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My Shadow

By Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) / May 9, 1995



I have a little shadow that goes in and out with me,

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And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.

He is very, very like me from the heels up to the head;

And I see him jump before me, when I jump into my bed.

The funniest thing about him is the way he likes to grow

Not at all like proper children, which is always very slow;

For he sometimes shoots up taller than an India-rubber ball,

And he sometimes gets so little that there's none of him at all.

He hasn't got a notion of how children ought to play,

And can only make a fool of me in every sort of way,

He stays so close beside me, he's a coward you can see;

I'd think shame to stick to nurse as that shadow sticks to me!

One morning, very early, before the sun was up,

I rose and found the shining dew on every buttercup;

But my lazy little shadow, like an arrant sleepy-head,

Had stayed at home behind me and was fast asleep in bed.