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In Spite of Fate

From the Omaha Daily Bee, June 28, 1913.
 By S. E. Kiser.

 A little boy sat on an old rail fence
     And gazed at a drooping limb;
 And a sinful yearning that was intense
     Kept steadily urging him.
 His little red features were covered with dirt
     And his little brown legs were scratched;
 There were numerous rents in his little checked shirt,
     And his little blue pants were patched.
 From one little toe the nail had been torn
     And one little heel was sore;
 A child apparently more forlorn
     I had never beheld before.
 At last he stood on the topmost rail
     And reached for that drooping limb;
 I almost uttered a hopeless wail—
     I felt so sorry for him.
 Hand over hand he pulled it down—
     The limb with the droop, I mean;
 His face was red and his legs were brown
     And the apples were small and green.
 He sat on the rail and he ate and ate;
     I counted them—there were four;
 Then, foolishly, recklessly challenging fate,
     He reached for a couple more.
 Sadly I turned to pursue my way
     And sadly I said, “Good-by.”
 Alas for what I have seen this day,
     ’Tis sad that the young must die.
 “You have had your way and you’ve had your will;
     Your bed will be dark and deep;
 A week from now upon yonder hill
     You will lie in a dreamless sleep.”
 A week had passed and again I chanced
     To pause ‘neath that fateful tree;
 With sad remembrance I turned and glanced—
     A thrill was in store for me.
 For there on the old rail fence he sat,
     Eating with calm delight,
 And, having finished he filled his hat
     And then sauntered out of sight.

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