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.