At on time, in America, many years ago,
Large gray wolves wont to wander to and fro;
And from the farm yards they carried pigs and calves away,
Which they devoured ravenously, without dismay.
But, as the story goes, there was a negro fiddler called old Dick,
Who was invited by a wedding party to give them music,
In the winter time, when the snow lay thick upon the ground,
And the rivers far and near were frozen all around.
So away went Dick to the wedding as fast as he could go,
Walking cautiously along o’er the crisp and crackling snow,
And the path was a narrow one, the greater part of the way
Through a dark forest, which filled his heart with dismay.
And when hurrying onward, not to be late at the festival,
He heard the howl of a wolf, which did his heart appal,
And the howl was answered, and as the howl came near
Poor Old Dick, fiddle in hand, began to shake with fear.
And as the wolves gathered in packs from far and near,
Old Dick in the crackling bushes did them hear,
And they ran along to keep pace with him,
Then poor Dick began to see the danger he was in.
And every few minutes a wolf would rush past him with a snap,
With a snapping sound like the ring of a steel trap,
And the pack of wolves gathered with terrible rapidity,
So that Dick didn’t know whether to stand or flee.
And his only chance, he thought, was to keep them at bay
By preserving the greatest steadiness without dismay,
Until he was out of the forest and on open ground,
Where he thought a place of safety might be found.
He remembered an old hut stood in the clearing,
And towards it he was slowly nearing,
And the hope of reaching it urged him on,
But he felt a trifle dispirited and woe-begone.
And the poor fellow’s heart with fear gave a bound,
When he saw the wolves’ green eyes glaring all around,
And they rushed at him boldly, one after another,
Snapping as they passed, which to him was great bother.
And Dick sounded his fiddle and tried to turn them back,
And the sound caused the wolves to leap back in a crack,
When Dick took to his heels at full run,
But now poor Dick’s danger was only begun:
For the wolves pursued him without delay,
But Dick arrived at the hut in great dismay,
And had just time to get on the roof and play,
And at the strains of the music the wolves felt gay.
And for several hours he sat there in pain,
Knowing if he stopped playing the wolves would be at him again,
But the rage of the wolves abated to the subduing strains,
And at last he was rewarded for all his pains:
For the wedding-party began to weary for some music,
And they all came out to look for old Dick,
And on top of the hut they found him fiddling away,
And they released him from his dangerous position without delay.