“There's a boy in the mirror!” Said Bobby.

“He's copying all that I do!

For you see, if I smile when I'm happy,

the boy in the mirror smiles too!”

“There's no boy in the mirror,” Said mummy,

“That boy in the mirror is you!

That's why, when you're sad or are happy,

the boy in the mirror is too.”

“So, he's me and I'm him,” confirmed Bobby,

“and I'm him and he's me all the same?

With my face and my heart and my feelings?

Does the mirror-boy have my own name?”

His mother decided these questions,

were silly and didn't make sense,

so she chided him lightly and left him

for causing her such an offense.

Bobby sat by the mirror and wondered,

if the mirror-boy wondered of him;

if he wanted to be just as he was,

or whether he found it quite grim.

“Do you like being happy when I am?

Do you really feel sad when I cry?”

The mirror-boy mimicked his questions,

and even let out his own sigh.

“It must be a bore to be stuck there,

and have to do all that I do.

All my chores and my homework and sickness,

and none of them given to you!”

It didn't seem fair to poor Bobby,

but what could he do for the boy?

So he thought for a while before seeing

the mirror's expression of joy.

“Perhaps you could trade with me, Bobby!

Just to see what it's like to be me,

and then I could be you, for an hour or two.”

But Bobby asked- how could that be?

“Put your hands on my hands in the mirror,

then count up to ten very quick.

Hold your breath, make a wish, and then push on the glass-

you'll be over in less than a tick!”

Bobby stopped for moment, to ponder

about trusting the mirror-boy's claim;

"but he's me, and I'm him! And I trust myself fine,

so- I'll trust him exactly the same."

In a trice the exchange was completed,

and neither the worse for the wear,

the only small difference that Bobby could see

was the way that they parted their hair.

So mirror-boy went down to dinner,

and Bobby was left to explore,

all the unseen expanse of the mirror

that had always been hidden before.

At bedtime the two came together,

and praised their successes, and laughed!

“What fun this has been,” Bobby said with a grin,

“Now- isn't it time to swap back?”

Mirror-boy shook his head at the mirror,

“But look at the smile that you wear;

you're as happy as me, that is quite plain to see-

I think I shall leave you in there.”

“I'm not smiling-” said Bobby, or tried to,

for you see, he was smiling quite wide,

in an unpleasant way which was just like the face

of the mirror-boy on the outside.

“Let me out!” Said poor Bobby, “you tricked me!

I should never have listened to you!”

But the mirror-boy laughed, “but we both are the same!

You simply changed your point of view.”

“But they'll notice!” Said Bobby, still smiling,

the same sickly smile as the boy.

“But they haven't, and won't! I'll make sure that they don't,

for this new ‘you' is one to enjoy!”

“I don't ask awkward questions, and never get sick,

and I'll do all my homework and chores,

and I'll make sure they're happy by wearing this smile,

so that nobody thinks I'm a bore!”

“A smile doesn't make people happy!

And it won't make me happy at all-

if there's nothing inside it, it just doesn't work...”

Poor Bobby had started to bawl.

“Stop that nonsense!” Said mirror-boy, crying,

“How dare you put tears on my face!

You'll ruin the plan- so I'll do what I can

to remove you and leave not a trace.”

The mirror-boy picked up a hammer

to break Bobby's looking-glass view,

but his hands would not do as he ordered

and he dropped it, right on his left shoe.

“What was that for?!” He cursed, hopping closer,

to the mirror- and Bobby's stern face.

“You are me, and I'm you, so you do as I do,

now; let's both count to ten and swap place."

“No I won't, no I won't!” The mirror-boy cried,

but his palms were already outstretched.

“I'm a better, new you! And with all I've been through-!

Don't you care about that, you foul wretch?”

Mirror-boy found his hands on the mirror,

but the mirror-boy would not abide.

“You can't come out here if I don't wish it so!”

“That’s alright: I just want you inside.”

Bobby's mother was cross, in the morning,

when he hadn't brought her cup of tea;

she stomped up to his room in a temper most fine

but her Bobby- now, where could he be?

She checked in the closet and cupboards,

she called Scotland Yard and the Pope,

but nobody knew where the boy had gone to,

and eventually all gave up hope.

For you see, no-one looked in the mirror;

no-one saw the pale misting of hands,

as if palms had been pressed up inside of the glass,

from those treacherous, mirror-scape lands.


Ad Verse
Thin House
The Walls
Ethel: Chapter 2
Ethel: Chapter 1
Make Believe
Ethel: Chapter 3
Ethel: Chapter 4
Calmly, calmly