Rewards and Fairies
|This work is incomplete. If you'd like to help expand it, see the help pages and the style guide, or leave a comment on this work's talk page.|
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, INCLUDING THAT OF TRANSLATION
INTO FOREIGN LANGUAGES INCLUDING THE SCANDINAVIAN
By RUDYARD KIPLING
Take of English earth as much
As either hand may rightly clutch.
In the taking of it breathe
Prayer for all who lie beneath—
Not the great nor well bespoke,
But the mere uncounted folk
Of whose life and death is none
Report or lamentation.
Lay that earth upon thy heart,
And thy sickness shall depart.
It shall sweeten and make whole
Fevered breath and festered soul;
It shall mightily restrain
Over-busy hand and brain;
It shall ease thy mortal strife
'Gainst the immortal woe of life,
Till thyself restored shall prove
By what grace the Heavens do move.
Take of English flowers these—
Spring's full-facéd primroses,
Summer's wild wide-hearted rose,
Autumn's wall-flower of the close,
And, thy darkness to illume,
Winter's bee-thronged ivy-bloom.
Seek and serve them where they bide
From Candlemas to Christmas-tide,
For these simples used aright
Can restore a failing sight.
These shall cleanse and purify
Webbed and inward-turning eye;
These shall show thee treasure hid,
Thy familiar fields amid;
And reveal (which is thy need)
Every man a King indeed!
Then they made the sign which no Indian makes outside of the Medicine Lodges
"Admiral Boy Vice-Admiral Babe," says Gloriana, "I cry your pardon'
I kneeled and he tapped me on the shoulder. "Rise up, Sir Harry Dawe," he says
"You'll do many things, and eating and drinking with a dead man beyond the world's end will be the least of them"
Once upon a time, Dan and Una, brother and sister, living in the English country, had the good fortune to meet with Puck, alias Robin Goodfellow, alias Nick o' Lincoln, alias Lob-lie-by-the-Fire, the last survivor in England of those whom mortals call Fairies. Their proper name, of course, is 'The People of the Hills.' This Puck, by means of the magic of Oak, Ash, and Thorn, gave the children power—
To see what they should see and hear what they should hear,
Though it should have happened three thousand year.
The result was that from time to time, and in different places on the farm and in the fields and the country about, they saw and talked to some rather interesting people. One of these, for instance, was a Knight of the Norman Conquest, another a young Centurion of a Roman Legion stationed in England, another a builder and decorator of King Henry VII's time; and so on and so forth; as I have tried to explain in a book called Puck of Pook's Hill.
A year or so later, the children met Puck once more, and though they were then older and wiser, and wore boots regularly instead of going barefooted when they got the chance, Puck was as kind to them as ever, and introduced them to more people of the old days.
He was careful, of course, to take away their memory of their walks and conversations afterward, but otherwise he did not interfere: and Dan and Una would find the strangest sort of persons in their gardens or woods.
In the stories that follow I am trying to tell something about those people.