Isis Town and Country - - Opinion -

THE black­smith’s boy went out with a ri­fle and a black dog run­ning be­hind. Cob­webs snatched at his feet, rivers hin­dered him, thorn branches caught at his eyes to make him blind and the sky turned into an un­lucky opal, but he didn’t mind. I can break branches, I can swim rivers, I can stare out any spi­der I meet, said he to his dog and his ri­fle. The black­smith’s boy went over the pad­docks with his old black hat on his head. Moun­tains jumped in his way, rocks rolled down on him, and the old crow cried, You’ll soon be dead. And the rain came down like mat­tocks. But he only said, I can climb moun­tains, I can dodge rocks, I can shoot an old crow any day, and he went on over the pad­docks. When he came to the end of the day, the sun be­gan fall­ing, Up came the night ready to swal­low him, like the bar­rel of a gun, like an old black hat, like a black dog hun­gry to fol­low him. Then the pi­geon, the mag­pie and the dove be­gan wail­ing and the grass lay down to pil­low him. His ri­fle broke, his hat blew away and his dog was gone and the sun was fall­ing. But in front of the night, the rain­bow stood on the moun­tain, just as his heart fore­told. He ran like a hare, he climbed like a fox; he caught it in his hands, the colours and the cold – like a bar of ice, like the col­umn of a foun­tain, like a ring of gold. The pi­geon, the mag­pie and the dove flew up to stare, and the grass stood up again on the moun­tain. The black­smith’s boy hung the rain­bow on his shoul­der in­stead of his bro­ken gun.

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