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Page O' Poems  

      The Innkeeper's Song

"There came three ladies at sundown:
one was brown as bread is brown,
one was black, with a sailor's sway,
and one was pale as the moon by day.

The white one wore an emerald ring,
the brown led a fox on a silver string,
and the black one carried a rosewood cane
with a sword inside, for I saw it plain.

They took my own room, they barred the door,
they sang songs I never had heard before.
My cheese and mutton they did destroy,
and they called for wine, and the stable boy.

And once they quarreled and twice they cried--
Their laughter blazed through the countryside,
The ceiling shook and the plaster flew,
and the fox ate my pigeons, all but two.

They rode away with the morning sun,
the white like a queen, the black like a nun,
and the brown one singing with scarlet joy,
and I'll have to get a new stable boy."

--Peter S. Beagle, from the novel The Innkeeper's Song