The Nutcrackers sate by a plate on the table,
The Sugar-tongs sate by a plate at his side;
And the Nutcrackers said, 'Don't you wish we were able
'Along the blue hills and green meadows to ride?
'Must we drag on this stupid existence for ever,
'So idle so weary, so full of remorse,–
'While every one else takes his pleasure, and never
'Seems happy unless he is riding a horse?
'Don't you think we could ride without being instructed?
'Without any saddle, or bridle, or spur?
'Our legs are so long, and so aptly constructed,
'I'm sure that an accident could not occur.
'Let us all of a sudden hop down from the table,
'And hustle downstairs, and each jump on a horse!
'Shall we try? Shall we go! Do you think we are able?'
The Sugar-tongs answered distinctly,'Of course!'
So down the long staircase they hopped in a minute,
The Sugar-tongs snapped, and the Crackers said 'crack!'
The stable was open, the horses were in it;
Each took out a pony, and jumped on his back.
The Cat in a fright scrambled out of the doorway,
The Mice tumbled out of a bundle of hay,
The brown and white Rats, and the black ones from Norway,
Screamed out, 'They are taking the horses away!'
The whole of the household was filled with amazement,
The Cups and the Saucers danced madly about,
The Plates and the Dishes looked out of the casement,
The Saltcellar stood on his head with a shout,
The Spoons with a clatter looked out of the lattice,
The Mustard-pot climbed up the Gooseberry Pies,
The Soup-ladle peeped through a heap of Veal Patties,
And squeaked with a ladle-like scream of surprise.
The Frying-pan said, 'It's an awful delusion!'
The Tea-kettle hissed and grew black in the face;
And they all rushed downstairs in the wildest confusion,
To see the great Nutcracker-Sugar-tong race.
And out of the stable, with screamings and laughter,
(Their ponies were cream-coloured, speckled with brown,)
The Nutcrackers first, and the Sugar-tongs after,
Rode all round the yard, and then all round the town.
They rode through the street, and they rode by the station,
They galloped away to the beautiful shore;
In silence they rode, and 'made no observation',
Save this: 'We will never go back any more!'
And still you might hear, till they rode out of hearing,
The Sugar-tongs snap, and the Crackers say 'crack!'
Till far in the distance their forms disappearing,
They faded away. — And they never came back!