The Little People

Clarence Michael James Dennis

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'Twas a long bush night; and the old hut light
Shone out thro' the open door
To flood the knees of the great bush trees
And the scrub that grew before.
And, as I dreamed where the firelight gleamed,
And watched the long hours lag,
Came there to my shack Kilkenny Jack
With his fiddle in its green baize bag.

So I bade him sit and rest a bit,
And we yarned of this and that.
Pipes well alight, we watched the night
As he on his old swag sat.
"Lonesome, indade, this life we lade,"
Said he, "Why let time drag
For me an' you?" And he stooped and drew
His fiddle from its green baize bag.

Then the scrub before the old hut door
Was people suddenly
With elfin' folk who rose and spoke
Strange, mystic things to me.
Then into the glare from the bracken there
The Little People crept;
And, suddenly, by fern and tree
The fairies danced and leapt.

Kilkenny Jack he leant him back,
And his bow went to and fro;
And there outside the banshees cried
In mournful tones and low.
And where the light stabbed thro' the night
To cast dark shades about,
In many a place I saw the face
Of a leprechaun peep out.

Then the music stopped; and Jack he dropped
His fiddle, and was done;
And into the night in sudden fright
I saw the small folk run . . .
Then off he went, his small form bent
'Neath his old, familiar swag
Upon his back - Kilkenny Jack,
With his fiddle in its green baize bag.

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