Mary Mapes Dodge



Elfin Jack, The Giant-Killer

by Mary Mapes Dodge

Elfin Jack

Do not think the story
Of the giant-killer's glory
Is known and cherished only by yourselves,
O, my dears;
For his deeds so daring,
And his trick of scaring
All his foes, are quite familiar to the elves,
It appears.

In the starlight, tender --
In the moonlight's splendor
Do they gather and recount every deed,
It is said,
How he met a hornet,
Who was playing on a cornet,
Out of tune; and he slew him with a reed, --

How, growing ever bolder,
With his reed upon his shoulder,
And an acorn-shield upon his little arm
Well equipped --
He sought a mighty giant,
Who was known as Worm, the pliant,
And after giving battle, fierce and warm,
Left him whipped.

How he saw a spider
With her victim, dead, inside her,
Told her, in a voice of fury, to begone
From his sight;
How he killed her when she'd risen
To her cruel, fatal prison,
And nobly freed her captives, so forlorn, --
Gallant knight!

Ah, but the elves are proudest,
And ring his praises loudest,
When telling of a snail, grim and hoary,
In his mail.
With those fearful horns before him,
Jack gallantly upbore him,
And killed him with a thrust (to his glory)
In the tail!

Elfin Jack

List in the starlight, tender, --
List in the moonlight's splendor,
For a whirring, like hurrahing, in the glen,
Far and near.
'Tis the elves who, looking back
To their giant-killer, Jack,
Tell his story to each other, funny men!
With a cheer.


Rhymes And Jingles
Copyright 1875
Scribner, Armstrong, And Company