Southern Mountain Cavy
A RAT CALLED FRED
By Patty Lynn
There was a little rat called Fred who couldn’t help be sad
For he was born without a tail which made poor Fred feel bad.
The other rats made fun of Fred and this is what they said,
“Why, you’re a freak, not strong, you’re weak, you don’t belong here, Fred!”
What’s even worse, his brothers, too, said awful, hurtful words.
They bullied Fred, they’d laugh and said, “Hey, Fred, you’re for the birds!”
And every single time they did all Fred could do was cry,
“Why haven’t I a tail?” he’d wail, “Please tell me, tell me why?”
He couldn’t shake the bully’s words; he tried but Fred felt sad.
“There is no use,” said Fred the rat, seems tears are all I have.
But mother rat, who loved him so, said, “Freddie, dear, take heart.
There’s something I must tell you, now, I should have from the start.”
“I was afraid that if I did, you’d think you don’t belong.
But now I see you’re always sad and know that I was wrong.
I will explain and I should tell your brothers, too, I fear.”
She called his brothers, they sat down and said, “It will be clear.”
“When you were just a baby, Fred, your Dad left you with me,
Because your Dad and Mom had come from far away, you see.
They lived in Argentina but were captured by some men…
Who knew they were unusual, could sell them both and then…”
“They came to live inside a cage, at Clancy’s Old Pet Shop.
Your Mom had you, was pretty weak and told your Dad to stop.
“Stop making plans to leave this place, I’m much too weak to make it!”
Escape with you, she couldn’t do, her body couldn’t take it.
The next day your determined Dad tried hard to wake your Mom,
But though he tried he finally knew that your sweet Mom was gone.
That’s when your Dad took you and ran and found me here that day.
He knew that you would need a Mom and asked me, “Can he stay?”
“I raised you as my very own; I didn’t think it mattered,
A tail or not, I didn’t know without one you’d be shattered.
The truth is you are not a rat; Oh, Fred, can forgive me?
You look like us but you are called a southern mountain cavy.”
“You see, a cavy has no tail, you’re something special, son.
You thought you should look like a rat, the same as everyone.
But now you know you truly are the way that you should be?
My precious boy, you’ve been my joy, I hope that you can see…”
“That we are still a family, you’ll always be my son.
I’m sorry I kept this from you, but feared that you would come…
To all the wrong conclusions of just why I did, she said.
“You mean there’s nothing wrong with me? I thought there was,” said Fred.
That’s when this mountain cavy smiled and all his brothers, too.
“We're sorry, Fred, forgive us, please, for how we treated you?
We’ll show you love, not hurtful words, we promise this today.
Please know that now we understand and mean just what we say!”
And so the little rat called Fred kissed all those tears goodbye.
He knew exactly who he was and knew the reasons why…
He didn’t have a tail but now felt special as could be!
“I’m proud to say, I'm not a rat! I’m a mountain cavy!”