362 At the Back of the North Wind
loses far more in Diamond's sweet voice singing it than it gains by a rhyme here and there.
Some of them were out of books Mr. Raymond had given him. These he always knew, but about the others he could seldom tell. Sometimes he would say, "I made that one;" but generally he would say, " I don't know; I found it somewhere;" or "I got it at the back of the north wind."
One evening I found him sitting on the grassy slope under the house, with his Dulcimer in his arms and his little brother rolling on the grass beside them. He was chanting in his usual way, more like the sound of a brook than anything else I can think of. When I went up to them he ceased his chant.
" Do go on, Diamond. Don't mind me," I said.
He began again at once. While he sang, Nanny and Jim sat a little way off, one hemming a pocket-handkerchief, and the other reading a story to her, but they never heeded Diamond. This is as near what he sang as I can recollect, or reproduce rather.
What would you see if I took you up
To my little nest in the air? You would see the sky like a clear blue cup
Turned upside downwards there.
What would you do if I took your there
To my little nest in the tree? My child with cries would trouble the air,
To get what she could but see.
What would you get in the top of the tree
For all your crying- and grief? Not a star would you clutch of all you seeŚ
You could only gather a leaf.