The Problem with The Three

The house is silent. Everyone is in bed. But Liam has something on his mind. It's really bugging the five-year old. He can't go to sleep until he solves the problem with THE THREE. He needs help, so he sneaks into his closet--where his imaginary friends are waiting.


In the process of airing out his concerns, Liam is able to solve the issue himself, and have a laugh with his friends.

The Problem with The Three tilted cover.

The Problem with The Three

This is the story poem from the children's picture book by Robert Burton Robinson

Liam was lying in bed,

But he just couldn’t doze off to sleep.

Swirling around in his head

Was the question concerning The Three.


Yes, it was later than late,

But he needed to meet with his friends.

They’d have a lively debate,

Give their reasons, and see where it ends.

So, he sat up, put his feet down,

Took his flashlight in hand,

Moving slowly, being careful

Not to wake Mom and Dad.

He quietly tiptoed to the closet

In the still, dark of night,

Turned the doorknob, flipped the light switch,

Then he slipped on inside.

They were waiting there together,

Scarcely making a peep.

His good buddy, Scary Monster,

Used to give him the creeps.


In the middle, Baby Little,

In his diaper and cap;

Biologically, a baby,

Yet he talked like a man.


Even nearer, was the Mirror,

An appropriate name.

When you’d see him, he and Liam

Looked exactly the same.

“Well, I have a Big Question, my friends,” Liam said.

“And I can’t fall asleep till it’s out of my head.”


“So, I’m sorry to wake you and bother you now,

But The Three are a problem I can’t figure out.”

Mirror said, “You mean us?

‘Cause we’re One, Two, and Three.”

Baby Little joined in,

“Well, that’s hard to believe!”


Scary Monster growled, “Yes, but who else could it be?”

“It’s not you,” Liam said. “Settle down. Look at these!”


Then he pulled out three socks,

Held them high in his hand.

“They’re identical. See?

Do you now understand?”


“There should only be two,

There should never be three,

Because everyone knows

That we don’t have THREE FEET.”

Scary Monster said, “Wait.

No, I actually do.

They’re not technically feet,

But there’s three—not just two.”


“You’re not human,” said Liam, “and so, you don’t count.”

“That’s a mean thing to say.” Mirror glared with a scowl.

Liam said, “Sorry, dude.

Didn’t mean to be rude.

But the parts people have,

They come mostly in twos.”


“Yes, we also have tens,

As in fingers and toes.

And we even have ones,

Like the mouth and the nose.”


But, of feet, we have two,

So, our socks come in pairs.”

Then he stopped and he grinned,

Threw his socks in the air!


“This is not weird at all!

This is not what I thought!”

“Now I see: IT’S A PAIR…


Then his friends understood,

And they started to laugh.

Liam threw up his hand.

“Quiet! You’ll wake Mom and Dad!”

So, they hushed, and they smiled,

And they whispered, “Goodnight.”

Liam nodded and mouthed,

“Thanks. I’ll see you next time.”

So, he went back to bed,

Closed his eyes, and relaxed.

No more thoughts about threes,

Counting socks, and all that.


With his folks undisturbed, sleeping soundly, it seemed,

He could now slumber into his own little dreams.

Then his eyes opened wide,

With a troubling new thought.

He could not go to sleep—

Till he found that fourth sock!

Copyright © 2021 Robert Burton Robinson