Shop Mobile More Submit  Join Login
O' Gather 'round, children.  I'll tell you a tale
Of a skeleton boy who was bony and pale.

For the first act, our story is all fun and games
But at the end of part one, we see everything changes

We see Skeleton Boy's snatched by the prince of all darkness.
'Tis back to trickster mythology that this storyline harkens.

And so Skeleton Boy must get out of this fix
And find ways to outsmart all his captors with tricks

So prepare for fantastical mischief in:

Skeleton Boy Saves His Skin
by Thomas Boguszewski

Deep underground, there was a boy who was dead
Then out of the ground popped his skeleton head.

He pulled his dead body up through all the red stone
And sat, his head rattling, upon his old headstone.

Skeleton Boy wanted mischievous fun
So he took to his heels and had a good run.

Our hero was hungry, and he saw a big rabbit,
So he set up a trap in order to nab it.

Once the rabbit was caught, the boy made rabbit stew.
But since he was bones, it fell right on through.

Soon after that, he returned to his tricks.
He painted himself brown like a pile of sticks.
He started a fire and hid in the smoke,
Yet still there was more to his intricate joke.

He cupped up his hands, and called to a pheasant,
"Come jump in this fire! It feels quite pleasant!"
The pheasant looked up, "I think I misunderstood."
"Well, look! I'm okay, and I'm a dry piece of wood!"

"Well, okay." Said the pheasant, and over she came.
And with no hesitation, jumped into the flames.

Skeleton Boy laughed for hours, and a day, and a week.
He laughed, "This is the kind of great fun that I seek!"

He played jokes on the birds!  He frightened the bees!
He messed with the water, the rocks, and the trees!

Now, while he was joking, a couple folks died.
They were pushing up daisies, they just weren't alive.

Now, Most went to heaven, and were doing quite well.
Except for this one guy... who went straight to hell.


Down there he met Satan, living fine in his heck-hole.
But he surely was curious about the high death-toll.

"So, Tell me," he said, "Who's making y'all dead?
If you tell me, I'll leave you the skin on your head!"

"There's a boy!  He's a skeleton!  Just a pile of bones!"
Cried the newly-dead gentleman, in terrified tones.

The devil was interested.  He stroked his chin with his hand,
And then began hatching his dastardly plan.
He wanted to meet this bony post-mortal,
So he quickly departed via trans-dimensional portal.

Skeleton Boy, in his coffin, was quietly nappin'
Unaware of the things that were going to happen.

When he woke he saw hooves! And a tail!  And wings!
Not to mention a bunch of other devilish things!

He said, "What'cha want?" But he hadn't a prayer.
The devil just smiled, he could tell he was scared.

Said the devil "You're dead,
that is plain to see!
But you're too bad for heaven, so
now you're coming with me."


Satan took Skeleton Boy on a terrible ride;
He conjured a cage, and he threw him inside.

Deeper and deeper and deeper they fell,
And Skeleton Boy saw from inside of his cell
All of the various horrors of hell:

First the terrible sight of a hideous spirit.
Skeleton Boy had good reason to fear it.
There were dragons, and monsters, and hideous demons.
There was blood, there was gore, there was yelling and screamin'

There was a foul fissure filled with fierce fire ants
And a fiend with a fiddle who'd force you to dance.

Way down in the depths you would wheeze and you'd choke
From exposure to sulfuric secondhand smoke.
They'd singe you with sizzling cigarette burns
Then inter you alive to be eaten by worms.

And Dante was right – perdition has levels!
But they also have a motorbike gang called "hell's devils."

Yet the bikers and insects
And that guy with the fiddle
All of the monsters, both giant and little...

Became eerily calm when they got to the middle.


Skeleton Boy was nervous, and that's to say the least.
Who wouldn't be a bit afraid to stand beneath the Beast?

They sat there a while, and when they were alone
Satan declared from atop of his throne:
"Boy, you've got skills, and those skills are mad.
You're wild and rambunctious, You're just plain bad.

You have a gift for mischief and pranks,
with time I am sure you will rise through the ranks.
And that's why, my friend, I have made this endeavor
To keep you down here in damnation forever"

"But what if I don't want to?"
The boy said with a shout.
"What if you scare me?
What if I want out?"

"Here's the thing," Satan said, with a laugh in his voice,
"The funny part is that you don't have a choice."

And with that, oh, that Devil,
put Skeleton Boy to work.
and abused the boy's talents
at being a jerk.

But Skeleton Boy didn't want to cause pain;
All that he'd wanted was to play little games.

He'd just wanted to live a long afterlife
And maybe settle down with a skeleton wife.

And so, sitting and thinking cooped up in his crate,
Skeleton boy lamented his fate.
He longed to start over, to pick up a clean slate
To go back to the world free of anger and hate
Where he was just free, to play, run and create
To be free once again…  Oh, that would be great!

Now Skeleton Boy had a trick up his sleeve,
A trick that, he hoped, would allow him to leave.

So while the guards were away committing murder and rape,
Skeleton Boy initiated his plan to escape.


Our hero called out, "Now you listen here!
You've kept me in hell for just over a year!
Let me talk to the devil!  Let me see Satan!
Seriously, people!  Come on, don't be hatin'"

There was a flutter of wings, and the smell of hot fire,
And he was suddenly met with Beelzebub's ire.
Satan stood overhead, like a shadow with horns,
And looked down on our boy with contemptuous scorn.

"Yes?" Satan said (Or rather, he growled).

Skeleton Boy couldn't throw in the towel.

He had to grow up, be a skeleton man,
And then execute phase one of his escape plan.

"This cage," said the boy,
"Isn't torture at all!
It's boring, and painless,
and exceedingly small!
Perhaps if you wanted to give me more room
You could cause me some real pain, anguish and doom."

The devil pricked up his pointy-tipped ears
Had Skeleton Boy gone crazy with fear?
The young one was mad.  Satan couldn't believe it!
But since it was asked...  Well, then he would receive it!

"Perhaps," Satan said, "We change your mouth for your money,
And afterward, see if you still think you're funny.
I'll come up with some tortures both ghastly and vile!
I might have you sucked on by leeches a while!"

Old Nick was excited; he was ready to play,
But Skeleton Boy had one more thing to say:

"Also promise me, Devil, that while the flames of hell burn,
Once you send me away I will never return."

"I promise you, child!  Boy, you must be a fool!
Everyone knows I'm the king of the cruel!
Your spine will tingle and your bones will crack!
I guarantee that you'll never come back!"

Thus, laughing maniacally, Satan sent him away
On a trip that lasted seven years and a day.

But don't fear, little children,
The straits weren't really so dire.
The truth is this was just the thing
That Skeleton Boy required!

For The Devil had not come along on the trip
So Skeleton Boy made the most of this slip.

Finally they arrived in a special hell sector
For the worst of the sinners: Hitler, Stalin, and Lecter.

There was an area for corpses, they called it the mortuary.
There was a jail as well, and a specialized torture-area.

When they finally reached the deepest pit of ring nine,
The one place in the cosmos farthest from the divine.
The demons all grinned with a villainous joy
And then began working on Skeleton Boy.


This time now was Skeleton Boy's darkest hour
He was with a group of monsters, exposed to their power.

The demons began to follow Satan's instructions
From a list of nefarious deaths and destructions.

The demons all laughed, while the flames of hell burned,
They would each torture Skeleton Boy, going in turns.

The First was Pierre, a devilish cook.
He had a French accent, demeanor, and look.

"Allez cuisine!" Said the plump Gallic beast
Who aimed to tantalize with a magical feast.

But Skeleton Boy just sighed,
"That was really quite crude!
Since I don't have a stomach,
Why would I want food?"

"Sacrebleu!" Said the demon,
And away he was sped;
His fluffy white chef's hat
Falling off of his head.

After that they set up a most horrid display
Of cadavers, corpses, remains, and decay.

But when he looked at the skulls, the boy didn't go batty,
Instead, he felt open and social and chatty.

Soon he taught all the skulls to tell jokes and tall tales,
Despite being stabbed, speared, spoked and impaled.

Therefore another torture was not up to snuff,
So the demons bombarded our boy with more stuff.

A demonic musician played infernal ragtimes.
While a manic magician from warlock and hag times
Dressed in a tuxedo and put on the ritz
Just like Houdini, Cardini, and other stage hits.

The magician stuck Skeleton's bones in a box.
And he covered it with buckles,
Chains, ropes, and locks.

But this was a mistake that they couldn't foresee.
Who knew Skeleton Boy had a skeleton key?

The audience fiends blurted out in dismay,
"How did he do it? Did he get away?"
(Well, they tell you to never reveal your trick.
But I'll say that, with locks, he had a "bone to pick.")

There were specialists for sin,
Like lust, envy, and vice.
And a tall demon gambler,
Who played with the dice.

He said, "Roll 'dem bones!"
But that's not what he meant to say
Because Skeleton Boy just smiled
And then said, "Okay!"

Then he disassembled
And rolled quickly away
Chuckling to himself:


He rolled out of Hell...

He rolled up Mt. Purgatorio...

And he rolled into Heaven...

Is this the end of our story?


He rolled out of Heaven with a basket of fruit,
Some halos, ambrosia, and other heavenly loot.

And he came then, at last
To a big mahogany door

Through which he could enter the land of the living

Once more.

Skeleton Boy was now ready,
He took a bite of an orange
And calmly, yet confidently,
He threw open the door hinge.



Block Print Illustration

Storyboard Animatic:§ion=&global=1&q=skeleton+boy+storyboard#/d37r14a

Gift Illustration
Gift illustration is by :icontohdaryl:

This is it: Skeleton Boy Saves His Skin, my deviantART namesake and one of my most popular pieces.

It all began during fall 2005 in a ninth grade mythology class. Where we were assigned the opportunity to write a "trickster tale" after reading from African, Irish, African-American, and Native American folktales. So, as I sat there in the corner with my friends, I opened my sketchbook, put my pencil to the paper and Skeleton Boy was born.

My original concept was "Tim Burton meets Anansi the Spider," but since then Skeleton Boy has evolved so far beyond that. Skeleton Boy has been read aloud, performed, analyzed, interpretively danced, and much more.

[10-27-2009: Adding stanzas to the middle to clarify narrative and explain why SB's plan works.]
[12-13-2009: Revised formatting, changed "This was the kind of great fun that he seeked" into something grammatically correct.]
[10-17-2010: HUGE overhaul, small adjustments everywhere in terms of meter, storytelling, and rhyme. Tightened all the nuts and bolts so that I can print up chapbooks of my baby and sell it. Epilogue to be posted as a separate deviation.]
[11-25-2012: ~tohdaryl has released an updated gift illustration]
[6-23-2013: changed the cigarettes line so that it's clearer what I mean]
Add a Comment:
Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

"Skeleton Boy Saves his Skin" reminds me of "The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories", by Tim Burton. I assumed slightly it was supposed to be similar to that, in the sense that it was as grim as could be but as humorous as possible, and I loved reading this.

Unlike some narrative poems I have read before, this one was interesting to read and flows easily off the tongue and was easy to comprehend and fantastic to imagine. It was gruesome, yes, and I LOVED it. This narrative made me smile and laugh at Skeleton Boy's shenanigans, and I must admit, next to "John Barleycorn" by Robert Burns, this is my favorite narrative. Indeed, I give it a five-star for vision and impact, it certainly was fantastic in those degrees, and a four and a half star for technique, as there were one or two tiny sentences that I felt were alright, but not as good as it could have been. But aside from those tiny mistakes, ones that I honestly can overlook, but I fear my hawk-vision won't allow me to. Otherwise, I give this rating with good reason.

I can tell much time and effort was put into this, and I can say, it was not wasted. I am indeed pleased to see what else you have done, as this has become a tale I will not soon forget.

What do you think?
The Artist thought this was FAIR
8 out of 8 deviants thought this was fair.

The Artist has requested Critique on this Artwork

Please sign up or login to post a critique.

UnbreakableRachel Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2017
Pastel-Asgore Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Jeebus-Crust Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
spooped me to death
SkramzGirl Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016  Student Artist
Wow, I love it! 
Momo-Chico Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2016  Student General Artist
PlotTwistthePegasus Featured By Owner Nov 1, 2015   General Artist
This was a great poem! Good job!
randomshitstuff Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is awesome, immediately reminded me of both Roald Dahl and Tim Burton (as everyone else has said haha, but I could pretty much imagine him making a short film based on this)
DatIrishLad Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2014
This. Is. Fucking. BRILLIANT! I was smiling the whole way through :D It's written so well, I could just hear the narrator in my head, each rise and drop in tone. Brilliantly done :)
Mad-Plot-Bunny Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Student General Artist
I love it. <3333
BlueBell212 Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is a phenomenal poem!!! I LOVE IT TO BITS!!!
I do not read poems often because the poems I found myself reading did not engage me as a reader, but I found this poem to be quite engaging...I mean I literally could not stop reading! It's soooo beautiful
luvMyself Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012
idk why but the last part with the rhyme with the orange made me laugh XD
Empyrisan Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012   Digital Artist
I discovered this through Takaru-san's gift illustration for this!

Could be just me, I should look around some more, but very rarely do I come across literature that can keep me hooked all the way through, so much that I had fun picturing it in my head and even kind of singing with a slight southern accent or something, haha!

This was a really great read! Thank you for sharing!
tohdraws Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional Digital Artist
Now you can update that gift art link: [link]
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012  Professional General Artist
Oh! Phenomenal! Thank you so much :)
GamMakesAwesome Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
This was an amazing poem! The rhythm and rhyme sounded great! I could imagine everything in an animated format! And all-around fantastic job!
meshugenah89 Featured By Owner May 28, 2011  Hobbyist Photographer
I love this poem!
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner May 30, 2011  Professional General Artist
Thank you very much! I'm really glad.
JohnnyRocker666 Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2010
Very good.
Hidden by Owner
Hidden by Owner
carousel-0f-death Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2008
great story! i just love the content. so much fun. :3
it is something truly worth reading. well done. :D
redpanderz16 Featured By Owner Oct 4, 2008
Hm. I remember reading this. Either you or Libby showed me, I don't remember.
illogan Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
this is awesome! Very intriguing! :D
BobSmith006 Featured By Owner Sep 21, 2008
I really enjoyed reading this. :) And I agree with =innocencedied2nite: this is epic.
RavensQuill Featured By Owner Sep 10, 2008  Student Writer
I never say this about a poem.. but this is Epic, not just in length, but in form and the pictures that filled my mind. A ingenious cross between Dante and South Park, I was laughing and absolutely in awe of this! Kudos :heart:
SelfSacrfyce Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2008
I love Skeleton Boy :]
What a wonderful story, and those rhymes must have been quite a task!
mentaldragon Featured By Owner Aug 22, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
this is fantastic work! I loved every line of it.
Mirrorakay Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2008
That was truly impressive. It never dropped the tempo!
hollywoodheartts Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2008  Student General Artist
I can say no more than:

Coyoteprinceart Featured By Owner Jul 21, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist

This is probably the best poem I have ever read. Well done! (:
oneXlonleyXangel Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2008
I absolutely love this piece! It's written so well, and I saw in your comments box that you were going for a Tim Burtony feel, well you definitley achieved it :D It reminds of a mix between Dante, Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride, good job!

One little note, I found a typo in the line: "You can cause me some real aguish and doom." you forgot the "n" in anguish :)
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2008  Professional General Artist
thanks for noticing that, it's now taken care of!
oneXlonleyXangel Featured By Owner Jul 15, 2008
:) You're welcome!

Anything to help!
artsy-tart Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2008
*sits criss cross applesauce*
WEE!! More!! :D
bunkingum Featured By Owner May 10, 2008
This was written quite well. Despite its length, there was no bit that outshined another. All in all I really have no critque except for keep doing what youure doing.
JamesSnaith Featured By Owner Apr 29, 2008
Story or poem? I actually don't care - I just frigging loved this.



RoBoTCraNNbeRRies Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008
This is without a doubt the best poem I have ever read. I love how it is long and isnt straight to the point, it gives you detail and depth into the skeleton boy character
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Apr 23, 2008  Professional General Artist
:) thank you very much!
lk-nightshade Featured By Owner Apr 22, 2008
this was amazing! and very amusing. i thoroughly enjoyed it :D
Madkill Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
This is excellent just marvellous, It's a surprising to see others in a higher popular status but anyway.
This was a very enjoyable read, I thank you.
PS: Faved :D
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2008  Professional General Artist

just to clarify, what do you mean by...

"It's a surprising to see others in a higher popular status but anyway."?
Madkill Featured By Owner Mar 24, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
well, usually you can find some things that have high ratings that make you think twice about if it was just other things they had done or if they were doing it as though it were a sort of 'trend' to do so.
Singinchic7 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow!!! impressive!! absoulutely love the intro it flowed so well where'd you get the idea of Skeleton-Boy from??
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2008  Professional General Artist
It all began as a mythology class assignment to create a trickster.

I decided that the perfect trickster would possess childlike mischief, be unkillable (like coyote), and also be a little bit morbid in their humor, who would be better than a little skeleton boy? Plus, many Irish folktales feature a character who tricks the devil, becoming free from hell but too bad to enter heaven, he wanders the earth forever. I wanted to see what would happen if my trickster were already undead.

Also, I had just seen four Tim Burton movies in a row, so I had skeletons on the brain.
...and on top of that, my friends and I were making a monster movie around this time.
Singinchic7 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2008  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh i see!! I really like the concept!!

You have a mythology class? my school doesn't offer that I wish it did I love mythology
MummyMetaller Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2008  Professional General Artist
Truly fantastic work! I love it :horns:

*clicky* :+fav:
LordNitrius Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
Thisis one of the best poems Ive ever read! and i mean that. Excellent job melding comedy and macarbre! :fav+:
Skeleton-Boy Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2008  Professional General Artist
thank you very much!
LordNitrius Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2008  Student Traditional Artist
no problem :D
Add a Comment:

:iconskeleton-boy: More from Skeleton-Boy

Featured in Collections

Writings by moonenchantedcat18

Literature by TekinaFiction

Literature by KingdomXAwaits

More from DeviantArt


Submitted on
May 5, 2007
File Size
11.6 KB


17,555 (2 today)
178 (who?)