DUKE LEOPOLD'S STONE
BY MARY E. BRADLEY
from the October 1879 edition of St. Nicholas, pp. 784-786
|THERE was once a great Duke Leopold,
Who had wit and wisdom, as well as gold,
And used all three in a liberal way
For the good of his people, the stories say.
To see precisely what they would do,
And how nearly a notion of his came true,
He went from his palace one night alone--
When a brooding storm and starless skies
Hid his secret from prying eyes--
And set midway in the road a stone
It was not too big for a man to move--
The Duke was confident on that score;
Yet the weight of the thing was enough to prove
The strength of one's muscle--and something more.
"Something more," laughed the Duke, as he strode
Through wind and rain on his homeward road:
"This time tomorrow I reckon will show
If a notion of mine is correct or no."
"THE LEGEND UPON IT HE READ ALOUD"
|A little later, still watching there,
He spied on their way to the village Fair,
A troop of merchants, each with his pack
Strapped on a well-fed animal's back.
"Now let us see," with a nod of his head
And a merry twinkle, His Highness said:
"Perhaps this worshipful multitude
Will lend a hand for the public good."
But alack! the company, man and horse,
Hardly paused in their onward course.
Instead of cantering four abreast,
Two by two they went east and west;
And when they had left the stone behind--
"To think of a thing like that," said they,
"Blocking the high-road for half a day!"
It never reached the collective mind
In the light of a matter that implied
Some possible claim on the other side.
So a week, and two, and three slipped past:
But the stare of amazement became despair