170 THE WONDERFUL TUNE
With your own father's daughter
I'd be sure to agree, But to drink the salt water
Wouldn't do so with me !
The lady looked at him quite amazed, and swinging her head from side to side like a great scholar, ' Well,' says she, ' Maurice, if you're not a poet, where is poetry to be found ? '
In this way they kept on at it, framing high com≠pliments ; one answering the other, and their feet going with the music as fast as their tongues. All the fish kept dancing, too ; Maurice heard the clatter and was afraid to stop playing lest it might be displeasing to the fish, and not knowing what so many of them may take it into their heads to do to him if they got vexed.
Well, the lady with the green hair kept on coaxing Maurice with soft speeches, till at last she over-persuaded him to promise to marry her, and be king over the fishes, great and small. Maurice was well fitted to be their king, if they wanted one that could make them dance ; and he surely would drink, barring the salt water, with any fish of them all.
When Maurice's mother saw him with that un≠natural thing in the form of a green-haired lady as his guide, and he and she dancing down together so lovingly to the water's edge, through the thick of the fishes, she called out after him to stop and come back. ' Oh, then,' says she, ' as if I was not widow enough before, there he is going away from me to be married to that scaly woman. And who knows but 'tis grandmother I may be to a hake or a codóLord help and pity me, but 'tis a mighty unnatural thing! And may be 'tis boiling and eating my own grandchild I'll be, with a bit of salt butter, and I not knowing it! Oh, Maurice, Maurice, if there's any love or nature left in you, come back to your own ould mother, who reared you like a decent Christian !' Then the poor woman began to