Plural of Grue, From English gruesome, which in turn comes from English dial. grue (to shiver). Gotta love English.

Grues are short, grisly (but still comical) little poems that were popular in Victorian times. Named by Robert Louis Stevenson, they tend to be four lines long, with the rhyme scheme AABB, and are often about a kid named Willie (they are sometimes called Little Willies).

Willie poisoned father's tea;
Father died in agony.
Mother looked extremely vexed;
"Really, Will," she said, "what next?"

Henry Graham wrote a collection of grues called Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes under the pseudonym Col. D. Streamer. This is the source of the most famous grues, although they are obviously quite easy to write.

Father heard his children scream,
So he threw them in the stream,
Saying as he drowned the third,
"Children should be seen, not heard!"

Billy, in one of his nice new sashes,
Fell in the fire and was burned to ashes.
Now, although the room grows chilly,
I haven't the heart to poke poor Billy.

Weren't those wonderful? But you wont have to worry about Willie any longer....

Little Willie's dead and gone.
Little Willie is no more,
For what Little Willie thought was H2O,
Was H2SO4.

I'd heard a few of these in seventh grade (a loooooong time ago). They are just the sort of sick things a 12-year-old dearly loves.

Two more that I recall from that time:

Willie, with a thirst for gore,
Nailed his sister to the door.
Mother said, with humour quaint,
"Now, Willie, dear, don't scratch the paint."

Into the family drinking well
Willie pushed his sister Nell.
She's in there yet, because it kilt her
Now we have to buy a filter.


Did anyone mention yet that they're extremely misogynistic? Definitely heaven for a 12-year-old. I eventually grue out of them.

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