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The Town Between the Hills

Katherine Mansfield 1888 (Wellington) – 1923 (Fontainebleau, Île-de-France)

The further the little girl leaped and ran,
The further she longed to be;
The white, white fields of jonquil flowers
Danced up as high as her knee
And flashed and sparkled before her eyes
Until she could hardly see.
So into the wood went she.

  It was quiet in the wood,
It was solemn and grave;
A sound like a wave
Sighed in the tree-tops
And then sighed no more.
But she was brave,
And the sky showed through
A bird's-egg blue,
And she saw
A tiny path that was running away
Over the hills to--who can say?
She ran, too.
But then the path broke,
Then the path ended
And wouldn't be mended.

  A little old man
Sat on the edge,
Hugging the hedge.
He had a fire
And two eggs in a pan
And a paper poke
Of pepper and salt;
So she came to a halt
To watch and admire:
Cunning and nimble was he!
"May I help, if I can, little old man?"
"Bravo!" he said,
"You may dine with me.
I've two old eggs
From two white hens
and a loaf from a kind ladie:
Some fresh nutmegs,
Some cutlet ends
In pink and white paper frills:
And--I've--got
A little hot-pot
From the town between the hills."

  He nodded his head
And made her a sign
To sit under the spray
Of a trailing vine.

  But when the little girl joined her hands
And said the grace she had learned to say,
The little old man gave two dreadful squeals
And she just saw the flash of his smoking heels
As he tumbled, tumbled,
With his two old eggs
From two white hens,
His loaf from a kind ladie,
The fresh nutmegs,
The cutlet-ends
In the pink and white paper frills.
And away rumbled
The little hot-pot,
So much too hot,
From the ton between the hills.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:35 min read
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Katherine Mansfield

Katherine Mansfield Beauchamp Murry was a prominent modernist writer of short fiction who was born and brought up in colonial New Zealand and wrote under the pen name of Katherine Mansfield. more…

All Katherine Mansfield poems | Katherine Mansfield Books

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