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The only words that Avarice could utter,
Her constant doom, in a low, frightened mutter,

"There's not enough, enough, yet in my store!" While Envy, as she scanned the glittering sight, Groaned as she gnashed her yellow teeth with spite,

"She's more than I, more, still forever more!"

Thus, each in her own fashion, as they wandered,
Upon the coffer's precious contents pondered,
When suddenly, to their surprise,

The God Desire stood before their eyes.
Desire, that courteous deity, who grants
All wishes, prayers, and wants;

Said he to the two sisters, "Beauteous ladies,
As I'm a gentleman, my task and trade is
To be the slave of your behest-
Choose therefore at your own sweet will and pleasure,
Honors or treasure!

Or in one word, whatever you'd like best.
But, let us understand each other-she
Who speaks the first, her prayers shall certainly
Receive the other, the same boon redoubled!"

Imagine how our amiable pair,

At this proposal, all so frank and fair,

Were mutually troubled!

Misers and enviers of our human race,

Say, what would you have done in such a case?
Each of the sisters murmured, sad and low,

"What boots it, oh, Desire, to me to have

Crowns, treasures, all the goods that heart can crave, Or power divine bestow,

Since still another must have always more?"

So each, lest she should speak before

The other, hesitating slow and long
'Till the god lost all patience, held her tongue.
He was enraged in such a way,
To be kept waiting there all day,

With two such beauties in the public road;
Scarce able to be civil even,

He wished them both—well, not in heaven.

Envy at last the silence broke,

And smiling, with malignant sneer,
Upon her sister dear,

Who stood in expectation by,
Ever implacable and cruel, spoke:
“I would be blinded of one eye!"



'TWAS the fisher's wife at her neighbor's door,
And she cried, as she wrung her hands,
"O Nora, get your cloak and hood,

And haste with me o'er the sands."

Now a kind man was the fisherman,
And a lucky man was he;
And never a steadier sailed away
From the Bay of Cromarty.

And the wife had plenty on her board,
And the babe in her arms was fair;
But her heart was always full of fear,
And her brow was black with care.


And she stood at her neighbor's door and cried,
"Oh, woe is me this night!

For the fairies have stolen my pretty babe
And left me an ugly sprite.

"My pretty babe, that was more than all
The wealth of the world to me;
With his coral lips, and his hair of gold,
And his teeth like pearls of the sea!

"I went to look for his father's boat, When I heard the stroke of the oar; And I left him cooing soft in his bed,

As the bird in her nest by the door.

"And there was the father fair in sight,
And pulling hard to the land;

And my foot was back o'er the sill again,
Ere his keel had struck the sand.

"But the fairies had time to steal my babe, And leave me in his place

A restless imp, with a wicked grin,
And never a smile on his face."

And Nora took her cloak and hood,
And softly by the hand

She led the fisher's wife through the night
Across the yellow sand.

"Nay, do not rave, and talk so wild;" 'Twas Nora thus that spoke;

"We must have our wits to work against The arts of fairy folk.

"There's a charm to help us in our need, But its power we can not try,

With the black cloud hanging o'er the brow, And the salt tear in the eye.

"For wicked things may gibe and grin
With noisy cheer and shout,

But the joyous peal of a happy laugh
Has power to drive them out.

"And if this sprite we can but please Till he laughs with merry glee,

We shall break the spell that holds him here, And keeps the babe from your knee."

So the mother wiped her tears away,
And patiently and long
They plied the restless, stubborn imp
With cunning trick and song.

They blew a blast on the fisher's horn,
Each curious prank they tried;
They rocked the cradle where he lay,
As a boat is rocked on the tide.

But there the hateful creature kept,
In place of the human child;
And never once his writhing ceased,
And never once he smiled.

Then Nora cried, "Take yonder egg
That lies upon the shelf,

And make of it two hollow cups,

Like tiny cups of delf."

And the mother took the sea-mew's egg,
And broke in twain the shell,

And made of it two tiny cups,

And filled them at the well.

She filled them up as Nora bade,
And set them on the coals:

And the imp grew still, for he ne'er had seen In fairy-land such bowls.

And when the water bubbled and boiled,
Like a fountain in its play,

Mirth bubbled up to his lips, and he laughed
Till he laughed himself away!

And the mother turned about, and felt
The heart in her bosom leap;

For the imp was gone, and there in his place
Lay her baby fast asleep.

And Nora said to her neighbor, "Now
There sure can be no doubt

But a merry heart and a merry laugh
Drive evil spirits out!

"And who can say but the dismal frown
And the doleful sigh are the sin

That keeps the good from our homes and hearts,
And lets the evil in!"



"O MARY, go and call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

And call the cattle home,

Across the sands o' Dee;"

The western wind was wild and dank wi' foam,
And all alone went she.

The creeping tide came up along the sand,

And o'er and o'er the sand,

And round and round the sand,

As far as eye could see;

The blinding mist came down and hid the land—

And never home came she.

"Oh, is it weed, or fish, or floating hair—

A tress o' golden hair,

O' drowned maiden's hair,

Above the nets at sea?

Was never salmon yet that shone so fair
Among the stakes on Dee."

They rowed her in across the rolling foam,

The cruel, crawling foam,

The cruel, hungry foam,

To her grave beside the sea;

But still the boatmen hear her call the cattle home,
Across the sands o' Dee.


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