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Seumas O'Kelly
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 119 pages of information about Waysiders.

After a while the child followed, taking the other horn, gently, like her father, for she had all his understanding of and nearness to the dumb animals of the fields.  They came slowly and silently.  The light failed rapidly as they came down the hill.  Everything was merged in a shadowy vagueness, the colour of the white goat between the two dim figures alone proclaiming itself.  A kid bleated somewhere in the distance.  It was the cry of a young thing for its suckle, and the Herd saw that for a moment the white goat raised her head, the instinct of her nature moving her.  Then she tottered down the hill in the darkness.

When they reached the front of the stable the white goat backed painfully from the place.  The Herd was puzzled for a moment.  Then he saw the little pool of water in a faint glimmer before their feet.  He brought the animal to one side, avoiding it, and she followed the pressure of his directing hand.

He took down a lantern that swung from the rafters of the stable and lighted it.  In a corner he made a bed of fresh straw.  The animal leaned over a little against the wall, and they knew she was grateful for the shelter and the support.  Then the head began to sway in a weary rhythm from side to side as if the pain drove it on.  Her breath quickened, broke into little pants.  He noted the thin vapour that steamed from about her body.  The Herd laid his hand on her snout.  It was dry and red hot.  He turned away leading the child by the hand, the lantern swinging from the other, throwing long yellow streaks of light about the gloom of the stable.  He closed the door softly behind him.

II

It was late that night when the Herd got back from his rounds of the pastures.  His boots soaked in the wet ground and the clothes clung to his limbs, for the rain had come down heavily.  A rumble of thunder sounded over the hills as he raised the latch of his door.  He felt glad he had not left the white goat tethered in the whins on the hill.

His little daughter had gone to sleep.  His wife told him the child on being put to bed had wept bitterly, but refused to confess the cause of her grief.  The Herd said nothing, but he knew the child had wept for the white goat.  The thought of the child’s emotion moved him, and he turned out of the house again, standing in the darkness and the rain.  Why had they attacked the poor brute?  He asked the question over and over again, but only the rain beat in his face and around him was darkness, mystery.  Then he heard the voices higher up on the side of the hill, first a laugh, then some shouts and cries.  A thick voice raised the refrain of a song, and it came booming through the murky atmosphere.  The Herd could hear the words: 

  Where are the legs with which you run? 
          Hurroo!  Hurroo! 
  Where are the legs with which you run? 
          Hurroo!  Hurroo! 
  Where are the legs with which you run
  When first you went to carry a gun? 
  Indeed, your dancing days are done! 
      Och, Johnny, I hardly knew ye!

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