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Erect, alert, his broad gray tail
Set to the north wind like a sail.
It came to pass, our little lass,
With flattened face against the glass,
And eyes in which the tender dew
Of pity shone, stood gazing through
The narrow space her rosy lips
Had melted from the frost's eclipse:
‘Oh, see,’ she cried, “the poor blue-jays!
What is it that the black crow says?
The squirrel lifts his little legs
Because he has no hands, and begs;
He's asking for my nuts, I know:
May I not feed them on the snow?”
Half lost within her boots, her head
Warm-sheltered in her hood of red,
Her plaid skirt close about her drawn,
She floundered down the wintry lawn;
Now struggling through the misty veil
Blown round her by the shrieking gale;
Now sinking in a drift so low
Her scarlet hood could scarcely show
Its dash of color on the snow.
She dropped for bird and beast forlorn
Her little store of nuts and corn,
And thus her timid guests bespoke:
“Come, squirrel, from your hollow oak,—
Come, black old crow,—come, poor blue-jay,
Before your supper's blown away!
Don't be afraid, we all are good;
And I'm mamma's Red Riding-Hood!”
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