Grabby Big Tom Bumble.
Big Tom ambled along until he came to a bakery. "Mmmm, doughnuts!" he purred. Warm doughnuts, sugary doughnuts, doughnuts sprinkled with cinnamon. "I'll help myself," he told the baker, snatching up a dozen. "You won't need all of these."
With never a please or thank-you, he gobbled the doughnuts down.
Big Tom went farther down the road. He came upon some workmen opening their lunch pails. "Lunchtime already?" he asked. "I came at just the right time." Sandwiches thick and meaty, apples crisp and red, celery ... "Here, take your celery back. I don't like celery," he growled.
With never a please or thank-you, he gobbled those lunches down.
Big Tom came closer to town, humming as he walked. "What's that I hear?" he rumbled. "I believe it's the ice-cream truck!" Creamy white vanilla, pink and fruity strawberry, chocolate--best of all. "Ice cream is my favorite," Big Tom Bumble said.
With never a please or thank-you, he gobbled the ice cream down.
Big Tom lumbered on, and his stomach jounced with each step. He spied a freshair market. At the fruit stall, he stretched out a greedy paw. Smooshy yellow bananas, big juicy oranges, kiwis green and fuzzy. "Just right for an afternoon snack," he growled. "And I'm starved!" With never a please or thank-you, he gobbled the sweet fruit down.
Big Tom shoved through the shoppers. A pile of peppers caught his eye. "Something new!" he exclaimed. "I think I'll try a handful."
"I wouldn't," warned the market man. But Big Tom didn't listen. The peppers were red, the peppers were shiny, the peppers were hot, hot, hot!
With never a please or thank-you, he gobbled the peppers down.
He gobbled the peppers down, and his tongue began to burn. His mouth began to smoke. Big tears rolled down his cheeks.
"Yeow! My mouth's on fire!" bellowed Big Tom Bumble. "Water! Give me water!" he begged the market man.
"What do you say?" asked the market man as he filled a cup with water.
"Please?" mumbled Big Tom. He swallowed all the water.
"Bread will help," said the market man, offering him a slice.
"Thank you," Big Tom said.
"Did you learn a lesson?" asked the market man. "Did you learn you should say please? Did you learn you should say thank you? Did you learn you shouldn't grab?"
"I did learn a lesson," Big Tom Bumble said. "Next time I'll say please. Next time I'll say thank you. Next time I'll skip the peppers!" Silly old Tom Bumble.
Art by Pete Whitehead