The Ballad of the Five


Once upon a merry time

A little long ago,

A fox as red as auburn hair

Came bounding from the snow.


She tumbled into springtime,

Shook herself as from a dream

When, with a splash and sparkle burst

An otter from the stream.


“Follow me, you pretty thing,

To summer fields of gold,

Once we’ve found the fire sparrow—

There’s much there to behold!”


Fox and otter sped along

Beneath the dappled trees.

At last they heard a chirping laugh:

The sparrow on the breeze.


Then, in the autumn forest fair,

A rustle from behind

Heralded the deer’s arrival.

“I’ll come too, if you don’t mind?”


The foursome rambled through the dusk,

And night was falling soon.

There danced alone in summer’s field

The tigress of the moon.


“You oughtn’t dance alone,” they said.

The five, they formed a wheel,

And underneath the merry moon,

They skipped a sprightly reel.


The sun arose, and with it came

Five more into the dance:

Though at first they stood in awe, aloof,

The squirrel took a chance.


He scampered right into the reel,

He cut into the ring,

And, mustering his courage, took

The sparrow by the wing.


Then laughingly the dingo leapt

To caper with the fox.

The otter and the otter skipped

Beneath the hollyhocks.


The stallion stepped in proper time

Quite dearly with the deer.

The lion taught the tiger

There was nothing more to fear.


He took her paws within his paws

And frolicked in the sun.

The ten, they told the sweetest tale,

A story just begun.











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