So he chopped the wood small; stayed there in the house and had good meat and drink, but never saw anyone but the tabby-cat and her servants. Once she said to him, "Go and mow my meadow, and dry the grass," and gave him a scythe of silver, and a whetstone of gold, but bade him deliver them up again carefully.
'If the cellar was deep, it could sniff up the wine like an elephant's trunk; if the bellows were missing, it could blow the fire; if the lamp was too glaring, it could suffice for a shade; it would serve as a speaking-trumpet to a herald; it could sound a signal of battle in the field; it would do for a wedge in wood-cutting, a spade for digging, a scythe for mowing, an anchor in sailing, till Painphagus cries out, 'Lucky dog that I am! and I never knew before what a useful piece of furniture I carried about with me." My father paused and strove to whistle; but that effort of harmony failed him, and he added, smiling, "So much for my apple-trees, brother John.
Wake me up, boys, when you think I'd ought to sling that scythe some more, for if I hev it on my mind I can't git a wink o' sleep." This was apparently a witticism; at any rate, it elicited roars of laughter. "It's one of Jabe's useless days; he takes 'em from his great-aunt Lyddy," said David Milliken. "You jest dry up, Dave.
And at last there was nothing left but a small square of grass, standing like a square of linesmen who keep their formation, tall and unbroken, with all the dead lying around them when the battle is over and done. Then for some little time I rested after all those hours; and the man and I talked together, and a long way off we heard in another field the musical sharpening of a scythe.
When the grass required his close attention, or when he had to stoop to cut about a head-stone, he paused in his lively air, the "Jewel" song, taking it up where he had left it when his scythe swung free again. He was not thinking about the tired pioneers over whom his blade glittered.
Of these rude implements of war the most formidable was made by fastening the blade of a scythe erect on a strong pole. The tithing men of the country round Taunton and Bridgewater received orders to search everywhere for scythes and to bring all that could be found to the camp.
For only answer, Time strewed its passage with shreds of purple and kingly mantles, fragments of armor, wrecks of crowns, and cast at my feet thousands of broken sceptres. I then enquired what would become of the thrones of to-day. What the first became, was the reply—and Time waved the direful scythe which levels all things under its merciless strokes—these also will be.
On all the countryside she was the most inoffensive creature the harmless gipsy of the animal world, having no fixed abode, her tent-roof being the dome of the sky. As autumn advanced, the reapers came to the corn. She heard them enter by the gate; and presently, along the broad path cut by the scythe around the field, the great machine clanked and whirred.
“That brigand,” said he aside, “is capable of filching all my game.” And he vanished. Returned home, the great golfer shut up his souls in a sack and went to bed, enchanted to have beaten Mynheer van Belzébuth. Two years after the wheelwright of Coq received a visit which he little expected. An old man, tall, thin and yellow, came into the workshop carrying a scythe on his shoulder.
Moreover, the Florentine masters took heed to paint, under the shade of orange groves, on the flower-starred turf, fair ladies and gallant knights, with Death lying in wait for them with his scythe, while they were discoursing of love to the sound of lutes and viols. Nothing was better fitted to convert carnal-minded sinners who quaff forgetfulness of God on the lips of women.