Ray, H. Cordelia
|BALLADS AND OTHER POEMS|
|Little Fay's Thanksgiving|
The squire sat alone beside the board,
So lavish with its sumptuous fare that day,
With costly glass, and shining silver decked;
But naught could banish gloomy thought away131From his deep musing. 'Twas Thanksgiving, yes!
Yet could he offer thanks with no one near
To join in grateful praises? Why to-day
Was he so utterly devoid of cheer?
What were the words the preacher said that morn,
Words that so smote upon his weary heart?
"Lo! as ye've done it to the least of these,
Ye've done it unto me." Had he a part
In that sweet homily? Then why alone
Sat he to-day beside his sumptuous board?
Were there no poor to feed, no famished ones,
To catch some crumbs from his abundant hoard?
And as he sadly mused a vision seemed
To lure him backward, for his Mattie came,--
His only daughter who had wed with one,
In whom his poverty was counted shame
Unto the squire, and he cast her off,
His child, his only child, and then she died;
And now, yea! all his gold he'd freely give
To have her back--so humble was his pride.
The squire woke and raised his weary head;
There stood the table with its dainties piled.
But hark! he hears the patter of a foot;
A low, soft tread as of a little child.
Yes! gazing at him with wide, wistful eyes,
He saw a tiny girl of winsome face--
Clasping her rosy fingers round a shawl--
Whose ev'ry attitude spoke childish grace.
"My wee one, who art thou?" the squire said:
"I'm little Fay and live with grandpa there
Down by the big elm tree," the child replied,
Smiling and throwing back her tangled hair.132"Grandpa is blind and pretty baskests weaves
While I sing to him," prattled little Fay;
"But grandpa's sick and all the bread is gone,
And so I've come, for 'tis Thanksgiving Day.
"And Sallie Wayne, the girl who lives next door,
Says ev'ry one must have a feast to-day;
A great big turkey and some pies and cakes;
And so I've come-- you're very rich, they say--
And you must send my grandpa, o, a lot
Of goodies, and he'll eat and cry and say,
'Oh! what a happy grand,pa I must be,'
And then he'll end: 'God bless thee, little Fay!"
She ceased a moment and the squire rubbed
His moistened eyes, and kissed the trustful child;
And though the snow a fleecy curtain hung
About the windows and the wind shrieked wild,
He sent a bounteous store to that drear home;
For was it not that unto such as she--
The little ones-- we should do loving dent?
And a changed man from that glad day was he.
"Grandpa, I've brought your dinner, o come quick!
Cried little Fay who from a carriage stepped;
And then the blind man rose with happy heart
From the low pallet where he long had slept.
Oh! what a feast they had, grandpa and she;
It was indeed a glad Thanksgiving Day!
And as he raised his sightless eyes to Heav'n
In thanks, he cried: "God bless thee, little Fay!"