Was ever a maiden so worried?
I’ll admit I am partial to Jim,
For Jimmie has promised to wed me
When I’m old enough to wed him.

But then I love teacher, too, dearly,
She’s always so lovely to me,
And she’s pretty and kind and sweet-tempered,
And gentle as gentle can be.

I wouldn’t for worlds hurt Jim’s feelings,
For he never would like me again-
But there was my dearest, sweet teacher,
And I’d die if my words gave her pain.

“Two plus two equals what?” was the problem.
And I knew teacher thought it made “four”;
But Jimmie said “six,” and maintained it
As long as he stood on the floor.

And I saw I must soon choose between them,
For I was the next in the line.
Should I side with my teacher or Jimmie?
What a sad situation was mine!

And just as my heart with that problem
Of friendship was so sorely vexed
I was called on to answer the other,
For teacher had said, sharply, “Next!”

It was then that the brilliant thought struck me,
That by compromise I could contrive
To hurt neither teacher nor Jimmie,
And that’s how I came to say “five.”

Analysis, meaning and summary of Ellis Parker Butler's poem Why I Went To The Foot

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