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Albert's Reunion

by Stanley Holloway (1978),
re-written from Stanley Lupino's version of 1940
Illustration by Bill Tidy

Albert's Reunion

We shouldn't be surprised Wallace (the lion) ate Albert (the boy).

The lion is carnivorous, with an instinct to hunt and kill for its sustenance. Lionesses usually hunt in groups (the male just sits back and watches from a distance, very much like men watching the game on TV while the missus makes the dinner.)

The preferred prey is large mammals such as buffalo, deer and impala, warthog (ugly but tasty), wildebeest (popular choice) and zebra. Giraffe and elephant are also on the menu, but like the other animals, subject to availability.

And when their favourite dish is not available, young boys from Yorkshire are an obvious substitute and more than adequate for the lion's nutritional needs.

In the case of Wallace and Albert however (see The Lion and Albert), Wallace wasn't particularly hungry. In fact, he was taking nap after lunch when Albert poked his stick with an 'orse's 'ead 'andle in Wallace's ear. In effect, eating Albert was Wallace's firm way of indicating to the lad that he should stop poking. No real malice intended.

Similarly, Albert had no hard feeling toward the lion. In fact, the whole episode turned out to be nothing more than bonding.

You've heard of Albert Ramsbottom,
And Mrs Ramsbottom and Dad,
And the trouble the poor Lion went to
Trying to stomach the lad.

Now after the Lion disgorged him,
Quite many a day had gone by;
But the Lion just sat there and brooded
With a far away look in his eye.

The Keepers could nowt do with Lion
He seemed to be suffering pain,
He seemed to be fretting for summat,
And the curl went out of-his mane.

He looked at his food and ignored it,
Just gazed far away into space;
When Keepers tried forcible feeding
They got it all back in their face.

And at Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom's
The same kind of thing had begun -
And though they tried all sorts of measures,
They couldn't rouse Albert their son.

Now Mr Ramsbottom got fed up
With trying to please him in vain,
And said "If you don't start to buck up
I'll take you to Lion again."

Now instead of the lad getting frightened
And starting to quake at the knees.
He seemed to be highly delighted
And shouted "Oh, Dad, if you please."

His Father thought he had gone potty,
His Mother went nearly insane,
But Albert just stood there and bellowed
"I want to see Lion again."

Now Mr and Mrs Ramsbottom
Decided the best thing to do,
Was to give way to Albert
And take him straightaway back to the Zoo.

The moment the Lion saw Albert,
T'were the first time for weeks it had stirred:
It moved the left side or its whiskers,
Then lay on its back and just purred.

And before anybody could stop him,
Young Albert were stroking its paws,
And whilst the crowd screamed for the Keepers
The little lad opened its jaws.

The crowd by this time were dumbfounded,
His Mother was out to the wide,
But they knew by the bumps and the bulges
That Albert were once more inside.

Stood up and let out a roar
Stood up and let out a roar

Then all of a sudden the Lion
Stood up and let out a roar;
And Albert, all smiling and happy,
Came out with a thud on the floor.

The crowd by this time were all cheering,
And Albert stood there looking grand
With his stick with the 'orse's 'ead 'andle
Clutched in his chubby young hand.

The Lion grew so fond of Albert
He couldn't be parted from lad;
And so the Zoological Keepers
Sent round a note to his Dad.

"We regret to say Lion is worried
And pining for your little man,
So sending you Lion tomorrow,
Arriving in plain covered van."

And if you call round any evening,
I'll tell you just what you will see -
Albert is reading to Lion in bed.
And what is he reading? 'Born free'.


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