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Enchanted Tulips and Other Verses for Children. Keary, M. (Maud).
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page: 63

COUNT OTTO OF HEMPENFELDT

  • OLD Count Otto of Hempenfeldt,
  • Within the city where he dwelt,
  • Justice unto the people dealt,
  • Long may his bones lie easy!
  • ’Twas when the land was in its prime
  • (And this was in Count Otto’s time),
  • The dwarf‐folk last were known to climb
  • The castle slope together.
  • The moonbeams smote the castle keep,
  • While all within lay sound asleep;
  • Count Otto drew breath long and deep,
  • His brave hound stretched beside him;
  • When suddenly the Count awoke,
  • And saw before his chest of oak
  • A tiny figure in a cloak,
  • A peaked hat and a feather!
page: 64
  • “Good Count,” the little dwarf‐man said,
  • “Swear to me by the holy dead,
  • Thy lands, thy castle, and thy head,
  • To do what I shall ask thee!”
  • The Count replied, “My little man,
  • I’ll surely help thee if I can—
  • Yet bring me no harm or evil ban
  • On me or those about me.”
  • Then said the dwarf, “Good and not harm
  • Shall follow it—no evil charm.”
  • Count Otto leant back on his arm;
  • “Say your request,” he answered.
  • The dwarf replied, “To‐morrow night
  • All mortals must be out of sight,
  • Be you in bed by candle‐light,
  • And leave the great door open.
  • “To‐morrow is our festival,—
  • Your kitchens and your spacious hall
  • Give leave to us to use them all—
  • And you will not regret it.”
page: 65
  • Next night, soon as the sun was down,
  • Each maid had doffed her woollen gown,
  • Each page and groom, courtier, or clown
  • Had sunk their heads in slumber.
  • None saw how through the forest oaks
  • Came crowds of tiny, ugly folks,
  • No mortal eye beheld their jokes
  • Within that silent castle.
  • No traces did they leave behind,
  • And some declare ’twas but the wind
  • Or vainer fancies of the mind
  • Filled that dark night with laughter.
  • But from that day Count Otto’s sheep
  • No lightning struck: his cellars deep
  • Were stored with wines. His nights in sleep,
  • His days in health passed quietly.
  • Still stands the town where once he dwelt
  • And justice to the people dealt,
  • Good Otto, Count of Hempenfeldt,
  • Long may his bones lie easy!
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