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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 14, Issue 9 (December 1, 1939)

The Story-Teller

The Story-Teller.

“Tell us of the banshee,” the children come a-calling,
“Tell us of the banshee that is lurking in the dim,”
Sure I wouldn't be so bold at all when dusk is nearly falling,
Lest on my homeward journey I'd be after seeing him.
“O but please,” says little Kathleen with the eyes of flax-flower blue,
And “please” pleads little Padraic who has all a dreamer's wiles;
And there am I a-telling things, no word of which is true
But God looks kindly on a heart so won by children's smiles.
“I'll tell you of a taniwha instead of Irish stories,
I'll tell you of Tutanekai and his dark-eyed colleen,”
“O no, we've heard them all before—besides, they're tales of Hori's
So you must talk of banshee and things we've never seen.”
Sure now, Hori has a silver tongue, why must you be a-seeking
For Irish tales among the hills green with New Zealand fern,
The leprechauns are biding where the shamrock flowers are peeking,
Not here within the snow-crowned hills, so lovely yet so stern.
“Hori's tales are for the firelight,” says Padraic sweetly smiling,
“But yours are for the blue dusk that is peering through the trees,”
Who could resist the words of him—so cunningly beguiling—
So I tell them tales of banshees as they cluster round my knees.