The Dwarf

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The Dwarf
written by Walter de la Mare
Songs of Childhood (1902)

    'Now, Jinnie, my dear, to the dwarf be off,
        That lives in Barberry Wood,
    And fetch me some honey, but be sure you don't laugh,--
      He hates little girls that are rude, are rude,
        He hates little girls that are rude.'

    Jane tapped at the door of the house in the wood,
        And the dwarf looked over the wall,
    He eyed her so queer, 'twas as much as she could
      To keep from laughing at all, at all,
        To keep from laughing at all.

    His shoes down the passage came clod, clod, clod,
        And when he opened the door,
    He croaked so harsh, 'twas as much as she could
      To keep from laughing the more, the more,
        To keep from laughing the more.

    As there, with his bushy red beard, he stood,
        Pricked out to double its size,
    He squinted so cross, 'twas as much as she could
      To keep the tears out of her eyes, her eyes,
        To keep the tears out of her eyes.

    He slammed the door, and went clod, clod, clod,
        But while in the porch she bides,
    He squealed so fierce, 'twas as much as she could
      To keep from cracking her sides, her sides,
        To keep from cracking her sides.

    He threw a pumpkin over the wall,
        And melons and apples beside,
    So thick in the air, that to see 'em all fall,
      She laughed, and laughed, till she cried, cried, cried,
        Jane laughed and laughed till she cried.

    Down fell her teardrops a pit-apat-pat,
        And red as a rose she grew;--
    'Kah! kah!' said the dwarf, 'is it crying you're at?
      It's the very worst thing you could do, do, do,
        It's the very worst thing you could do.'

    He slipped like a monkey up into a tree,
        He shook her down cherries like rain;
    'See now,' says he, cheeping, 'a blackbird I be,
      Laugh, laugh, little Jinnie, again-gain-gain,
        Laugh, laugh, little Jinnie, again.'

    Ah me! what a strange, what a gladsome duet
        From a house i' the deeps of a wood!
    Such shrill and such harsh voices never met yet
      A-laughing as loud as they could-could-could,
        A-laughing as loud as they could.

    Come Jinnie, come dwarf, cocksparrow, and bee,
        There's a ring gaudy-green in the dell,
    Sing, sing, ye sweet cherubs, that flit in the tree;
      La! who can draw tears from a well-well-well,
        Who ever drew tears from a well!

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