Little Bo-peep has lost her
And doesn't know where to find them
Let them alone, and they'll come home,
Bringing their tails behind them.
Little Bo-peep fell fast
And dreamt she heard them bleating
But when she awoke, she found it a joke,
For still they all were fleeting.
Then up she took her
Determined for to find them;
She found them indeed. but it made her heart bleed,
For they'd left their tails behind them.
It happen'd one day, as
Bo-peep did stray
Under a meadow hard by,
That she espied their tails, side by side,
All hung on a tree to dry.
She heaved a sigh, and
wiped her eye,
And over the hillocks went stump-o;
And tried as she could, as a shepherdess should,
To tack again each to its rump-o.
The ballad lacks sadly in
particulars, to be sure. How the tails of the entire flock disappeared
in one fell swoop —whether by malice aforethought, at the instance of a
lurking enemy, or in a malicious accident, whilst the young shepherdess
slept at her charge—has never been told, though thousands of wondering
pows, multiplied by ten, have wanted to know. Perhaps it is better not
explained. Mystery is so often just another word for charm.