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The History of Hans Stare-in-the-Air

Now when this lad to school did go,
He never saw what's here below;
His eyes were always in the sky,
'Mong roofs and clouds and things that fly;
He never saw, along the street,
The common things about his feet,
So people used to cry, "Ah, there!
That is Hans Stare-in-the-Air!"

There came a dog a-tearing by,
Hans was gawking at the sky
            Just as ca'm
            As a ham –
No one warned him with a yell.
            What befell?
Whack! Ker-blim! and down they go –
Boy and doglet in a row!

Once he snooped along the Strand
With his atlas in his hand,
And his pug-nose tilted back
So he could watch the swallow's track;
And never got it through his gourd
That he was walking overboard,
Although the fishes, frightened, shout,
"We three are orphans, please look out!"

Another step – another yet –
And finds himself amazing wet!
The fishy orphans, scared full sore,
Turn tail and travel for the shore.

Now by luck two men arrive,
And with their hooks and sticks contrive
The struggling dunderhead to hive,
And soon they fish him out alive.

Stands he now, the dripping bloke,
And sees no humor in the joke;
Water streams from hair and clothes,
And flows in rivers down his nose;
He's water-soaked from head to heels,
But can't express half what he feels.

Those little fish go swimming by
And up at him they cock their eye,
And stick their heads out full aspan,
And laugh as only fishes can;
Laugh and giggle, jeer and snort –
How strange to see them thus cavort!
Meantime the atlas, gone astray,
Has drifted many yards away.


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