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The Field of Clover   By: (1865-1959)

Book cover

First Page:

[Illustration: MERCURY GOD OF MERCHANDISE LOOK ON WITH FAVOURABLE EYES]

[Illustration:

THE FIELD OF CLOVER

By Laurence Housman

DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC., NEW YORK

ENGRAVED BY CLEMENCE HOUSMAN

BE KINDLY TO THE WEARY DROVER & PIPE THE SHEEP INTO THE CLOVER]

This Dover edition, first published in 1968, is an unabridged and unaltered republication of the work originally published by Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. in 1898.

Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 68 30802

Manufactured in the United States of America Dover Publications, Inc. 180 Varick Street New York, N. Y. 10014

Contents

THE BOUND PRINCESS ( in six parts ) PAGE I THE FIRE EATERS 3 II THE GALLOPING PLOUGH 13 III THE THIRSTY WELL 23 IV THE PRINCESS MELILOT 33 V THE BURNING ROSE 45 VI THE CAMPHOR WORM 57 THE CROWN'S WARRANTY 69 THE WISHING POT 81 THE FEEDING OF THE EMIGRANTS 111 THE PASSIONATE PUPPETS 119

TO MY DEAR WOOD ENGRAVER

THE BOUND PRINCESS

[Illustration]

THE BOUND PRINCESS

I

THE FIRE EATERS

A long time ago there lived a man who had the biggest head in the world. Into it he had crammed all the knowledge that might be gathered from the four corners of the earth. Every one said he was the wisest man living. "If I could only find a wife," said the sage, "as wise for a woman as I am for a man, what a race of head pieces we could bring into the world!"

He waited many years before any such mate could be found for him: yet, at last, found she was one into whose head was bestowed all the wisdom that might be gathered from the four quarters of heaven.

They were both old, but kings came from all sides to their wedding, and offered themselves as god parents to the first born of the new race that was to be. But, to the grief of his parents, the child, when he arrived, proved to be a simpleton; and no second child ever came to repair the mistake of the first.

That he was a simpleton was evident; his head was small and his limbs were large, and he could run long before he could talk or do arithmetic. In the bitterness of their hearts his father and mother named him Noodle, without the aid of any royal god parents; and from that moment, for any care they took in his bringing up, they washed their wise hands of him.

Noodle grew and prospered, and enjoyed life in his own foolish way. When his father and mother died within a short time of each other, they left him alone without any friend in the world.

For a good while Noodle lived on just what he could find in the house, in a hand to mouth sort of way, till at last only the furniture and the four bare walls were left to him.

One cold winter's night he sat brooding over the fire, wondering where he should get food for the morrow, when he heard feet coming up to the door, and a knock striking low down upon the panel. Outside there was a faint chirping and crackling sound, and a whispering as of fire licking against the woodwork without.

He opened the door and peered forth into the night. There, just before him, stood seven little men huddled up together; three feet high they were, with bright yellow faces all shrivelled and sharp, and eyes whose light leaped and sank like candle flame before a gust.

When they saw him, they shut their eyes and opened famished mouths at him, pointing inwards with flickering finger tips, and shivering from head to foot with cold, although it seemed to the youth as if the warmth of a slow fire came from them. 'Alas!' said Noodle, in reply to these signs of hunger, 'I have not left even a crust of bread in the house to give you! But at least come in and make yourselves warm!' He touched the foremost, making signs for them all to enter. 'Ah,' he cried, 'what is this, and what are you, that the mere touch of you burns my finger?'

Without answer they huddled tremblingly across the threshold; but so soon as they saw the fire burning on the hearth, they yelped all together like a pack of hounds, and, throwing themselves face forwards into the hot embers, began ravenously to lap up the flames... Continue reading book >>




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