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The Green Button,

based on an Enid Blyton story told by my mother to me and her school pupils


In a forest long ago

There stood a cottage neat

With rambling roses round the door

Each caller there to greet

It was the home of an old man

Who gardened every day

Never thinking that he might

Glean treasure on his way

A frosty morning saw him out

With hoe and rake and fork

When came a glimpse of something bright

Beneath a cabbage stalk

Pinpointed by a sunshine ray

It had a pearly sheen

“Now what is that,” he said aloud

It was a button green

He picked it up and scraped away

The bits of clinging dirt

Then took it in and sewed it on

The cuff of his work shirt

Throughout the day it sparkled there

He loved its emerald glow

It made him want to sing for joy

And all his friends to show

That night as he undressed for bed

He wondered at his find

But soon he closed his weary eyes

And sweet dreams filled his mind

Next morn as he ate breakfast

He heard a timid knock

So he went to the front door

And opened up the lock

Right there upon his doorstep

Was stood a wee small chap

With tattered clothes and battered shoes

A bell atop his cap

He looked forlorn and weary

And really, really sad

But then he spied the button

And went stark raving mad 

“It’s mine,” he yelled. “I want it

“Just give it to me now

“I need it and I’ll have it”

He made an awful row.

The old man was quite shocked to see

A such bad-mannered show

He slowly, sadly shook his head

And said: ”I’m sorry, No.

“I like this little button

“It suits me very well

“And how it came to be here?

“Well, frankly who can tell?”

He closed the door securely

And went back to his chair

Ignoring all the bangs outside

And rage that filled the air.

This uproar went on through the day

He had to stay indoors

And spent the time spring cleaning

And scrubbing all the floors

Eventually it all went quiet

Just as the sun went down

The old man had his supper

His brow creased with a frown

At dawn he was awoken

By a window-shaking crack

He yawned and groaned for without doubt

The wretched elf was back

Once again he looked into

Those angry piercing eyes

Once again he had to hear

The fury of those cries

“It’s mine, it is. I want it

“Now give it here to me

“I need it and I’ll have it

“You’ll do it, just you see.”

The old man was again unmoved

By this appalling show

He shook his head quite firmly

And said: ”I’m sorry, No.”

The day was like the one before

In fact a little worse

With thumping on his cottage walls

Backed up by fearsome curse 

That evening he determined

That this really had to end

To be cooped up inside his home

Would drive him round the bend.

Yet after sleeping fitfully

He roused when ‘twas first light

And heard just birds a-chirping

Not sounds of vicious spite

He walked into his garden

And then he stopped to stare

For quietly standing by the path

The little elf was there

He shivered in the icy wind

His hands were turning blue

He trembled as he spoke these words

“I’m so cold, through and through.

“So please give me my button

“I’ll not repeat bad form

“I need to sew it on my coat

“To keep me nice and warm.”

The old man said: “Just come inside”

And led him to the door

“You could have saved that horrid fuss

“If you’d said, please, before.”

He sat him down in front the fire

And from a wooden chest

He pulled a fleecy garment

Made of the very best

He wrapped it round the little elf

As he made them a meal

And from the rafters laughter rang

A new friendship to seal

From that day they oft would meet

And talk for hours and hours

And on his doorstep every morn

He found a bunch of flowers

The button stayed upon his cuff

So neither should forget

The time it came to be mislaid

And how these two then met

Inside that cosy kitchen

Our little story ends

Proving once again the truth

That manners maketh friends.

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