“I was but a maid,”
the grandame said,
“When my mother was dead;
And many a time have I stood.
In that beautiful wood,
To dream that through every woodland noise,
Through the cracking
Of twigs and the bending of bracken,
Through the rustling
Of leaves in the breeze,
And the bustling
Of dark-eyed, tawny-tailed squirrels flitting about the trees,
Through the purling and trickling cool
Of the streamlet that feeds the pool,
I could hear her voice.
Should I wonder to hear it? Why?
Are the voices of tender wisdom apt to die?
And now, though I’m very old,
And the air, that used to feel fresh, strikes chilly and cold,
On a sunny day when I potter
About the garden, or totter
To the seat from whence I can see, below,
The marsh and the meadows I used to know,
Bright with the bloom of the flowers that blossomed there long ago;
Then, as if it were yesterday,
I fancy I hear them say—
’Pluck, children, pluck,
But leave some for good luck;
Picked from the stalk, or pulled up by the root,
From overhead, or from underfoot,
Water-wonders of pond or brook;
Wherever you look,
And whatever your little fingers find,
Leave something behind:
Some for the Naiads,
And some for the Dryads,
And a bit for the Nixies, and the Pixies.’”
The following note was given in Aunt Judy’s Magazine, June 1880, when “Grandmother’s Spring” first appeared:—“It may interest old readers of Aunt Judy’s Magazine to know that ‘Leave some for the Naiads and the Dryads’ was a favourite phrase with Mr. Alfred Gatty, and is not merely the charge of an imaginary mother to her ‘blue-eyed banditti.’ Whether my mother invented the expression for our benefit, or whether she only quoted it, I do not know. I only remember its use as a check on the indiscriminate ‘collecting’ and ‘grubbing’ of a large family; a mystic warning not without force to fetter the same fingers in later life, with all the power of a pious
Are you a Giant, great big man, or is your real name Smith?
Nurse says you’ve got a hammer that you hit bad children with.
I’m good to-day, and so I’ve come to see if it is true
That you can turn a red-hot rod into a horse’s shoe.
Why do you make the horses’
shoes of iron instead of leather?
Is it because they are allowed to go out in bad weather?
If horses should be shod with iron, Big Smith, will you shoe mine?
For now I may not take him out, excepting when it’s fine.
Although he’s not a
real live horse, I’m very fond of him;
His harness won’t take off and on, but still it’s new and trim.
His tail is hair, he has four legs, but neither hoofs nor heels;
I think he’d seem more like a horse without these yellow wheels.