4

Once upon a summer in the hills by the river
Was a deep green forest where the wild things grow.
There were paths as ...?....?
There were ...?...?...?
And a thousand little spaces where the sky looked through

Deep inside the forest where the moss was soft as velvet
And the ..?..?..? dusky risky as could be
Where the days were full of shadows
And the nights were full of darkness
Was a deep old hollow tree

Does anyone recognise this poem?

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This is from Honey Bear (1923) by Dixie Willson, a narrative poem about “a big black bear” who steals a “cosy, rosy, baby” and takes it away into the forest. The stanzas your mother remembered are:

Once upon a summer in the hills by the river
Was a deep green forest where the wild things grew.
There were caves as dark as midnight—there were tangled trees and thickets
And a thousand little places where the sky looked through.

Now ’way inside the forest where the path was lost in nothing
And the moss was soft as velvet—dusky, rusky as could be,
Where the day was full of shadows, and the night was full of darkness
And nobody ever found it—was a big old hollow tree!

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