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A Child's Own Book of Verse II by  Ada M. Skinner

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THE FAIRY SHOEMAKER

Little cowboy, what have you heard

Up on the lonely rath's green mound!

Only the plaintive yellow bird

Sighing in sultry fields around,

Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee?

Only the grasshopper, and the bee?

"Tip-tap, rip-rap,

Tick-a-tack-too!

Scarlet leather sewn together,

This will make a shoe,

Left, right, pull it tight;

Summer days are warm;

Underground in winter,

Laughing at the storm!"


Lay your ear close to the hill.

Do you not catch the tiny clamor,

[101]

Busy click of an elfin hammer,

Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill

As he merrily plies his trade?

He's a span

And a quarter in height.

Get him in sight, hold him tight,

And your're a made Man!


You watch your cattle the summer day,

Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay:

How would you like to roll in your carriage,

Look for a duchess's daughter in marriage?

Seize the Shoemaker—then you may:

"Big boots a-hunting,

Sandals in the hall,

White for a wedding feast,

Pink for a ball.

This way, that way,

So we make a shoe;

Getting rich every stitch,

Tick-tack-too!"


Nine and ninety treasure crocks

This keen miser-fairy hath,

Hid in mountains, woods and rocks,

Ruin and round tower, cave and rath,

And where the cormorants build

From times of old

Guarded by him

[102]

Each of them filled

Full to the brim with gold!


I caught him at work one day myself,

In the castle ditch, where foxglove grows;

A wrinkled, wizened, and bearded elf,

Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,

Silver buckles to his hose,

Leather apron, shoe in his lap.

"Rip-rap, tip-tap,

Tick-tack-too!

(A grasshopper on my cap!

Away the moth flew!)

Buskins for a fairy prince,

Brogues for his son;

Pay me well, pay me well,

When the job is done!"

The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt;

I stared at him, he stared at me

"Servant, sir!" "Humph!" says he,

And pulled a snuff-box out.

He took a long pinch, looked better pleased,

The queer little Lepracaun ;

Offered the box with a dainty grace—

Pouf! he flung the dust in my face!

And while I sneezed,

Was gone!

—WILLIAM ALLINGHAM.


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