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To see this fight all people then
Got up on trees and houses,
On churches some, and chimneys too;
But these put on their trousers,
Not to spoil their hose. As soon as he rose,
To make him strong and mighty,
He drank, by the tale, six pots of ale
And a quart of aqua-vitæ.
It is not strength that always wins,
For wit doth strength excel ;
Which made our cunning champion
Creep down into a well,
Where he did think this dragon would drink,
And so he did in truth ;
And as he stoop'd low, he rose up and cried, boh!
And kick'd him in the mouth.
Oh, quoth the dragon with a deep sigh,
And turn'd six times together,
Sobbing and tearing, cursing and swearing
Out of his throat of leather :
More of More-hall, O thou rascal,
Would I had seen thee never ; With the thing at thy foot thou hast prick'd my
throat, And I'm quite undone for ever.
Murder, murder, the dragon cried,
Alack, alack, for grief;
Had you but miss'd that place, you could
Have done me no mischief.
Then his head he shaked, trembled and quaked,
And down he laid and cried ;
First on one knee, then on back tumbled he;
So groan'd, and kick'd, and died.
At dead of night, when mortals lose
Their various cares in soft repose,
I heard a knocking at my door :
“Who's that,' said I, ‘at this late hour
Disturbs my rest ?' It sobb’d and cried,
And thus in mournful tone replied,
A poor, unhappy child am I,
That's come to beg your charity;"
Pray, let me in. You need not fear;
I mean no harm, I vow and swear;
But, wet and cold, crave shelter here;
Betray'd by night, and led astray,
I've lost, alas! I've lost my way.'
Moved with this little tale of fate,
I took a lamp, and oped the gate !
When, see ! a naked boy before
The threshold; at his back he wore
A pair of wings, and by his side
A crooked bow and quiver tied.
“My pretty angel ! come,' said I,
• Come to the fire, and do not cry.'
I stroked his neck and shoulders bare,
And squeez'd the water from his hair ;
Then chafed his little hands in mine,
And cheer'd him with a draught of wine.
Recover'd thus, says he, “I'd know,
Whether the rain has spoilt my bow;
Let's try'--then shot me with a dart.
The venom throbb’d, did ache and smart,
As if a bee had stung my heart.
• Are these your thanks, ungrateful child,
Are these your thanks?' The impostor smiled.
* Farewell, my loving host,' says he,
All's well; my bow's unhurt, I see;
But what a wretch I've made of thee !'
THE KING OF THE CROCODILES
* Now, woman, why without your veil ?
And wherefore do you look so pale ?
And, woman, why do you groan so sadly,
And wherefore beat your bosom madly?'
"Oh, I have lost my darling boy,
In whom my soul had all its joy;
And I for sorrow have torn my veil,
And sorrow hath made my very heart pale.
‘Oh, I have lost my darling child,
And that's the loss that makes me wild ;
He stoop'd by the river down to drink,
And there was a Crocodile by the brink.
"He did not venture in to swim,
He only stoop'd to drink at the brim ;
But under the reeds the Crocodile lay,
And struck with his tail and swept him away.
• Now take me in your boat, I pray,
For down the river lies my way,
And me to the Reed Island bring,
For I will go to the Crocodile King.
He reigns not now in Crocodilople,
Proud as the Turk at Constantinople ;
No ruins of his great city remain;
The Island of Reeds is his whole domain.
Like a dervise there he passes his days,
Turns up his eyes, and fasts and prays;
And being grown pious and meek and mild,
He now never cats man, woman, or child.
“The King of the Crocodiles never does wrong,
He has no tail so stiff and strong,
He has no tail to strike and slay,
But he has ears to hear what I say.
“And to the King I will complain
How my poor child was wickedly slain ;
The King of the Crocodiles he is good,
And I shall have the murderer's blood.'
The man replied, ' No, woman, no;
To the Island of Reeds I will not go;
I would not for any worldly thing
See the face of the Crocodile King.'
• Then lend me now your little boat,
And I will down the river float,
I tell thee that no worldly thing
Shall keep me from the Crocodile King.
* The King of the Crocodiles he is good,
And therefore will give me blood for blood ;
Being so mighty and so just,
He can revenge me, he will, and he must.'
The woman she leapt into the boat,
And down the river alone did she float,
And fast with the stream the boat proceeds,
And now she is come to the Island of Reeds.
The King of the Crocodiles there was seen ;
He sat upon the eggs of the Queen,
And all around, a numerous rout,
The young Prince Crocodiles crawl'd about.
The woman shook every limb with fear
As she to the Crocodile King came near,
For never a man without fear and awe
The face of his Crocodile Majesty saw.
She fell upon her bended knee,
And said, 'O King, have pity on me,
For I have lost my darling child,
And that's the loss that makes me wild.
A crocodile ate him for his food :
Now let me have the murderer's blood;
Let me have vengeance for my boy,
The only thing that can give me joy.