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20 MABEL ON MIDSUMMER DAY.
"And thou canst fetch the water
"Canst go down to the lonesome glen,
To milk the mother-ewe;
"But listen now, my Mabel,
This is midsummer day,
From elf-land come awTay.
"And when thou 'rt in the lonesome glen,
Keep by the running burn,
Nor break the lady-fern.
'• But think not of the fairy folk, Lest mischief should befall;
"Yet keep good heart, my Mabel,
If thou the fairies see,
If they should speak to thee.
"And when into the fir-wood
"But fill thy little apron, My child, with earnest speed; And that thou break no living bough Within the wood, take heed.
"For they are spiteful brownies
Who in the wood abide,
Lest evil should betide.
"But think not, little Mabel, Whilst thou art in the wood, Of dwarfish, wilful brownies, But of the Father good.
"And when thou goest to the spring To fetch the water thence, Do not disturb the little stream, Lest this should give offence.
"For the queen of all the fairies, She loves that water bright; I Ve seen her drinking there myself On many a summer night.
"But she's a gracious lady, And her thou need'st not fear; Only disturb thou not the stream, Nor spill the water clear."
"Now all this I will heed, mother,
Will no word disobey,
This livelong summer day."
22 MABEL ON MIDSUMMER BAY,
Away tripped little Mabel,
With the wheaten cake so fine,
With the new-made pat of butter,
And long before the sun was hot,
Beside the good old grandmother
And all her mother's message
How that the father was away,
And then she swept the hearth up clean,
And then the table spread;
And then she made the bed.
"And go now," said the grandmother,
"Ten paces down the dell,
Thou know'st the lady-well."
The first time that good Mabel went,
Nothing at all saw she,
That sat upon a tree.
The next time that good Mabel went,
There sat a lady bright
All clothed in green and white.
A courtesy low made Mabel,
And then she stooped to fill
But no drop did she spill.
"Thou art a handy maiden,"
The fairy lady said; "Thou hast not spilt a drop, nor yet
The fairy spring troubled!
"And for this thing which thou hast done,
Yet mayst not understand, I give to thee a better gift
Than houses or than land.
"Thou shalt do well whate'er thou dost.
As thou hast done this day;
And shalt be loved alway."
Thus having said, she passed from sight,
And nought could Mabel see,
Upon the leafy tree.
"And now go," said the grandmother,
"And fetch in fagots dry; All in the neighboring fir-wood
Beneath the trees they lie."
Away went kind, good Mabel,
Into the fir-wood near, Where all the ground was dry and brown,
And the grass grew thin and sere.
24 MABEL ON MIDSUMMER DAY.
She did not wander up and down,
Nor yet a live branch pull,
She picked her apron full.
And when the wild-wood brownies
Came sliding to her mind,
With home-thoughts sweet and kind.
But all that while the brownies
Within the fir-wood still,
And strove to do no ill.
"And, O, but she is small and neat,"
A creature so demure and meek,
"Look only," said another,
"At her little gown of blue;
And at her little shoe!"
'0, but she is a comely child,"
A good-luck penny in her path,
Seeing she broke no living wood;
With that the smallest penny,
Of the finest silver ore,
Lay Mabel's feet before,