The Tiger Who Came To Tea (with apologies to Judith Kerr)

Wilom þer was ane litel chylde,

Hir name hatte Sophie.

In kichen wyþ hir moþir milde

At mete and drynke watz sche.

Þen ate þe dore þer watz a sounde

And þe moþir didde saye

“Whoso ys here þis ilke stounde?

Þe milke has com þis daye.

Ne is þe lede who vitaile bryngys

For he bryngys nat to-daye.

Tis nat þy faþir þe belle rynges:

Forsooth, he has hys kai.

Unhaspe þe dor, þan we schal se

Whoso wyþouten house be.”


So Sophie, openende þe dor,

Saw a beste drede.

Yt was anne tygre of red and hor

Strypes & fur. Hit saide:

Forȝaf me, for in michel wo

Yhaf nat eten mete.

Wol ye me sette at borde wyþ yow?”

Saide þe moþir, “take an sete!”

So þe tygre did sitte at borde.

Þe tygre eten al þe horde.


Moþir ȝaf hym milke and drynke.

He drynke hem fram þe potte

Þen rounde þe kichen didde he slynke

And saide “quat els ye gotte?”

Al þe supir did he ete

Fram cal-caaf and from flame,

Eten and drynkande til replete

Þen saide “Ymost gan hame!”

Þe moþir saide “O wailawaye!

Þi faþir wil nat ete þis dai!”


Þer was no water forto scrubbe.

Þe tygre was to blame.

He hadde drynken al from tubbe—

Þen faþir comen hame!

So þe tale þey did telle

Hou þe tygre did dinne

And Faþir saide “I knawe wel-

Come eten at ane inne!”


In inne, þen, oure tale did ende

(þai boȝte som fude for þir frende).


Written 8th December, 2014


Detail from London, British Library, Sloane MS 3544, f. 2.


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