Sir Ippykin

by OLIVER HERFORD (1863-1935)

Grim Giant Graft sate in his cavern dim;
A king’s reward was offered for him dead.
He scowled to think it could not come to him,
That price upon his head.

Of all his foes he dreaded only one,
A knight of stalwart heart and spotless fame,
Who feared no creature underneath the sun —
Sir Ippykin his name.

One night to Ippykin there came a thought —
A mocking thought, that whispered in his ear:
“Ah, ha, Sir Knight! men say thou fearest naught;
They lie—thou fearest Fear!

Fear smites you when you read the king’s decree
That whatsoever knight shall rid the land
Of Giant Graft will gain a golden fee,
Likewise his daughter’s hand.

You fear to win, for fear that you must wed
The princess — for you love another maid;
You dare not lose the fight because you dread
Lest men call you afraid.”

Cried Ippykin, “Lord, how shall I cut through
This tangled coil ?” Then of a sudden laughed
A gleeful laugh, and rose and hied him to
The cave of Giant Graft.

No chronicler was present to reveal
What passed between the knight and Giant Graft;
Or what the bargain was the which to seal
So many horns they quaffed.

But this is sure — thereafter from the lands
Of Ippykin once every week would stray
Certain fat sheep into the Giant’s hands
In some mysterious way;

And once a week the giant and the knight
Would chase each other round in seeming strife,
Until the king grew weary of the sight,
And pensioned both for life.

Then Ippykin and his true love were wed
And both lived happy till they passed away;
But Giant Graft, fat, flagrant, and well fed,
Is living to this day.

Oliver Herford Contemporaries
Rudyard Kipling
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Harry ‘Breaker’ Morant
Joseph Bert Smiley

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