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Fifty-one Tales, by Lord Dunsany, [1915], at


The poet came unto a great country in which there were no songs. And he lamented gently for the nation that had not any little foolish songs to sing to itself at evening.

And at last he said: "I will make for them myself some little foolish songs so that they may be merry in the lanes and happy by the fireside." And for some days he made for them aimless songs such as maidens sing on the hills in the older happier countries.

Then he went to some of that nation as they sat weary with the work of the day and said to them: "I have made you some aimless songs out of the small unreasonable legends, that are somewhat akin to the wind in the vales of my childhood; and you may care to sing them in your disconsolate evenings."

And they said to him:

"If you think we have time for that sort of nonsense nowadays you cannot know much of the progress of modern commerce."

And the poet wept for he said: "Alas! They are damned."

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