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Phanty Can Read

Selected work from Thomas Spencer’s story – Phanty can read


Professor Angus McCrone had finished his packing: Boxes and boxes, shuffling, dusting, stacking.
It was time to say goodbye to his home. He stared at his things. He felt old and alone.
He still had his books, each was like an old friend, He knew all their stories from beginning to end.


He sat in the armchair at the old persons’ home, And remembered it all: the garden they’d grown,
The house they had built, the kitchen, study, books and paintings. He looked at his hand-knitted socks,
And picked up the morning paper. He rustled the pages
Read a few lines, then drifted off: for ages and ages

On top of the shelf was a strange little elephant.
“Huwwo”, it said, “pweased to meet you. My name is siwwyphant”
It’s trunk was unfurled, it’s bottom lip drooped, It looked a bit timid, squinty and stooped.
It had big flappy ears that fell in its eyes, The look that it gave was pathetic and wise.
“I can wead!” it said, both serious and squeaky.

Professor McCrone began to feel a bit queasy. An elephant talking!? That’s positively whacko!
Stuffed toys don’t talk! I need to change my tobacco!
Well, and so it was. Each day Professor McCrone would sit in the living room of the old persons’ home,
Reading his books, smoking his pipe, his feet by the fire. And time after time that same voice would inquire:
“What are you weading, Pwofessor McCwone?” “Dickins, Towstoy??!”

And the Professor would groan, And try to ignore him. At last he gave in.
“I’m reading a book about the Emperor Trajan”.
“Oh was he a Woman Empewor? I wuv histowy. Pwease Mr Pwofessor, teww me his stowy”.
Professor McCrone had been a Prof. all his life, He’d lectured his students, he’d lectured his wife,
He’d even lectured the shower and forgot to use soap, Or he’d wear two different shoes… He was beyond any hope.
And so, more out of habit, he started to speak: “The Emperor Trajan brought Rome to its peak …”

Hours had lapsed, the ‘Phant was enchanted. The history of Rome was being recounted.
“Intewesting, wiviting”, he say in one place, Then at another point he’d cover his face
With his big droopy ears. “That’s howwifying! Being a gwadiator must have been tewwifying!”
Professor McCrone was having such fun.

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