The Brownies : Their Book

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The Brownies' Ride


ne night a cunning Brownie band
Was roaming through a farmer's land,
And while the rogues went prying 'round,
The farmer's mare at rest they found;
And peeping through the stable-door,
They saw the harness that she wore.
The sight was tempting to the eye,
For there the cart was standing nigh.
"That mare," said one, "deserves her feed -
Believe me, she's no common breed;
Her grit is good: I've seen her dash
Up yonder slope without the lash,
Until her load - a ton of hay -
Went bouncing in beside the bay.
In this same cart, old Farmer Gill
Takes all his corn and wheat to mill;
It must be strong, though crude and rough;
It runs on wheels, and that's enough."
Now, Brownies seldom idle stand
When there's a chance for fun at hand.
So plans were laid without delay;
The mare was dragged from oats and hay,
The harness from the peg they drew,
And every one to action flew.
It was a sight one should behold
To see them working, young and old;
Two wrinkled elves, like leather browned,
Whose beards descended near the ground,
Along with youngsters did their best
With all the ardor of the rest.

While some prepared a rein or trace,
Another slid the bit in place;
More buckled bands with all their might,
Or drew the harness close and tight.

When every strap a buckle found,
And every part was safe and sound,
Then 'round the cart the Brownies flew, -
The hardest task was yet to do.
It often puzzles bearded men,
Though o'er and o'er performed again.
Some held the shafts to steer them straight,
More did their best to balance weight,
While others showed both strength and art
In backing Mag into the cart.
At length the heavy job was done,
And horse and cart moved off as one.
Now down the road the gentle steed
Was forced to trot at greatest speed.
A merrier crowd than journeyed there
Was never seen at Dublin Fair.
Some found a seat, while others stood,
Or hung behind as best they could;
While many, strung along, astride,
Upon the mare enjoyed the ride.

The night was dark, the lucky elves
Had all the turnpike to themselves.
No surly keeper barred the way,
For use of road demanding pay,
Nor were they startled by the cry
Of robbers shouting, "Stand or die!"
Across the bridge and up the hill
And through the woods to Warren's mill, -
A lengthy ride, ten miles at least, -
Without a rest they drove the beast,
And then were loath enough to rein
Old Mag around for home again.

Nor was the speed, returning slow;
The mare was more inclined to go,
Because the feed of oats and hay
Unfinished in her manger lay.
So through the yard she wheeled her load
As briskly as she took the road.
No time remained to then undo
The many straps which tight they drew,
For in the east the reddening sky
Gave warning that the sun was nigh.

The halter rope was quickly wound
About the nearest post they found;
Then off they scampered, left and right,
And disappeared at once from sight.

When Farmer Gill that morning fair
Came out and viewed his jaded mare,
I may not here in verse repeat
His exclamations all complete.
He gnashed his teeth, and glared around,
And struck his fists, and stamped the ground,
And chased the dog across the farm,
Because it failed to give alarm.
"I'd give a stack of hay," he cried,
"To catch the rogue who stole the ride!"
But still awry suspicion flew, -
Who stole the ride he never knew.

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