighed. Put hands on hips.
“Drowning is simpler when farther from shore.”
“Those who will listen; tell where they are!”
Father then waved him into his vault.
Ripples of coins through channels of bars.
“True beasts seek power. New beasts are bought.”