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Poem by Eugene Field



When to the dreary greenwood gloam
  Winfreda's husband strode that day,
The fair Winfreda bode at home
  To toil the weary time away;
"While thou art gone to hunt," said she,
"I'll brew a goodly sop for thee."

Lo, from a further, gloomy wood,
  A hungry wolf all bristling hied
And on the cottage threshold stood
  And saw the dame at work inside;
And, as he saw the pleasing sight,
He licked his fangs so sharp and white.

Now when Winfreda saw the beast,
  Straight at the grinning wolf she ran,
And, not affrighted in the least,
  She hit him with her cooking pan,
And as she thwacked him on the head
"Scat! scat!" the fair Winfreda said.

The hills gave answer to their din
  The brook in fear beheld the sight.
And all that bloody field within
  Wore token of Winfreda's might.
The wolf was very loath to stay
But, oh! he could not get away.

Winfreda swept him o'er the wold
  And choked him till his gums were blue,
And till, beneath her iron hold,
  His tongue hung out a yard or two,
And with his hair the riven ground
Was strewn for many leagues around.

They fought a weary time that day,
  And seas of purple blood were shed,
Till by Winfreda's cunning lay
  That awful wolf all limp and dead;
Winfreda saw him reel and drop
Then back she went to brewing sop.

So when the husband came at night
  From bootless chase, cold, gaunt, and grim,
Great was that Saxon lord's delight
  To find the sop dished up for him;
And as he ate, Winfreda told
How she had laid the wolf out cold.

The good Winfreda of those days
  Is only "pretty Birdie" now
Sickly her soul and weak her ways
  And she, to whom we Saxons bow,
Leaps on a bench and screams with fright
If but a mouse creeps into sight.

Eugene Field

Eugene Field's other poems:
  1. Abu Midjan
  2. Ballad of Women I Love
  3. Guess
  4. The Broken Ring
  5. The Wind

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