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Rudyard Kipling

Rudyard Kipling

The Only Son

Enlarged from "Many Inventions"


She dropped the bar, she shot the bolt, she fed the fire anew For she heard a whimper under the sill and a great grey paw came through. The fresh flame comforted the hut and shone on the roof-beam, And the Only Son lay down again and dreamed that he dreamed a dream. The last ash fell from the withered log with the click of a falling spark, And the Only Son woke up again, and called across the dark:-- "Now was I born of womankind and laid in a mother's breast? For I have dreamed of a shaggy hide whereon I went to rest. And was I born of womankind and laid on a father's arm? For I have dreamed of clashing teeth that guarded me from harm. And was I born an Only Son and did I play alone? For I have dreamed of comrades twain that bit me to the bone. And did I break the barley-cake and steep it in the tyre? For I have dreamed of a youngling kid new-riven from the byre: For I have dreamed of a midnight sky and a midnight call to blood And red-mouthed shadows racing by, that thrust me from my food. 'Tis an hour yet and an hour yet to the rising of the moon, But I can see the black roof-tree as plain as it were noon. 'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the trooping blackbuck go; But I can hear the little fawn that bleats behind the doe. 'Tis a league and a league to the Lena Falls where the crop and the upland meet, But I Can smell the wet dawn-wind that wakes the sprouting wheat. Unbar the door. I may not bide, but I must out and see If those are wolves that wait outside or my own kin to me!" . . . . . She loosed the bar, she slid the bolt, she opened the door anon, And a grey bitch-wolf came out of the dark and fawned on the Only Son!

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