TO the yard, by the barn, came the farmer one morn,
And, calling the cattle, he said,
While they trembled with fright, “Now, which of you, last night,
Shut the barn door, while I was abed?”
Each one of them all shook his head.
Now the little calf Spot, she was down in the lot;
And the way the rest talked was a shame;
For no one, night before, saw her shut up the door;
But they said that she did,—all the same,—
For they always made her take the blame.
Said the horse (dapple gray), “I was not up that way
Last night, as I now recollect;”
And the bull, passing by, tossed his horns very high,
And said, “Let who may here object,
I say ’tis that calf I suspect!”
Then out spoke the cow, “It is terrible, now,
To accuse honest folks of such tricks.”
Said the cock in the tree, “I’m sure ’twasn’t me;”
And the sheep all cried, “Bah!” (There were six.)
“Now that calf’s got herself in a fix!”
“Why, of course, we all knew ’twas the wrong thing to do.”
Said the chickens. “Of course,” said the cat;
“I suppose,” cried the mule, “some folks think me a fool;
But I’m not quite so simple as that;
The poor calf never knows what she’s at!”
Just that moment, the calf, who was always the laugh
And the jest of the yard, came in sight.
“Did you shut my barn door?” asked the farmer once more.
“I did, sir; I closed it last night,”
Said the calf; “and I thought that was right.”
Then each one shook his head. “She will catch it,” they said;
“Serve her right for her meddlesome way!”
Said the farmer, “Come here, little bossy, my dear!
You have done what I cannot repay,
And your fortune is made from to-day.
“For a wonder, last night, I forgot the door, quite;
And if you had not shut it so neat,
All my colts had slipped in, and gone right to the bin,
And got what they ought not to eat—
They’d have foundered themselves upon wheat.”
Then each hoof of them all began loudly to bawl;
The very mule smiled; the cock crew;
“Little Spotty, my dear, you’re a favorite here,”
They cried. “We all said it was you,
We were so glad to give you your due.”
And the calf answered, knowingly, “Boo!”