They sat in the yellow sunlight,
Out under the maple-tree;
And the game that they played I’ll tell you,
Just as it was told to me.
It was Hide-and-Go-Seek they were playing,
Though you’d never have known it to be—
With an old, old, old, old lady,
And a boy with a twisted knee.
The boy would bend his face down
On his one little sound right knee,
And he’d guess where she was hiding,
In guesses One, Two, Three!
“You are in the china-closet!”
He would cry, and laugh with glee—
It wasn’t the china-closet;
But he still had Two and Three.
“You are up in Papa’s big bedroom,
In the chest with the queer old key!”
And she said: “You are warm and warmer;
But you’re not quite right,” said she.
“It can’t be the little cupboard
Where Mamma’s things used to be—
So it must be the clothes-press, Gran’ma!”
And he found her with his Three.
Then she covered her face with her fingers,
That were wrinkled and white and wee,
And she guessed where the boy was hiding,
With a One and a Two and a Three.
And they never had stirred from their places,
Right under the maple-tree—
This old, old, old, old lady,
And the boy with the lame little knee—
This dear, dear, dear old lady,
And the boy who was half past three.
What does little birdie say,
In her nest at peep of day?
“Let me fly,” says little birdie;
“Mother, let me fly away.”
“Birdie, rest a little longer,
Till the little wings are stronger.”
So she rests a little longer,
Then she flies away.
What does little baby say
In her bed at peep of day?
Baby says, like little birdie,
“Let me rise and fly away.”
“Baby, sleep a little longer,
Till the little limbs are stronger.”
If she sleeps a little longer,
Baby, too, shall fly away.
Tell no tales out of school.
The bird that can sing, and won’t sing, must be made to sing.
You have put the cart before the horse.
It is the early bird that catches the worm.
There is many a slip ’twixt the cup and the lip.
The more haste, the less speed.
They who make the best use of their time have none to spare.
Those who play with edge tools must expect to be cut.
Three removes are as bad as a fire.
Through thick and thin.
Time and tide wait for no man.
To beat about the bush.
To break the ice.
To buy a pig in a poke.
To find a mare’s nest.
Whenever the Moon and stars are set,
Whenever the wind is high,
All night long in the dark and wet,
A man goes riding by.
Late in the night when the fires are out
Why does he gallop and gallop about?