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Mellowed and mingled with the whispering leaves,
As, through the tangle of the low, thick woods,
He searched his traps. Therein nor beast nor bird
He found; though meanwhile in the reedy pools
The otter plashed, and underneath the pines
The partridge drummed: and as his thoughts went back
To the sick wife and little child at home,
What marvel that the poor man felt his faith
Too weak to bear its burden,—like a rope
That, strand by strand uncoiling, breaks above
The hand that grasps it. “Even now, O Lord!
Send me,” he prayed, “the angel of my dream!
Nauhaught is very poor; he cannot wait.”
Even as he spake he heard at his bare feet
A low, metallic clink, and, looking down,
He saw a dainty purse with disks of gold
Crowding its silken net. Awhile he held
The treasure up before his eyes, alone
With his great need, feeling the wondrous coins
Slide through his eager fingers, one by one.
So then the dream was true. The angel brought
One broad piece only; should he take all these?
Who would be wiser, in the blind, dumb woods?
The loser, doubtless rich, would scarcely miss
This dropped crumb from a table always full.
Still, while he mused, he seemed to hear the cry
Of a starved child; the sick face of his wife
Tempted him. Heart and flesh in fierce revolt
Urged the wild license of his savage youth
Against his later scruples. Bitter toil,
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