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A Fairy Tale
by [?]

For the Mark Twain Dinner, December 5, 1905

Some three-score years and ten ago
A prince was born at Florida, Mo.;
And though he came incognito,
With just the usual yells of woe,
The watchful fairies seemed to know
Precisely what the row meant;
For when he was but five days old,
(December fifth as I’ve been told,)
They pattered through the midnight cold,
And came around his crib, to hold
A “Council of Endowment.”

“I give him Wit,” the eldest said,
And stooped above the little bed,
To touch his forehead round and red.
“Within this bald, unfurnished head,
Where wild luxuriant locks shall spread
And wave in years hereafter,
I kindle now the lively spark,
That still shall flash by day and dark,
And everywhere he goes shall mark
His way with light and laughter.”

The fairies laughed to think of it
That such a rosy, wrinkled bit
Of flesh should be endowed with Wit!
But something serious seemed to hit
The mind of one, as if a fit
Of fear had come upon her.
“I give him Truth,” she quickly cried,
“That laughter may not lead aside
To paths where scorn and falsehood hide,–
I give him Truth and Honour!”

“I give him Love,” exclaimed the third;
And as she breathed the mystic word,
I know not if the baby heard,
But softly in his dream he stirred,
And twittered like a little bird,
And stretched his hands above him.
The fairy’s gift was sealed and signed
With kisses twain the deed to bind:
“A heart of love to human-kind,
And human-kind to love him!”

“Now stay your giving!” cried the Queen.
“These gifts are passing rich I ween;
And if reporters should be mean
Enough to spy upon this scene,
‘Twould make all other babies green
With envy at the rumour.
Yet since I love this child, forsooth,
I’ll mix your gifts, Wit, Love and Truth,
With spirits of Immortal Youth,
And call the mixture Humour!”

The fairies vanished with their glittering train;
But here’s the Prince with all their gifts,–Mark Twain.