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MABEL ON MIDSUMMER-DAY.
“ Arise, my maiden, Mabel,”
The mother said; “ Arise,
Is shining in the skies.
“ Arise my little maiden,
For thou must speed away, To wait upon thy grandmother
This livelong summer-day.
“ And thou must carry with thee
This wheaten cake so fine, This new-made pat of butter,
This little flask of wine.
“ And tell the dear old body,
This day I cannot come, For the good man went out yester-morn,
And he is not come home.
“ And more than this, poor Amy
Upon my knee doth lie;
The little child will die!
" And thou canst help thy grandmother;
The table thou canst spread; Canst feed the little dog and bird ;
And thou canst make her bed.
66 And thou canst fetch the water
From the Lady-well hard by ;
The fagots brown and dry;
“Canst go down to the lonesome glen,
To milk the mother-ewe; This is the work, my Mabel,
That thou wilt have to do.
“But listen now, my Mabel,
This is midsummer-day, When all the fairy people
From elf-land come away.
“ 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; Think only of poor Amy,
And how thou lov'st us all.
“Yet keep good heart, my Mabel,
If thou the fairies see,
If they should speak to thee.
“And when into the fir-wood
Thou goest for fagots brown, Do not, like idle children,
Go wandering up and down.
“ But fill thy little apron,
My child, with earnest speed;
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, willful brownies,
But of the Father good.
“ And when thou goest to the spring
To fetch the water thence,
Lest this should give offence.
“For the queen of all the fairies,
She loves that water bright;
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.”
Away tripp'd little Mabel,
With the wheaten cake so fine, With the new-made pat of butter,
And the little flask of wine.
And long before the sun was hot,
And summer mist had cleared, Beside the good old grandmother
The willing child appeared.
And all her mother's
message She told with right good will, How that the father was away,
And the little child was ill.
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, Except a bird, a sky-blue bird,
That sat upon a tree.
The next time that good Mabel went,
There sat a lady bright Beside the well,-a lady small,
All clothed in green and white.
A curtsey low made Mabel,
And then she stooped to fill
But no drop did she spill.