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Enchanted Tulips and Other Verses for Children. Keary, M. (Maud).
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page: 35

THE TRAVELLER

  • THE traveller stopped, and, throwing down the reins,
  • Jumped from his seat;
  • He blew his nails, the cold was in his veins
  • And nipped his feet.
  • A lonely house stood nigh upon the hill,
  • And here he asked
  • For meat and bread, a shelter from the chill
  • Of that night’s blast.
  • The countryman stared at the traveller’s face;
  • “Come, wife,” called he,
  • “Give him our best, but bless my soul, this place
  • Would starve a flea.
page: 36
  • “Our best indeed is naught but hard black bread,
  • A scanty store!”
  • “Unbridle me my milk‐white goats,” then said
  • The traveller, Thor.
  • “For I will kill them and a feast will make
  • For every one;
  • But bid your children not to lose or break
  • A single bone.”
  • “I wonder why,” thought Thialfi, the son,
  • And as they ate
  • He found a bone, a very little one,
  • Upon his plate:
  • “There can’t be any harm in breaking this
  • To suck the marrow—
  • Such lots of bones! if one should go amiss,
  • A goat’s no sparrow!”
  • Next day the children woke in haste to see
  • The traveller start:
  • “Now bring the goat‐skins and the bones to me,
  • And fetch my cart.”
page: 37
  • Then over the dry bones the traveller stood
  • And whispered low;
  • Thialfi muttered, “Why, what is the good—?”
  • Then he cried, “Oh—o—o!!”
  • For by the cart there stood two milk‐white goats
  • Alive and well,
  • Both sleek and trim with smooth and glossy coats
  • And tinkling bell.
  • But ah! why is it that one goes so lame
  • Across the grass,—
  • What greedy little boy have we to blame?
  • Alas, alas!
  • Then fell Thialfi on his trembling knees,
  • “Oh, Sir,” he cried,
  • “I broke the bone, but oh, forgive me, please!”
  • Kind Thor replied:
page: 38
  • “Since you have told the truth, nor tried to lie,
  • You shall go free.”
  • A lesson to us all in “wondering why,”
  • Then let this be.
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