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An interest in children's stories stemmed from Jack's knowing the famous children's writer, Eric Carle. His original intention was to create full illustrations for them, but only sketches and fragments were ever completed.

WilfPic

THE WOEFUL WILF

On an un-named isle in an unknown sea
A group of wilves lived merrily
in health and peace and harmony.

Some were large and some were small,
and they had no legs or arms at all.
Each one looked like a wooly ball.

No danger ever came their way,
so they spent each safe, contented day
observing others work and play.

If they got too cold or they got too hot,
or wanted to change their view somewhat,
they’d roll or bounce to another spot.

But, one young wilf was not content
to live the way that wilves were meant.
He moped all day, and whimpered low:
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

And so, we find him one bright Spring,
wasting his whole life envying
nearly every other thing.
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

“If I could fly the way birds fly,
I’d soar straight up in the midday sky
and bid this boring Earth goodbye.
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

But, he heard a noise near where he sat,
as a sparrow barely escaped a cat,
which really seemed to indicate
that being a bird was not that great.

“If I could swim in the briny blue,
the way the graceful sailfish do,
I’d take a cruise toward Timbuktu.
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

But, a fishing boat appeared off shore,
and the fish dove straight for the ocean floor,
so, the wilf was taught, to his dismay,
that a fish’s life is not all play.

“If I had a lion’s strength and size,
I’d strut around and terrorize
the whole darned world, for exercise.
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

But a bank of hunters came in view,
and caged the lion for a zoo,
and the wilf was horrified to find
that a lion’s life is a risky kind.

“If I had a rabbit’s speed to spare,
I’d dash all over, everywhere,
and give some timid folks a scare.
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

But, a fox sped by, on a rabbit’s heels,
and the wilf could tell by the rabbit’s squeals,
that the fox was just about to show
that even fast may be too slow.

“If I looked as great as a butterfly,
I’d show my colors to passersby
and be the envy of every eye.
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

But, as he watched them flutter by,
for the few brief weeks before they die,
the wilf was saddened to concede
that butterflies’ lives are short, indeed.

“If I was built like the humans are,
I’d get me a driver, and a car,
and learn to strum a folk guitar.
“Oh, woe. Oh, woe. Oh, woe!”

But, a man limped by, with his back bent low
from a load of wood, and his step was slow,
his face was lined, and his eyes were dim,
and the wilf could hardly envy him.

The woeful wilf was forced to pause
amid his wild daydreams because,
of all the creatures he could see,
not one was better off than he.

“I must admit, from what I’ve seen,
in the sky and sea and in between,
that there aren’t any other things
who wouldn’t trade their fins or wings
or strength or speed or looks or skills
for a life that’s free of fear and ills…

But, I wish there was something wilves could do,
except just stare at the latest view!”

Then he spied a sign, and the sign read, “THINK”,
so he thought and thought . . . and turned all pink!

“What a foolish wish to want to be
anything else but lucky me.”

“I can’t be happy till I try
to find some saddened soul, somewhere,
and tell it that I really care,
and ask if I can help, somehow . . .

“OH, WOW. OH, WOW. OH, WOW!”