by Shane O'Connor
Who was it fussed the honey bees?
Who trod the taters on the floor?
Who chipped the plate and crackd the egg?
Who slopped the milk and swore?
Who played down by the rank green pool,
Where they know they should not play?
Who wandered far in the wild, wild wood,
Where they know they should not stray?
Who knows of everything youve done
But hoped no-one would see?
Who is it kens of all these things?
The Muckleman, tis he.
Where dwells Weird Willy? None can say.
Where in the wood? Nay, none can tell.
His dens more deep than badgers sett,
More deep than druids well.
Down to his stye the dark ditch drops,
Down from the hollow-bottomed shaw.
There he dwells in the under-grown,
A brod round stoons his door.
Upon the eve of Yuling
Willy stirs within his lair,
Takes up his sack and walking stick
And mounts the twisting stair.
He climbs the ditch and parts the twigs,
Beware his clutching claws!
Beware the hissing of his breath,
The snapping of his jaws!
The yard dog growls a warning
When the wolf comes prowling near,
But he wavers not a whisker
Should the Muckleman appear.
Geese and hens they hardly heed him
If they hear him stealing by.
In the barn the beasts at slumber
There contentedly they lie.
Whats that scratching at the shutter?
Whats that rattling of the latch?
Whats that climbing on the chimney?
Whats that scrabbling in the thatch?
Whats that clatter on the woodpile?
Whats that hoof-clop by the door?
Whats that stirring of the curtain?
Whats that tapping on the floor?
Dont lay awake to hear him, bairns,
But pass the night a-sleeping.
Youll see him not, nor catch him out
When Nimbleshanks comes creeping.
Good children who will well behave
May on the morrow wake with glee,
And find them such a bonny gift
As eer theyd wont to see.
But wicked bairns and lazy bairns,
Them ill for ill will Willy pay.
He stoffs them in his lodly sack
And carries them away.
And when they wake, when comes the day,
Theyll find them locked in Willys den,
And how yon Nimbleshanks be fed
Tis no-one who can ken.
So hush my bairns and heed my warning,
Nimbleshanks will stir tonight!
Sleep until the day comes dawning,
Sleep until the morning light.
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