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Title: The Book of Elves and Fairies for Story-Telling and Reading Aloud and for the Children's Own Reading
Author: Olcott, Frances Jenkins
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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produced from images generously made available by The
Internet Archive).--Dedicated to Emmy Miller



Books by Frances Jenkins Olcott

PUBLISHED BY

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY


    THE BOOK OF ELVES AND FAIRIES. Illustrated in color by Milo Winter.

    TALES OF THE PERSIAN GENII. Illustrated in color by Willy Pogany.

    THE RED INDIAN FAIRY BOOK. Illustrated in color by Frederick
      Richardson.

    BIBLE STORIES TO READ AND TELL. Illustrated in color by Willy
      Pogany.

    GOOD STORIES FOR GREAT HOLIDAYS. Illustrated.

    STORY-TELLING POEMS.

    THE CHILDREN’S READING.


  _With Amena Pendleton_

    THE JOLLY BOOK FOR BOYS AND GIRLS.



  THE BOOK OF ELVES
  AND FAIRIES


[Illustration: “THIS IS MAB, THE MISTRESS FAIRY” (_page_ 209)]



  THE BOOK OF
  ELVES AND FAIRIES

  _FOR STORY-TELLING AND READING ALOUD
  AND FOR THE CHILDREN’S OWN READING_


  BY

  FRANCES JENKINS OLCOTT

  WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY MILO WINTER

  [Illustration]

  BOSTON AND NEW YORK
  HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY
  The Riverside Press Cambridge
  1918



  COPYRIGHT, 1918, BY FRANCES JENKINS OLCOTT

  ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


  _Published October 1918_



TO
THEODORE OLCOTT PHILLIPS


  “_Good luck befriend thee, son; for, at thy birth,
  The FAIRY LADIES danced upon the hearth;
  The drowsy nurse hath sworn she did them spy
  Come tripping to the room, where thou didst lie,
  And sweetly singing round about thy bed
  Strew all their blessings on thy sleeping head!_”

                                              MILTON



FOREWORD


Let a child open the covers of this book, and straightway he is in
that land of all delights--Fairy Realm. Here Fairy Godmothers reward
good children, and punish bad ones; here red-capped Little Men yield
up their treasures of gold and magic gifts, while Pixies drop silver
pennies in water-pails, and merry Spriggans and Fays hold nightly
revels in the moonlight. Here, too, a child may dance in Fairy
Rings, or hie away to Elfinland for a year and a day to play with
wonder-children, pick Fairy flowers, listen to Fairy birds, and be fed
on magic goodies.

Old favourites like “Cinderella,” “Toads and Diamonds,” and “Robin
Goodfellow,” may charm the little reader, or other delightful tales,
new to most children, such as “Butterfly’s Diamond” and “Timothy Tuttle
and the Little Imps,” will fascinate as much as do the older tales.
Stories are here from all lands where Fairies thrive--Elfin-lore,
legends, myths, and wonder-tales from China, Japan, the South Seas,
England, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, and Red Indian land, and from many
other Elfin-haunted spots.

And every story is about “Fairies black, grey, green, and white,”
and every one has been selected for delightful humour, fancy, or
ethical teaching. Nearly all have been retold to meet the needs of
story-tellers and to please the children. As far as possible the
language of the originals has been retained and elements that will
terrify little children or teach them that wrong is right, have been
eliminated. The French tales--all but one--have been freshly translated.

A subject index is appended to aid the storyteller in choosing stories
dealing with specific subjects, such as fruits, flowers, seasons,
holidays, trees, also with moral qualities like obedience, thrift,
honesty, and truth-telling.

To impart true Fairy spirit as well as literary flavour, many famous
Fairy poems by Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, Michael Drayton, and other
poets are included; so that the volume forms a collection of the best
Fairy literature, not merely planned to give the children joy, but to
be of real educational value.

“But of what possible educational value are Fairy tales?” asks the
practical parent or teacher.

They are essential in the right development of a child’s mind.
They embody the poetic fancy of the race. They stimulate a child’s
imagination, feed his fancy, and satisfy poetically his groping after
things unseen. His craving for such tales is due to a normal growth of
mind. If he be deprived of Fairy tales in childhood, he is likely, as
an adult, to lack the creative imagination which makes big-visioned
men and women, and leads to success in literature, art, invention,
or in the practical things of business life. There are, of course,
children who do not like Fairy tales, but they are few and far between,
and other forms of literature may be found which will, in part, help
to develop their peculiar type of mentality. But Fairy tales are the
heritage of the normal child, and if he be judiciously fed on them, in
later life he will have a more plastic imagination and be able to enjoy
more fully the beauties of great poetry and other fine literature.

Robert Burns said in a letter to Dr. Moore that in his infant and
boyish days he owed much to an old woman who lived in his family; for
her tales of Brownies, and Fairies, and other wonders “cultivated the
latent seeds of poetry” in the poet’s mind. And even the grave Luther
said, “I would not for any quantity of gold part with the wonderful
tales which I have retained from my earliest childhood, or have met
with in my progress through life.”

Charles Lamb, and Coleridge too, believed heartily in Fairy tales.
“Ought children to be permitted to read romances, and stories of
Giants, Magicians, and Genii?” asked Coleridge. “I know all that has
been said against it; but I have formed my faith in the affirmative.
I know no other way of giving the mind a love of the Great and the
Whole.... I read every book that came in my way without distinction,
and my father was fond of me and used to take me on his knee, and hold
long conversations with me. I remember when eight years old walking
with him one winter evening, ... and he then told me the names of the
stars, and how Jupiter was a thousand times larger than our world,
and that the other twinkling stars were suns that had worlds rolling
round them; and when I came home he showed me how they rolled round.
I heard him with a profound delight and admiration, but without the
least mixture of wonder or incredulity. For from my early reading of
Fairy tales and about Genii, and the like, my mind had been habituated
to _the Vast_; and I never regarded _my senses_ in any way as the
_criteria_ of my belief.”

Such, then, is the educational mission of the Fairy tale, not only
to give pure joy, but to enlarge the mind. And as childhood is the
only time when this miracle takes place in its completeness, every
child who so desires should be allowed to wander at will in the land
of imaginative delights, where the King of Fairy Poets, Shakespeare,
loved to wander as a child and as a man. In “The Plea of the Midsummer
Fairies” that benign shape answers grisly Time who would cut down “all
the assembled Fays”:--

  “_These be the pretty Genii of the flow’rs,
  Daintily fed with honey and pure dew--
  Midsummer’s phantoms in her dreaming hours,
  King Oberon, and all his merry crew,
  The darling puppets of romance’s view;
  Fairies, and Sprites, and Goblin Elves we call them,
  Famous for patronage of lovers true;--
  No harm they act, neither shall harm befall them,
  So do not thus with crabbed frowns appall them._

         *       *       *       *       *

  “_Likewise to them are Poets much beholden
  For secret favours in the midnight glooms;
  Brave Spenser quaff’d out of their goblets golden,
  And saw their tables spread of prompt mushrooms,
  And heard their horns of honeysuckle blooms
  Sounding upon the air, most soothing soft,
  Like humming bees busy about the brooms,--
  And glanced this fair Queen’s witchery full oft,
  And in her magic wain soared far aloft._

         *       *       *       *       *

  “_’Twas they first school’d my young imagination
  To take its flights like any new-fledged bird,
  And show’d the span of wingèd meditation
  Stretched wider than things grossly seen or heard.
  With sweet swift Ariel how I soar’d and stirred
  The fragrant blooms of spiritual bow’rs!
  ’Twas they endear’d what I have still preferr’d,
  Nature’s blest attributes and balmy pow’rs,
  Her hills and vales and brooks, sweet birds and flow’rs!_”



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Special acknowledgment is here made to the _Saturday Magazine_ of
the _New York Evening Post_ for use of many stories included in this
volume, which I have written for its columns.

Grateful acknowledgment is due also to the following publishers for
material from their books:--

To Messrs. Houghton Mifflin Company, for “The Sick-Bed Elves,” from
_Strange Stories from the Lodge of Leisures_, by George Soulié; “The
Brown Dwarf of Rügen,” by John Greenleaf Whittier; “The Immortal
Fountain,” and “A Little Knight and Little Maid,” by Lucy Larcom.

To Messrs. E. P. Dutton & Co., for “Little Niebla,” from _The Purple
Land_, by W. H. Hudson.

Thanks are due to Mrs. Anna Todd Paddock for “Timothy Tuttle and the
Little Imps,” and to Miss Julia Fish for the French stories specially
translated for this volume.

                                                                  F.J.O.



CONTENTS


  THE FAIRIES’ STORY HOUR

    “’TIS THE HOUR OF FAIRY BAN AND SPELL,”
      _Joseph Rodman Drake_                                            2

    COME! COME! TO THE FAIRIES’ STORY HOUR!                            3


  PART ONE

  FAIRY-LORE AND ELFIN LEGENDS

  AROUND! AROUND! IN FAIRY RINGS!

    “IN THE GLOWING LIGHT OF A SUMMER SKY,” _William Jones_            8

    ADVENTURES OF ROBIN GOODFELLOW, _Old English_                      9

    THE POTATO SUPPER, _Irish_                                        15

    THE MILK-WHITE CALF AND THE FAIRY RING, _Irish_                   20

    THE WOOD-LADY, _Bohemian_                                         26

    THE DANCE OF THE FAIRIES, _From The Maydes Metamorphosis_ (1600)  32


  ELFIN MOUNDS AND FAIRY HILLS

    “’TIS THE MIDNIGHT HOUR”                                          34

    MONDAY! TUESDAY! _Irish_                                          35

    THE GREEDY OLD MAN, _Cornish_                                     39

    LEGEND OF BOTTLE HILL, _Irish_                                    44

    THE BROWN DWARF, _John Greenleaf Whittier_                        53


  LITTLE MEN AND TREASURES OF GOLD

    “AND WILL YOU COME AWAY, MY LAD?”                                 62

    THE BOY WHO FOUND THE POTS OF GOLD, _Irish_                       63

    THE RAGWEED, _Irish_                                              66

    THE BAD BOY AND THE LEPRECHAUN, _Irish_                           70

    TOM AND THE KNOCKERS, _Cornish_                                   73

    THE KNOCKERS’ DIAMONDS, _Cornish_                                 77

    SKILLYWIDDEN, _Cornish_                                           79

    THE LEPRECHAUN, OR FAIRY SHOEMAKER, _William Allingham_           84


  GLAD LITTLE, SAD LITTLE, BAD LITTLE ELVES

    “SAINT FRANCIS AND SAINT BENEDICT,” _William Cartwright_ (1635?)  90

    LITTLE REDCAP, _Irish_                                            91

    THE CURMUDGEON’S SKIN, _Irish_                                    97

    JUDY AND THE FAIRY CAT, _Irish_                                  103

    THE BOGGART, _English_                                           105

    OWNSELF, _English_                                               107

    THE SICK-BED ELVES, _Chinese_                                    109

    HOW PEEPING KATE WAS PISKEY-LED, _Cornish_                       111

    ONE-EYED PRYING JOAN’S TALE, _Cornish_                           121

    THE FAIRY FOLK, _William Allingham_                              128


  FAIRY SERVANTS IN THE HOUSE

    “THEIR DWELLINGS BE,” _From the Hierarchie of the Blessed
      Angells_ (1635)                                                132

    THE FAIRY’S SERVANTS, _Basque_                                   133

    THE PIXIES, _English_                                            138

    THE BROWNIE OF BLEDNOCH, _Scottish_                              142

    ELSA AND THE TEN ELVES, _Swedish_                                145

    PISKEY FINE! AND PISKEY GAY! _Cornish_                           149

    THE FAIRY WEDDING, _Swedish_                                     151

    THE TOMTS, _Swedish_                                             155

    SONG OF THE ELFIN MILLER, _Allan Cunningham_                     157


  FAYS OF WATER, WOOD, AND MEADOW

    “OVER HILL, OVER DALE,” _Shakespeare_                            160

    KINTARO THE GOLDEN BOY, _Japanese_                               161

    THE FLOWER FAIRIES, _Chinese_                                    166

    THE FAIRY ISLAND, _Cornish_                                      169

    THE FOUR-LEAVED CLOVER, _Cornish_                                171

    THE GILLIE DHU, _Scottish_                                       174

    HOW KAHUKURA LEARNED TO MAKE NETS, _New Zealand_                 176

    ECHO, THE CAVE FAIRY, _From the Island of Mangaia_               179

    THE ISLES OF THE SEA FAIRIES, _Mary Howitt_                      182


  AWAY! AWAY! TO FAIRYLAND

    “BUT WE THAT LIVE IN FAIRYLAND,” _Old Ballad_                    188

    THE MAGIC FERNS, _Cornish_                                       189

    THE SMITH AND THE FAIRIES, _Scottish_                            194

    THE COAL-BLACK STEED, _English_                                  198

    THE GIRL WHO WAS STOLEN BY THE FAIRIES, _Irish_                  201

    THE GIRL WHO DANCED WITH THE FAIRIES, _Irish_                    203

    ELIDORE AND THE GOLDEN BALL, _Welsh_                             206

    AT THE COURT OF FAIRYLAND, _Selections from  Ben Jonson,
      Michael Drayton, Joseph Rodman Drake, Shakespeare,
      and Old Ballads_                                               209


  PART TWO

  FAIRY STORIES

  FAIRY GODMOTHERS AND WONDERFUL GIFTS

    “RAP! RAP! RAP!”                                                 220

    CINDERELLA, _Charles Perrault_                                   221

    SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD, _Charles Perrault_                  231

    PRINCE CHÉRI, _Madame Le Prince de Beaumont_                     239

    TOADS AND DIAMONDS, _Charles Perrault_                           254

    BLANCHE AND ROSE, _Madame Le Prince de Beaumont_                 258

    THE ENCHANTED WATCH, _Jean Macé_                                 264

    QUEEN MAB, _Thomas Hood_                                         276


  FAIRY ADVENTURES

    “A LITTLE KNIGHT AND LITTLE MAID,” _Lucy Larcom_                 280

    FAIRY DO-NOTHING AND GIANT SNAP-’EM-UP, _Catherine Sinclair_     281

    TIMOTHY TUTTLE AND THE LITTLE IMPS, _Dr. John Todd_              290

    BUTTERFLY’S DIAMOND, _Lydia Maria Child_                         304

    LITTLE NIEBLA, _W. H. Hudson_                                    312

    LITTLE TINY, _Hans Christian Andersen_                           319

    THE IMMORTAL FOUNTAIN, _Lydia Maria Child_                       337

    THE STORY OF CHILDE CHARITY, _Frances Browne_                    348

    THE SHINING CHILD AND THE WICKED MOUCHE, _Adapted_               361

    MABEL ON MIDSUMMER DAY, _Mary Howitt_                            400


  FAREWELL! FAREWELL! DEAR FAIRIES

    “OH! WHERE DO FAIRIES HIDE THEIR HEADS?” _Thomas Haynes Bayly_   412

    THE FAIRIES’ PASSAGE, _James Clarence Mangan_                    413

    OLD WINTER’S FAIRYLAND, _Anonymous_                              418


  SUBJECT INDEX FOR STORY-TELLERS                                    423



ILLUSTRATIONS


  “THIS IS MAB, THE MISTRESS FAIRY”                       _Frontispiece_

  “DERMOD GAZED AT THEM IN WONDER”                                    18

  “SHE SAW A WHOLE TROOP OF SPRIGGANS HOLDING AN ELFIN FAIR”         118

  “CHILDE CHARITY CAME OUT AND ASKED THE OLD WOMAN TO TAKE HER
    SHARE OF THE SUPPER”                                             350



THE FAIRIES’ STORY HOUR



  “_’Tis the hour of Fairy ban and spell;
  The wood-tick has kept the minutes well;
  He has counted them all with click and stroke,
  Deep in the heart of the mountain oak,
  And he has awakened the sentry Elve
    Who sleeps with him in the haunted tree,
  To bid him ring the hour of twelve,
    And call the Fays to their revelry;
  Twelve small strokes on his tinkling bell--
  (’Twas made of the white snail’s pearly shell:--)
  Midnight comes, and all is well!
  Hither, hither, wing your way!
  ’Tis the dawn of the Fairy day_.”

                                JOSEPH RODMAN DRAKE



COME! COME! TO THE FAIRIES’ STORY HOUR!

IN THE MOONLIT MEADOW


Fairies! Fairies everywhere! Hear them come! See them come in the pale
moonlight to this lovely meadow! They rush through the air; they throng
from the wood; they spring up from the ground; they peep from the
flowers and leaves. They are all hastening to the Fairies’ Story Hour.
The Midsummer moon is shining, shining; while the Midsummer breeze is
swaying, swaying the harebells, lilies, and grasses.

Laughter! whisper! Laughter! whisper! See, through the air comes
gliding a whole host of radiant little Fairies. They poise lightly on
their silvery wings, and float down to the harebells and lilies. They
flicker over the meadow like gay butterflies. Laughter! whisper!

Hum! whirr! Hum! whirr! What is that noise in the tree-tops? From among
the dark leaves fly hundreds and hundreds of broad-backed beetles,
bumping and thumping each other. They are followed by a silent cloud of
bats, that wheel and whirl, and flap their leathery wings. And to the
back of every beetle and every bat clings a tiny roguish Elf peeping
down at the meadow below.

Rap! tack! tack! Rap! tack! tack! From behind each tree-trunk steps a
little Leprechaun as big as your thumb. They are the Fairy Shoemakers.
Their long beards and red caps wag in the moonlight; and the little
men smile and chuckle to themselves, for well they know where the pots
of Fairy Gold are hidden. Near them, peering from behind stones and
bushes, are the Curmudgeons, rolling their mischievous eyes.

Skip! skip! Knock! knock! What have we here? From out of the earth
pours a swarm of little Spriggans and Pixies gaily dressed, and
Knockers with their tiny hammers in their tiny hands. They have left
the meadows and moors; they have left the mines of tin and copper, and
the diamond caves, to come to the Fairies’ Story Hour. How they hustle,
how they bustle, out of the earth!

Gallop-a-trot! Gallop-a-trot! What comes from the wood? A long line of
prancing goats and house-cats! And on the back of each is a House-Elf,
to be sure! The Brownies, the Boggarts, the Tomts, the Piskeys, are all
there. They have left their snug corners in human homes; they have left
cellars, barns, and threshing-floors; they have left bowls of clubbered
cream on warm hearthstones, to come to the Fairies’ Story Hour. And
who is this that lights their way with a Will-o’-the-Wisp lantern? ’Tis
Robin Goodfellow, freakish Elf! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Sing! cling! Sing! cling! What are these that come sailing through the
air? Mother-of-pearl boats with coral masts and sails of sea-lace! Each
little boat is crowded with Sea-Queens and Water-Fairies. Their green
hair is long and flowing, and their robes are of rainbow spray. And
near them, astride frisky sea-horses, are the Kelpies, blowing loudly
on their conch-shell trumpets. And each Kelpie is armed with a shield
of pearl and a sword-fish weapon. They have all left the foaming green
waves and the pink coral palaces to come to the Fairies’ Story Hour.

Now! Listen! Listen! The harebells and lilies are ringing sweet music,
while from meadow flowers and acorn-cups and forest nuts tumble lazy,
sleepy Elves rubbing their eyes, and hastening to join the others at
the Fairies’ Story Hour.

The harebells and lilies ring louder and louder. And from out the cool
wood step King Oberon and Queen Mab, with all their Fairy train that
glitters in the moonshine like a long string of jewels.

The royal train advances into the middle of the meadow. The King and
Queen seat themselves on a throne of moss. At their left is capering
Puck mowing and mouthing; at their right, Ariel the sweetest singer.
All present bow themselves before the throne.

See! Queen Mab raises her wand, and each little Elf and Fairy scurries
and hurries to make himself comfortable. Some sway on the blades of
grass; others climb the flower stalks and curl up inside the fragrant
blossoms; while still others swing and rock in the trees, or nestle
among the ferns and under toadstool umbrellas.

Every wee Elf, and every tiny Fairy, and every little Imp, from all the
world over, is here. Indeed, all the members of the entire Fairy Family
are present except the human-sized ones. They are too busy to come.
The Elfin Princes are searching cottages and palaces for mortal brides
to carry off to Fairyland. The Elfin nurses are leaving Changelings
in babies’ cradles; while the Fairy Godmothers are far away bestowing
wonderful gifts on good children, and punishing bad ones.

Look! Look! Queen Mab waves her wand! The Fairies’ Story Hour is
beginning. All is hushed.

Listen now to the Fairy tales.



PART ONE

FAIRY-LORE AND ELFIN LEGENDS



_Around! Around! in Fairy Rings_



  _In the glowing light of a Summer sky,
    When the fields are clad in green.
  Oft in their midst, with a sunnier dye,
    May the Fairies’ Ring be seen!
  ’Tis a circle formed by the tiny feet
    Of the Elves, as they dance around:
  When the moon rides high it is there they meet,
    And merrily tread the ground!_

                                    WILLIAM JONES



ADVENTURES OF ROBIN GOODFELLOW

_From Merry England_


HOW ROBIN GOODFELLOW WAS BORN

Once upon a time, when men did eat more and drink less, when men did
know no knavery, there were wont to walk many harmless sprites called
Fairies, dancing in brave order in Fairy Rings on green hills, to sweet
music. These sprites would make themselves invisible, and many mad
pranks would they play, pinching careless housemaids black and blue,
and turning ill-kept houses topsy-turvy. But lovingly they would use
neat housemaids, giving them silver and other pretty toys which they
left in the maids’ shoes and pockets, or in bright kitchen pans.

Now, in those Fairy days there was born on earth a tiny Elfin boy
whom folk called Robin Goodfellow. And wonderful were the gifts from
Fairyland that came to Robin when he was a baby. In his room suddenly
would appear rich embroidered cushions, delicate linen garments, and
all sorts of delicious things to eat and drink. So he was never in want.

Now, when Robin was grown to six years, he was so mischievous that the
neighbours all complained of his pranks until he was forced to run away.

He wandered about until he began to get hungry; then, going to a
tailor, he took service with him. He remained there until he grew so
mischievous that he was obliged to run away again.


HOW HE RECEIVED A MESSAGE FROM FAIRYLAND

After he had travelled a good day’s journey from the tailor’s house,
he sat down by the wayside and, being weary, fell asleep. No sooner
had he closed his eyes than he fancied he saw tiny beings tripping on
the grass before him, to the sound of sweet music. And when he awoke,
he found, to his surprise, a scroll lying near by on which were these
verses, written in letters of gold:--

  “_Robin, my only son and heir,
  For food and drink take thou no care.
  Wish what thou wilt, and thou shalt have
  The power to tease both fool and knave.
  Change when thou wilt thine Elfish shape,
  To horse, or hog, or dog, or ape;
  And scare each idle dirty maid,
  And make all wicked men afraid.
  But love thou those that honest be,
  And help them in necessity._

  “_Do thus, and all the world shall know
  The pranks of Robin Goodfellow.
  If thou’lt observe my just command,
  One day thou shalt see Fairyland._”

Robin, having read this, was very joyful, for he perceived that he
had Fairy power. He straightway wished for something to eat, and it
appeared before him. Then he wished himself a horse, and no sooner did
he say so than he became a handsome colt, curveting and leaping about.
He wished himself a dog, and was one. After that he turned himself
into any shape he liked. Then taking his own form again, he once more
started on his travels.


OF HIS MAD PRANKS--HO! HO! HO!

And from that time forward many were the merry tricks Robin played on
those he met.

Once, seeing a rude and clownish fellow searching for a lost horse,
Robin turned himself into a horse, and led the rude man a chase over
field and briar, until he allowed the man to catch him and mount his
back. Then Robin jumped into a stream and, turning into a fish, swam to
the shore and ran away, laughing, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”--leaving the man to
get out of the water as best he could.

At night Robin often visited farmers’ houses, and helped the neat
housemaids with their work, breaking their hemp, dressing their flax,
and spinning their yarn. One night he came to a house where there was
a good and handsome maid. And while she slept Robin did her work, more
than she could have done in twelve hours. The maid wondered the next
morning to see all done so finely, and that night she watched to see
what would follow.

At twelve of the clock in came Robin and, singing, fell to work
breaking her hemp and doing her spinning, and as he worked he sang a
mad song:--

  “_Within and out, in and out, round as a ball,
    With hither and thither, as straight as a line,
    With lily and germander, and sops of wine,
            With sweetbriar,
            And bonfire,
            And strawberry wire,
            And columbine!_”

The maid, seeing that he had no clothes, pitied him, and the next night
she laid out a little suit that she had cut and sewed during the day.
Robin, coming in, spied the clothes, whereat he started, and said:--

  “_’Tis not your garments new or old
  That Robin loves. I feel no cold.
  Had you left me milk or cream,
  You should have had a pleasant dream,
  Became you left no drop or crumb,
  Robin never more will come._”

And with that he ran out of the door, laughing loudly, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

And many other mad pranks did Robin Goodfellow play. At times he turned
himself into a will-o’-the-wisp, misleading lovers who came over the
heath; at other times he punished knaves and idle maids, or rewarded
good and worthy people. And always he ran laughing, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”


HOW HE DANCED IN THE FAIRY RING

At length Oberon, King of Fairyland, seeing so many honest and
merry tricks, called one night to Robin as he lay sleeping in the
green-wood:--

  “_Robin, my son, come, quickly rise!
  First stretch, then yawn, and rub your eyes.
  For you must go with me to-night
  To dance with Fairy, Elf, and Sprite.
  Come quickly now, my roguish son,
  ’Tis time our sports were well begun._”

Robin, hearing this, woke and rose hastily, and, looking about, saw in
the moonlight King Oberon, and many Fairies with him dressed in green
silk. And all these did welcome Robin Goodfellow into their company.

King Oberon took Robin by the hand and led him a dance. And near by sat
little Tom Thumb, the Fairy piper, no bigger than a plum. His bagpipe
was made of a wren’s quill and the skin of a tiny bug. This pipe made
music so shrill and sweet, that naught might be compared to it.

Then all the Fairies for joy did circle Robin around, and in a ring did
dance about him; and Robin Goodfellow danced in the midst of them, and
sang this song:--

              “_Quick and nimble!
              Quick and nimble!
              Round about little ones!
              In and out, wheel about,
              Run, hop, or amble!_

  “_Elves, Urchins, Goblins all, and little Fairies,
  Who do pinch black and blue, idle maids in dairies,
  Make a ring on the grass, with your quick measures.
  Tom shall play, and I will sing, for all your pleasures._

              “_Quick and nimble!
              Quick and nimble!
              Round about little ones!
              In and out, wheel about,
              Run, hop, or amble!_”

Thus they danced for a good space, then sat themselves down upon the
grass, and the Fairies told Robin of many Elfish tricks and merry
capers; until, the time passing, a shepherd in a field near by blew his
pipes so loudly that he frightened little Tom Thumb.

The Fairies punished the shepherd by the loss of his pipes, so that
they presently broke in his hand, to his great amazement. Hereat Robin
Goodfellow laughed, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

The morning being come, at cock-crow the Fairies hastened away to
Fairyland, where I think they yet remain.



THE POTATO SUPPER

_From Ireland_


Some folk say that the Little People, the Fairies, were once angels
that were cast out of Heaven for their sins. They fell to earth and
grew smaller and smaller. And to-day they dance on moonlit nights in
Fairy Rings, and play all manner of pranks.

Be that as it may, one night a merry troop of them was capering in
the moonshine. On a nice green sward by a river’s bank the little
fellows were dancing hand-in-hand, with their red caps wagging at every
bound. And so light were their feet that the dew trembled, but was not
disturbed. So they danced, spinning around and around, and twirling,
and bobbing, and diving, until one of them chirped:--

  “_Cease! Cease with your humming!
  Here’s an end to your mumming!
          By my smell
          I can tell
  That a Priest is now coming!_”

And away all the Fairies scampered as fast as they could. Some hid
under the green leaves of the Foxglove, their little caps peeping out
like crimson bells. Others crept under the shadow of stones, or beneath
the bank of the river.

And scarcely had they done so, when along came Father Horrigan riding
slowly on his pony. He was thinking to himself that he would end his
journey at the first cabin he came to. And so he did, for soon he
stopped at the little house of Dermod Leary, and, lifting the latch,
walked in with: “A blessing on all here!”

And a welcome guest, you may be sure, was Father Horrigan, for no man
was better loved in all that country. But when Dermod saw him enter,
he was troubled, for he had nothing to offer for supper except some
potatoes that his wife was boiling in a pot over the fire. Then he
remembered that he had set a net in the river. “There’ll be no harm,”
thought he, “in my stepping down to see if anything has been caught.”

So down to the river went Dermod. He found as fine a salmon in the net
as ever jumped from water. But as he was taking it out, the net was
jerked from his hands, and away the salmon went, swimming along as
though nothing had happened.

Dermod looked sorrowfully at the wake that the fish left shining like a
line of silver in the moonlight.

“May bitter luck attend you night and day!” cried he, shaking his fist.
“Some evil thing sure it was that helped you, for did I not feel it
pull the net out of my hand!”

“You’re all wrong, Dermod! There were a hundred or more of us pulling
against you!” squeaked a little voice near his feet, and the whole
troop of Fairies--hundreds and hundreds of them--came rushing from
their hiding-places, and stood before him, their red caps nodding
violently.

Dermod gazed at them in wonder; then one of the Fairies said:--

“Make yourself noways uneasy about the Priest’s supper, Dermod Leary.
If you will go back and ask him one question for us, there’ll be as
fine a supper spread before him in no time, as ever was put on table.”

“I’ll have nothing to do with you at all, at all!” answered Dermod; “I
know better than to sell my soul to the likes of you!”

But the little Fairy was not to be repulsed. “Will you ask the Priest
just one civil question for us, Dermod?” said he.

Dermod considered for a moment. “I see no objection,” said he, “to the
same. But I’ll have nothing to do with your supper, mind that!”

The Little People all crowded near him, while the Fairy answered:--

“Go and ask Father Horrigan to tell us whether our souls will be saved
at the Last Day. And, if you wish us well, Dermod Leary, you will bring
the word that he says.”

Away went Dermod to his cabin.

“Please, your reverence,” said he to Father Horrigan, “may I make bold
to ask your honour a question?”

“What is it?” said Father Horrigan.

“Why, then,” said Dermod, “will the souls of the Little People be saved
at the Last Day?”

“Who bids you ask that question, Leary?” said Father Horrigan, fixing
his eyes sternly on Dermod.

“I’ll tell no lies about the matter, nothing in life but the truth,”
answered Dermod. “’Twas the Little People themselves who sent me. They
are in thousands down on the bank of the river waiting for your word.”

“Go back,” said Father Horrigan, “and tell them that if they want to
know they must come here to me themselves, and I’ll answer that and any
other question.”

So back Dermod hurried to the river. The Fairies came swarming around
him. They pressed close to his feet, with faces upturned as they
anxiously waited. And Dermod, brave man that he was, spoke out boldly
and gave them the Priest’s message. And when they heard that, the whole
multitude of little Fairies uttered shrill cries and groans; and they
whisked past Dermod in such numbers that he was quite bewildered. Then
in a trice he found himself alone.

[Illustration: “DERMOD GAZED AT THEM IN WONDER”]

He went slowly back to his cabin. He opened the door. The fire was
burning brightly. The candles were lighted. And good Father Horrigan
was seated comfortably at the table, a pitcher of new milk before him,
and a bit of fresh butter, from Dermod’s cow. And Dermod’s wife was
handing him a big, handsome potato, whose white, mealy insides were
bursting through its skin, and smoking like a hard-ridden horse on a
frosty night.

Dermod sat down at the table, and began to eat without a word. And when
Father Horrigan was through the good Priest smacked his lips, and said
that he had relished the hot tasty potatoes, more than a dozen fat
salmon, and a whole Fairy feast!



THE MILK-WHITE CALF AND THE FAIRY RING

_From Ireland_


In Tipperary is one of the most singularly shaped hills in the world.
It has a peak at the top like a conical nightcap. On this very peak,
long years ago, a herdsman spent his nights and days watching the herd.
Now, the hill was ancient Fairy ground, and the Little People were
angry that the scene of their light and airy gambols should be trampled
by the rude hoofs of bulls and cows. The lowing of the cattle sounded
sad in their ears. So the Queen of the Fairies determined to drive away
the herdsman.

One night the moon shone brightly on the hill. The cattle were lying
down. The herdsman, wrapped in his mantle, was watching the twinkling
stars, when suddenly there appeared before him a great horse with the
wings of an eagle, and the tail of a dragon. This beast hissed loudly
and spat fire, and, while the herdsman was looking on, half dead with
fright, it turned into a little old man, lame of leg, with a bull’s
head around which flames were playing.

The next moment the little old man changed into a huge ape, with duck’s
feet, and a turkey-cock’s tail. And then the Queen of the Fairies--for
of course it was she--roared, neighed, hissed, bellowed, howled, and
hooted so fearfully that the poor herdsman in terror covered his head
with his mantle. But it was of no use, for with one puff of wind she
blew away the fold of his mantle, let him hold it never so tightly. As
for the poor man, he could not stir or close his eyes, but was forced
to sit there gazing at this terrible sight until his hair lifted his
hat half a foot from his head, and his teeth chattered so that they
almost fell out of his mouth.

Meanwhile the frightened cattle scampered about like mad, as if bitten
by fleas, and so they continued to do until the sun rose. Then the
Fairy Queen disappeared.

Night after night, the same thing happened, and the cattle went mad.
Some fell into pits, or tumbled into the river and were drowned. By
and by, not a herdsman was willing to tend the cattle at night. The
farmer who owned the hill offered triple and quadruple wages, but not
a man was found who would face the terrors of the Fairy Ring. The herd
gradually thinned, and the Fairies, on moonlit nights, danced and
gambolled as merrily as before, sipping dew-drops from acorn-cups, and
spreading their feasts on the heads of mushrooms.

Now, there dwelt in that part of the country a man named Larry
Hoolahan, who played on the pipes better than any other player within
fifteen parishes. A dashing, roving blade was Larry, and afraid of
nothing. One day the farmer met him, and told him all his misfortunes.

“If that is what ails you,” said Larry, “make your mind easy. Were
there as many Fairies on the hill as there are potato-blossoms in
Tipperary, I would face them. It would be a queer thing, indeed, if I,
who was never afraid of a proper man, should turn my back on a Fairy
not the bigness of one’s thumb!”

“Larry,” said the farmer, “do not talk so bold, for you know not who is
hearing you! But, if you make your words good, and watch my herds for
a week on top of the hill, your hand shall be free of my dish till the
sun has burnt itself down to the bigness of a farthing rushlight!”

The bargain was struck, and Larry went to the hill-top when the moon
was beginning to peep over its brow. He took his seat on a big stone
under a hollow of the hill, with his back to the wind, and pulled out
his pipes.

He had not played long when the voices of the Fairies were heard upon
the blast like a low stream of music. Presently they burst into a loud
laugh, and Larry could plainly hear one say:--

“What! Another man upon the Fairies’ Ring! Go to him, Queen, and make
him repent of his rashness!”

And away they flew, and Larry felt them pass by his face like a swarm
of midges. Looking up hastily he saw, between the moon and him, a great
black cat, standing on the very tip of its claws, with its back up, and
mewing with a voice like a water-mill.

Presently it swelled up toward the sky, and, turning round on its left
hind leg, whirled till it fell to the ground. Then it started up in the
shape of a salmon with a cravat round its neck, and wearing a pair of
new top-boots.

“Go on, my jewel!” said Larry. “If you dance, I’ll pipe,” and he struck
up.

But the Queen of the Fairies--for of course it was she--turned into
this and that and the other; but still Larry played on, as well as he
knew how. At last she lost patience, and changed herself into a calf,
milk-white as the cream of Cork, and with eyes as mild as those of a
loving girl.

She came up gentle and fawning, hoping to throw him off his guard, and
then to work him some wrong. But Larry was not so deceived, for when
she came near, dropping his pipes, he leaped on her back.

Now, from the top of the hill, as you look westward, you may see the
broad river Shannon, full ten miles away. On this night its waters
shone beautifully under the moon, and no sooner had Larry leaped on the
back of the Fairy Queen than she sprang from the hill-top, and bounded
clear at one jump, over the Shannon. It was done in a second; and, when
she alighted on the distant bank, she kicked up her heels, and flung
Larry on the soft turf.

No sooner was Larry thus planted than he looked her straight in the
face, and cried out:--

“By my word, well done! That was not a bad leap, _for a calf_!”

She gazed at him for a moment, and then, assuming her own shape, said:--

“Larry Hoolahan, you are a bold fellow! Will you go back the way you
came?”

“And that’s what I will!” said he, “if you’ll let me!”

So she changed to a calf again, and Larry got on her back. At another
bound they were standing inside the Fairy Ring.

Then the Queen, once more assuming her own shape, addressed him.

“You have shown so much courage, Larry Hoolahan,” said she, “that
while you keep herds on this hill, you shall not be molested by me or
mine. The day dawns. Go down to the farmer, and tell him this. And, if
anything I can do will be of service to you, ask and you shall have it.”

She vanished accordingly, and kept her word in never visiting the hill
during Larry’s lifetime; but he never troubled her with requests.
He piped, and ate and drank at the farmer’s expense, and roosted in
the chimney-corner, occasionally casting an eye on the herd. He died
at last; and is buried in a green valley of pleasant Tipperary. But
whether the Fairies returned to the hill after his death is more than I
can say.



THE WOOD-LADY

_From Bohemia_


Once upon a time there was a little girl named Betty. Her mother was a
widow and very poor, and owned only a tumble-down house and two goats.
Nevertheless, Betty was always cheerful. From Spring to Autumn she
pastured the goats in the birch wood. Every morning when she left home,
her mother gave her a little basket in which were a slice of bread and
a spindle.

“My child,” she said, “work hard to-day and fill the spindle before you
return.”

And, as Betty had no distaff, she wound the flax around her head, took
the basket, and, with a skip and a jump, led her goats to the birch
wood. There she sat under a tree and drew fibres of the flax from her
head with her left hand, and let down the spindle with her right,
so that it just hummed over the ground. And all the while she sang
merrily, and the goats nibbled the green grass.

When the sun showed that it was midday she put aside her work, called
her goats, and, after giving them each a morsel of bread, bounded into
the wood to look for strawberries. When she came back she ate her
fruit and bread, and, folding her hands, danced and sang. The goats,
enjoying themselves among the green grass, thought: “What a merry
shepherdess we have!” After her dance, she spun again. And at evening
she drove her goats home, and her mother never had to scold her for
bringing the spindle back empty.

One lovely Spring day, just as Betty sprang up to dance,
suddenly--where she came, there she came!--a beautiful maiden stood
before her. She wore a white dress as thin as gossamer, golden hair
flowed to her waist, and on her head was a garland of wood flowers.
Betty was struck dumb with astonishment.

The maiden smiled at her, and said in a very sweet voice:--

“Betty, are you fond of dancing?”

When the maiden spoke so prettily, Betty’s terror quitted her, and she
answered:--

“Oh! I should like to dance all day!”

“Come, then, let us dance together. I will teach you,” said the maiden.

And she took Betty by the waist, and began to dance with her.

As they circled, such delicious music sounded over their heads that
Betty’s heart skipped within her. The musicians sat on branches of the
birches. They were clad in black, ash-coloured, and variegated coats.
They were choice musicians who had come together at the call of the
beautiful maiden--nightingales, larks, linnets, goldfinches, thrushes,
blackbirds, and a very skillful mocking-bird. Betty’s cheeks flamed,
her eyes glittered, she forgot her task and her goats. She could only
gaze at her partner, who whirled her around with the most charming
movements, and so lightly that the grass did not bend beneath her
delicate weight.

They danced from noon till eve, and Betty’s feet were neither weary nor
sore. Then the beautiful maiden stopped, the music ceased, and as she
came, so she went, and she vanished as if the earth had swallowed her.

Betty looked about. The sun had set. She clapped her hands to the top
of her head, and remembered that her spindle was by no means full. She
took the flax and put it with the spindle into her basket, and drove
the goats home. That night her mother did not ask to see her work.

Next morning Betty again drove the goats to pasture. All happened as
before. Where she came, there she came!--and the beautiful maiden
seized Betty by the waist, and they danced from noon till eve.

Then Betty saw that the sun was setting and her spindle nearly empty,
so she began to cry. But the maiden put her hands to Betty’s head, took
off the flax, and twined it round the stem of a slender birch, and
began to spin. The spindle just swung over the ground. It grew fuller
and fuller, and before the sun set behind the wood, all the yarn was
spun. Giving the full spindle into Betty’s hands, the maiden said:--

  “_Reel and grumble not!
  Reel and grumble not!_”

And as she came, so she went, and she vanished as if the ground had
swallowed her. Betty drove the goats home, and gave her mother the full
spindle.

Well, the next day all happened as before. Where she came, there she
came!--and the beautiful maiden seized Betty by the waist, and they
danced from noon to eve. Then the maiden handed Betty a covered basket,
saying:--

  “_Peep not, but go home!
  Peep not, but go home!_”

And as she came, so she went, and she vanished as if the ground had
swallowed her.

At first Betty was afraid to peep into the basket, but when she was
halfway home, she could not restrain herself. She lifted the cover and
peeped, and, oh! how disappointed she was when she saw that the basket
was full of birch leaves! She began to cry, and threw out two handfuls
of the leaves, and was going to shake them all out of the basket, but
she thought to herself: “They’ll make good litter for the goats.”

When she reached home her mother was waiting for her at the door.

“What sort of a spindle did you bring home to me yesterday?” cried she.
“After you left this morning I began to reel. I reeled and I reeled,
and the spindle remained full. One skein! two skeins! three skeins! and
the spindle was yet full! ‘What evil spirit has spun you?’ grumbled I;
and at that instant the yarn vanished from the spindle. Tell me the
meaning of this.”

So Betty confessed how she had danced with the beautiful maiden who had
given her the full spindle, and who had said: “Reel and grumble not.”

“That was a Wood-Fairy!” cried her mother in astonishment. “About noon
in the Spring-time, the Wood-Ladies dance. Lucky for you that she did
not tickle you to death! It’s a pity that you did not tell me before,
for I might have had a room full of yarn, if I had reeled and grumbled
not.”

Then Betty bethought herself of the basket of leaves. She lifted the
cover and peeped in again.

“Look! Look! Mother!” she cried.

Her mother looked and clapped her hands. The birch leaves were turned
to gold!

“She told me not to peep until I reached home,” said Betty, “but I
disobeyed and threw two handfuls of the leaves away.”

“Lucky for you that you did not throw them all away!” exclaimed her
mother.

The next morning they both went to the place where Betty had thrown
out the leaves, but on the road lay nothing but birch leaves. However,
the gold Betty had brought home was enough to make them rich. Her
mother bought a fine house and garden. They had many cattle. Betty had
handsome clothes, and she did not need to pasture the goats any more.
But though she had everything she desired, nothing gave her so great
delight as the dance with the Wood-Fairy. She often went to the birch
wood hoping to see the beautiful maiden, but she never again set eyes
upon her.



THE DANCE OF THE FAIRIES


    By the moon we sport and play,
    With the night begins our day;
    As we dance, the dew doth fall--
    Trip it, little Urchins all,
    Lightly as the little bee,
    Two by two, and three by three;
    And about go we! And about go we!

    Oh, you must needs dance and sing,
    Which if you refuse to do,
    We will pinch you black and blue;
    And about go we!

  Round about, round about, in a fine ring-a,
  Thus we dance, thus we dance, and thus we sing-a;
  Trip and go, to and fro, over this green-a,
  All about, in and out, for our brave Queen-a.

  We have danced round about, in a fine ring-a,
  We have danced lustily, and thus we sing-a;
  All about, in and out, over this green-a,
  To and fro, trip and go, to our brave Queen-a.

                  _The Maydes Metamorphosis_ (1600)



ELFIN MOUNDS AND FAIRY HILLS



  _’Tis the Midnight Hour!
  The Moon hangs white!
  Mortal beware,
  ’Tis Fairy Night!_

  _From Elfin Mound,
  And Fairy Hill,
  Comes music sweet,
  And laughter shrill!_

  _Mortal beware,
  For Fairy-Spell
  Lies on meadow,
  Wood and dell!_



MONDAY! TUESDAY!

_From Ireland_


There once lived a lad in old Ireland named Lusmore. He had a great
hump on his back, and whenever he sat down he had to rest his chin
on his knee for support. But, in spite of this, he was as happy as a
cricket, and used to go about the country with a sprig of Fairy-cap, or
Foxglove, in his little straw hat. He went from house to house plaiting
baskets out of rushes, and in that way he earned a living. And he was
so merry that people always gave him a penny more than he asked.

One evening, he was returning from a distant town, and as he walked
slowly on account of his hump, it grew dark before he could reach home.
He came to an old mound by the side of the road, and, being tired, sat
down on it to rest.

He had not been sitting there long when he heard strains of music,
and many little voices singing sweetly. He laid his ear to the mound,
and perceived that the music and singing came from inside it. And he
could hear the words that the little voices were chanting over and over
again:--

  “_Monday! Tuesday!
  Monday! Tuesday!
  Monday! Tuesday!_”

It was all so very sweet, that Lusmore listened with delight; but by
and by he grew tired of hearing the same words sung over and over.
He waited politely until the voices had finished their song, then he
called:--

  “_And Wednesday!_”

The Fairies--for it was the singing of Fairies that he heard--were so
pleased with Lusmore’s addition to their words, that they pulled him
right down through the top of the mound with the speed of a whirlwind.
And he went falling and twirling round and round as light as a feather.

He found himself in a palace so bright that it dazzled his eyes. Then
all the Fairies stopped capering and dancing, and came crowding around
him. And one, wearing a crown, stepped forward and said:--

  “_Lusmore! Lusmore!
  The hump that you wore,
  On your back is no more.
  Look down on the floor,
  And see it, Lusmore!_”

And as these words were being said, Lusmore felt himself grow so light
and happy, that he could have bounded up to the moon. And he saw his
hump tumble off his back and roll on the floor. Then the Fairies took
hands, and danced around him, and as they did so he became dizzy and
fell asleep.

When he opened his eyes it was broad daylight, and the sun was shining,
and the birds were singing, and cows and sheep were grazing peacefully
around him. He put his hand to his hump. It was gone! And there he
was, as tall, straight, and handsome as any other lad in Ireland. And,
besides all that, he was dressed in a full suit of beautiful clothes.

He went toward his home stepping out lightly, and jumping high at every
step, so full of joy was he. And as he passed his neighbours, they
hardly knew him without his hump, and because he was so straight and
handsome, and was dressed so finely.

Now, in another village, not far away, lived a lad named Jack Madden.
He also had a great hump on his back. He was a peevish, cunning
creature, and liked to scratch and pinch all who came near him.

When he heard how the Fairies had taken away Lusmore’s hump, he decided
that he, too, would visit them. So one night after darkness had fallen,
he sat down on the mound all alone, and waited. He had not been there
long before he heard the music, and the sweet voices singing:--

  “_Monday! Tuesday!
  Monday! Tuesday!
  Monday! Tuesday!
  And Wednesday!_”

And as he was in a very great hurry to get rid of his hump, he did not
wait for the Fairies to finish their song, but yelled out, thinking
that two days were better than one:--

  “_And Thursday and Friday!_”

No sooner had the words left his lips, than he was taken up quickly,
and whisked through the mound with terrific force. And the Fairies came
crowding around him, screeching and buzzing with anger, and crying
out:--

  “_Our song you have spoiled!
  Our song you have spoiled!
  Our song you have spoiled!_”

Then the one wearing the crown stepped forward, and said:--

  “_Jack Madden! Jack Madden!
  Your words came so bad in,
  That your life we will sadden!
  Here’s two humps for Jack Madden!_”

And quick as a wink, twenty Fairies brought Lusmore’s hump and clapped
it down on Jack Madden’s back, and there it was fixed as firmly as if
nailed on with tenpenny nails.

Then out of the mound they kicked him. And when morning was come, he
crept home with the two humps on his back--and he is wearing them
still.



THE GREEDY OLD MAN

_From Cornwall_


Long ago in Cornwall, on a hillock called “the Gump,” there was a Fairy
Ring. Many a good old man or woman, on moonlit nights, had seen the
Fairies dancing there at their revels, and had been rewarded with gifts
small but rich.

Now, there was one greedy old man, who, having heard his neighbours
tell of the Fairy Gold at the revels, decided to steal some of the
treasure. So on a moonlit night, when all was quiet, he stole softly up
to “the Gump.”

As he drew near he heard delightful music, which seemed to come from
inside the hillock. The notes were now slow and solemn, and now quick
and gay, so that the old man had to weep and laugh in one breath. Then
before he knew it, he began to dance to the Fairy measure. He was
forced by some unseen power to whirl round and round; but in spite of
this he kept his wits about him, and watched to see what would happen.

Suddenly there was a crashing sound, and a door in the hillock opened.
Instantly the old man saw that everything about him was ablaze with
coloured lights. Each blade of grass was hung with tiny bright lamps,
and every tree and bush was illuminated with stars.

Out of the opening in the hillock marched a band of Goblins, as if to
clear the way. Then came a number of Fairy musicians playing on every
kind of musical instrument. These were followed by troop after troop of
Elfin soldiers, carrying waving banners.

The soldiers arranged themselves in two files on either side of the
door; but the Goblins, much to the old man’s disgust, placed themselves
close behind him. As they were no bigger than his thumb, he thought to
himself: “If they bother me, I can easily step on them and crush them
with my foot.”

This vast array having disposed itself, next from the hillock came
a crowd of Elfin servants carrying pitchers of silver and gold, and
goblets cut out of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious
stones. Servants followed bearing aloft gold and silver platters heaped
high with the richest meats, pastries, candies, and glowing fruits. A
number of Elfin boys, clad in crimson, then set out small tables made
of ivory curiously carved, and the servants arranged the feast with
order.

Then out of the hillock came crowding thousands and thousands of
lovely winged Fairies clad in gossamer robes of every colour, like the
rainbow.

The music suddenly changed to low, delicate notes, and the old man
found that he was no longer forced to dance and whirl about. And as he
stood still, the perfume of a thousand rich flowers filled the air, and
the whole vast host of Fairies began to sing a song as clear and sweet
as the tinkle of silver bells.

Then from the hillock issued forth line after line of Elfin boys
dressed in green and gold, and behind them on an ivory throne, borne
aloft by a hundred Fairies, came the King and Queen of Fairyland
blazing with beauty and jewels.

The throne was placed upon the hillock, which immediately bloomed with
lilies and roses. Before the King and Queen was set the most beautiful
of all the little tables laden with gold and silver dishes and precious
goblets. The Fairies took their places at the other tables, and began
to feast with a will.

“Now,” thought the old man, “my time is come! If only I can creep up,
without being seen, to the Fairy King’s table, I shall be able to
snatch enough gold to make me rich for life.”

And with his greedy mind set on this, he crouched down, and began very
slowly to creep toward the throne. But he did not see that thousands of
Goblins had cast fine threads about his body, and were holding the ends
in their hands.

Trembling with greed, the old man crept closer and closer to the Fairy
King and Queen. He took his hat from his head, and raised it carefully
to cover the royal throne and table; and, as he did so, he heard a
shrill whistle. Instantly his hand was fixed powerless in the air.
Then, with a sudden crash, all became dark around him.

“Whirr! Whirr! Whirr!” and he heard as if a flight of bees were
brushing past his ears, and suddenly, his body, from head to foot,
was stabbed with pins and pinched with tweezers. Then he was thrown
violently upon his back with his arms outstretched; and his arms and
legs were fastened to the ground with magic chains. His tongue seemed
tied with cords so that he could not call out.

And as he lay there trembling with fright and pain, he felt as though
swarms of insects were running over him. Then he saw standing on his
nose a grinning Goblin. This little monster stamped and jumped with
great delight; then making a fearful grimace, shouted:--

  “_Away! Away!
  I smell the day!_”

And on this, an army of Goblins, Fairies, and Elves, who were running
up and down the old man’s body, stabbing him with pins, and pinching
him with tweezers, jumped quickly down, and rushed into the hillock;
which closed immediately. And the old man saw the Fairies no more.

At length the sun rose and he found that he was tied to the ground
with a myriad of gossamer webs, which were covered with dew-drops that
glistened like diamonds in the sunlight.

He shook himself free, and got up. Wet, cold, ashamed, and pinched
black and blue, he returned to his home. And you may be sure that he
never again tried to steal the Fairy Gold.



LEGEND OF BOTTLE HILL

_From Ireland_


It was in the good days, when the Little People were more frequently
seen than they are in these unbelieving times, that a farmer, named
Mick Purcell, rented a few acres of barren ground not far from the city
of Cork.

Mick had a wife and seven children. They did all that they could to
get on, which was very little, for the poor man had no child grown big
enough to help him in his work; and all that the poor woman could do
was to mind the children, milk the cow, boil the potatoes, and carry
the eggs to market. So besides the difficulty of getting enough to eat,
it was hard on them to pay the rent.

Well, they did manage to get along for a good while; but at last came
a bad year, and the little field of oats was spoiled, and the chickens
died of the pip, and the pig got the measles, and poor Mick found that
he hadn’t enough to pay half his rent.

“Why, then, Molly,” said he, “what’ll we do?”

“Wisha, then, mavourneen, what would you do but take the cow to the
Fair of Cork, and sell her?” said she. “And Monday is Fair-day, so you
must go to-morrow.”

“And what’ll we do when she’s gone?” said Mick.

“Never a know I know, Mick, but sure God won’t leave us without help.
And you know how good He was to us when little Billy was sick, and
we had nothing at all for him to take--that good doctor gentleman
came riding past and asked for a drink of milk, and he gave us two
shillings, and sent me things and a bottle for the child; and he came
to see Billy and never left off his goodness until he was well.”

“Oh, you are always hopeful, Molly, and I believe you are right, after
all,” Mick said, “so I won’t be sorry for selling the cow. I’ll go
to-morrow, and you must put a needle and thread through my coat, for
you know it’s ripped under the arm.”

Molly told him he should have everything right. And about twelve
o’clock the next day he left her, after having promised not to sell his
cow except for the highest penny.

He drove the beast slowly through a little stream that crossed the road
under the walls of an old fort; and as he passed, he glanced his eyes
on a pile of stones and an old elder tree that stood up sharply against
the sky.

“Oh, then, if only I had half the Fairy money that is buried in yon
fort, ’tisn’t driving this cow I’d be now!” said he aloud.

Then he moved on after his beast. ’Twas a fine day, and the sun shone
brightly, and after he had gone six miles, he came to that hill--Bottle
Hill it is called now, but that was not the name of it then.

“Good morrow, Mick!” said a little voice, and with that a little man
started up out of the hill.

“Good morrow, kindly,” said Mick, and he looked at the stranger who was
like a dwarf with a bit of an old wrinkled face, for all the world like
a dried cauliflower; only he had a sharp red nose, red eyes, and white
hair. His eyes were never quiet, but looked at everything; and it made
Mick’s blood run cold just to see them roll so rapidly from side to
side.

In truth Mick did not like the little man’s company at all, and he
drove his cow somewhat faster; but the little man kept up with him. Out
of the corner of his eye Mick could see that he moved over the road
without lifting one foot after the other; and the poor fellow’s heart
trembled within him.

“Where are you going with that cow, honest man?” said the little man at
last.

“To the Fair of Cork, then,” said Mick, trembling even more at the
shrill and piercing voice.

“Are you going to sell her?” asked the little man.

“Why, then, what else am I going for, but to sell her?”

“Will you sell her to me?”

Mick started. He was afraid to have anything to do with the little man,
but he was more afraid to say no.

“I’ll tell you what, I’ll give you this bottle,” said the little man,
pulling a bottle from under his coat.

Mick looked at him and the bottle, and in spite of his terror he could
not help bursting into a loud fit of laughter.

“Laugh if you will!” said the little man, “but I tell you that this
bottle is better for you than all the money you will get for the cow at
Cork--aye, than ten thousand times as much.”

Mick laughed again. “Why, then,” said he, “do you think I am such
a fool as to give my good cow for a bottle--and an empty one, too!
Indeed, then, I won’t!”

“You’d better give me the cow, and take the bottle--you’ll not be sorry
for it,” said the little man.

“Why, then, what would Molly say? I’d never hear the last of it! And
how should I pay the rent? And what should we do without a penny of
money?”

“When you go home, never mind if your wife is angry,” answered the
little man, “but quiet yourself, and make her sweep the room, and set
the table in the middle of the floor, and spread the best cover on it.
Then put the bottle on the ground, saying these words: ‘Bottle, do your
duty!’ And you will see the end of it.”

“And is this all?” said Mick.

“No more,” said the stranger, forcing the bottle into Mick’s hand. Then
he moved swiftly off after the cow.

Well, Mick, rather sick at heart, retraced his steps toward his cabin,
and as he went he could not help turning his head to look after the
little man; but he had vanished completely.

“He can’t belong to this earth,” exclaimed Mick in horror to himself.
“But where is the cow?” She, too, was gone; and Mick hurried homeward
muttering prayers and holding fast the bottle.

He soon reached his cabin, and surprised his wife sitting over the turf
fire in the big chimney.

“Oh! Mick, are you come back?” said she. “Sure you weren’t at Cork
all the way? What has happened to you? Where is the cow? Did you sell
her? How much money did you get for her? What news have you? Tell us
everything.”

“Why, then, Molly, if you’ll give me time, I’ll tell you all about it!”

“Oh! then, you sold her. Where’s the money?”

“Arrah! stop a while, Molly, and I’ll tell you all about it!”

“But what is that bottle under your waistcoat?” said Molly, seeing its
neck sticking out.

“Why, then, be easy about it,” said Mick, “till I tell it you.” And
putting the bottle on the table, he added, “That’s all I got for the
cow.”

His poor wife was thunderstruck. She sat crying, while Mick told her
his story, with many a crossing and blessing between him and harm.
She could not help believing him, for she had great faith in Fairies.
So she got up, and, without saying a word, began to sweep the earthen
floor with a bunch of heather. Then she tidied everything, and put the
long table in the middle of the room, and spread over it a clean cloth.

And then Mick, placing the bottle on the ground, said: “Bottle, do your
duty!”

“Look! Look there, mammy!” cried his eldest son. “Look there! Look
there!” and he sprang to his mother’s side, as two tiny fellows rose
like light from the bottle; and in an instant they covered the table
with dishes and plates of gold and silver, full of the finest victuals
that ever were seen. And when all was done, the two tiny fellows went
into the bottle again.

Mick and his wife looked at everything with astonishment; they had
never seen such dishes and plates before, and the very sight of them
almost took their appetites away. But at length Molly said:--

“Come and sit down, Mick, and try to eat a bit. Sure, you ought to be
hungry, after such a good day’s work!”

So they all sat down at the table. After they had eaten as much as they
wished, Molly said:--

“I wonder will those two good, little gentlemen carry away these fine
things.”

They waited, but no one came; so Molly put the dishes and plates
carefully aside. The next day Mick went to Cork and sold some of them,
and bought a horse and cart.

Weeks passed by, and the neighbours saw that Mick was making money;
and, though he and his wife did all they could to keep the bottle a
secret, their landlord soon found out about it. Then he took the bottle
by force away from Mick, and carried it carefully home.

As for Mick and his wife, they had so much money left that the loss of
the bottle did not worry them much at first; but they kept on spending
their wealth as if there was no end to it. And to make a long story
short, they became poorer and poorer, until they had to sell their last
cow.

So one morning early, Mick once more drove his cow to the Fair of Cork.
It was hardly daybreak when he left home, and he walked on until he
reached the big hill; and just as he got to its top, and cast his eyes
before and around him, up started the little man out of the hill.

“Well, Mick Purcell,” said he, “I told you that you would be a rich
man!”

“Indeed, then, so I was, that is no lie for you, sir,” replied Mick.
“But it’s not rich I am now! And if you happen to have another bottle,
here is the cow for it.”

“And here is the bottle!” said the little man, smiling. “You know what
to do with it.”

And with that both the cow and the stranger disappeared as they had
done before.

Mick hurried away, anxious to get home with the bottle. He arrived with
it safely enough, and called out to Molly to put the room to rights;
and to lay a clean cloth on the table. Which she did.

Mick set the bottle on the ground, and cried out: “Bottle, do your
duty!”

In a twinkling two great, stout men with two huge clubs, issued from
the bottle, and belaboured poor Mick and his family until they lay
groaning on the floor. Then the two men went into the bottle again.

Mick, as soon as he came to himself, got up and looked around him.
He thought and he thought. He lifted up his wife and children, then
leaving them to recover as best they could, he put the bottle under
his arm, and went to visit his landlord.

The landlord was having a great feast, and when he saw that Mick had
another bottle, he invited him heartily to come in.

“Show us your bottle, Mick,” said he.

So Mick set it on the floor, and spoke the proper words; and in a
moment the landlord tumbled to the floor, and all his guests were
running, and roaring, and sprawling, and kicking, and shrieking, while
the two great, stout men belaboured them well.

“Stop those two scoundrels, Mick Purcell,” shouted the landlord, “or
I’ll hang you!”

“They shall never stop,” said Mick, “till I get my own bottle that I
see on top of yon shelf.”

“Give it to him! Give it to him, before we are killed!” cried the
landlord.

Mick put his old bottle in his bosom. Then the two great, stout men
jumped into the new one, and Mick carried both bottles safely home.

And to make my story short, from that time on Mick prospered. He got
richer than ever, and his son married the landlord’s daughter. And both
Mick and his wife lived to a great old age. They died on the same day,
and at their wake the servants broke both bottles. But the hill has the
name upon it; for so it will always be Bottle Hill to the end of the
world, for this is a strange story.



THE BROWN DWARF


  The pleasant isle of Rügen looks the Baltic water o’er,
  To the silver-sanded beaches of the Pomeranian shore;

  And in the town of Rambin a little boy and maid
  Plucked the meadow-flowers together and in the sea-surf played.

  Alike were they in beauty if not in their degree:
  He was the Amptman’s first-born, the miller’s child was she.

  Now of old the isle of Rügen was full of Dwarfs and Trolls,
  The brown-faced little Earth-men, the people without souls;

  And for every man and woman in Rügen’s island found
  Walking in air and sunshine, a Troll was underground.

  It chanced the little maiden, one morning, strolled away
  Among the haunted Nine Hills, where the Elves and Goblins play.

  That day, in barley fields below, the harvesters had known
  Of evil voices in the air, and heard the small horns blown.

  She came not back; the search for her in field and wood was vain:
  They cried her east, they cried her west, but she came not again.

  “She’s down among the Brown Dwarfs,” said the dream-wives wise and
    old,
  And prayers were made, and masses said, and Rambin’s church bell
    tolled.

  Five years her father mourned her; and then John Deitrich said:
  “I will find my little playmate, be she alive or dead.”

  He watched among the Nine Hills, he heard the Brown Dwarfs sing,
  And saw them dance by moonlight merrily in a ring.

  And when their gay-robed leader tossed up his cap of red,
  Young Deitrich caught it as it fell, and thrust it on his head.

  The Troll came crouching at his feet and wept for lack of it.
  “Oh, give me back my magic cap, for your great head unfit!”

  “Nay,” Deitrich said; “the Dwarf who throws his charmèd cap away,
  Must serve its finder at his will, and for his folly pay.

  “You stole my pretty Lisbeth, and hid her in the earth;
  And you shall ope the door of glass and let me lead her forth.”

  “She will not come; she’s one of us; she’s mine!” the Brown Dwarf
    said;
  “The day is set, the cake is baked, to-morrow we shall wed.”

  “The fell fiend fetch thee!” Deitrich cried, “and keep thy foul tongue
    still.
  Quick! open, to thy evil world, the glass door of the hill!”

  The Dwarf obeyed; and youth and Troll down the long stairway passed,
  And saw in dim and sunless light a country strange and vast.

  Weird, rich, and wonderful, he saw the Elfin under-land,--
  Its palaces of precious stones, its streets of golden sand.

  He came into a banquet-hall with tables richly spread,
  Where a young maiden served to him the red wine and the bread.

  How fair she seemed among the Trolls so ugly and so wild!
  Yet pale and very sorrowful, like one who never smiled!

  Her low, sweet voice, her gold-brown hair, her tender blue eyes seemed
  Like something he had seen elsewhere or something he had dreamed.

  He looked; he clasped her in his arms; he knew the long-lost one;
  “O Lisbeth! See thy playmate--I am the Amptman’s son!”

  She leaned her fair head on his breast, and through her sobs she
    spoke:
  “Oh, take me from this evil place, and from the Elfin folk!

  “And let me tread the grass-green fields and smell the flowers again,
  And feel the soft wind on my cheek and hear the dropping rain!

  “And Oh, to hear the singing bird, the rustling of the tree,
  The lowing cows, the bleat of sheep, the voices of the sea;

  “And Oh, upon my father’s knee to sit beside the door,
  And hear the bell of vespers ring in Rambin church once more!”

  He kissed her cheek, he kissed her lips; the Brown Dwarf groaned to
    see,
  And tore his tangled hair and ground his long teeth angrily.

  But Deitrich said: “For five long years this tender Christian maid
  Has served you in your evil world, and well must she be paid!

  “Haste!--hither bring me precious gems, the richest in your store;
  Then when we pass the gate of glass, you’ll take your cap once more.”

  No choice was left the baffled Troll, and, murmuring, he obeyed,
  And filled the pockets of the youth and apron of the maid.

  They left the dreadful under-land and passed the gate of glass;
  They felt the sunshine’s warm caress, they trod the soft, green grass.

  And when, beneath, they saw the Dwarf stretch up to them his brown
  And crooked claw-like fingers, they tossed his red cap down.

  Oh, never shone so bright a sun, was never sky so blue,
  As hand in hand they homeward walked the pleasant meadows through!

  And never sang the birds so sweet in Rambin’s woods before,
  And never washed the waves so soft along the Baltic shore;

  And when beneath his door-yard trees the father met his child,
  The bells rung out their merriest peal, the folks with joy ran wild.

  And soon from Rambin’s holy church the twain came forth as one,
  The Amptman kissed a daughter, the miller blest a son.

  John Deitrich’s fame went far and wide, and nurse and maid crooned
    o’er
  Their cradle song: “Sleep on, sleep well, the Trolls shall come no
    more!”

  For in the haunted Nine Hills he set a cross of stone;
  And Elf and Brown Dwarf sought in vain a door where door was none.

  The tower he built in Rambin, fair Rügen’s pride and boast,
  Looked o’er the Baltic water to the Pomeranian coast;

  And, for his worth ennobled, and rich beyond compare,
  Count Deitrich and his lovely bride dwelt long and happy there.

                                               _John Greenleaf Whittier_



LITTLE MEN AND TREASURES OF GOLD



  _And will you come away, my lad,
    And search for Fairy-Treasure?
  The pots of gold and diamond-heaps
    Lie buried without measure._

  _And Little Men with wagging beards,
    Guard all with Elfin-spell.
  And you must catch a Little Man;
    Then he the Word will tell,_

  _The Magic Word that opes the hills,
    Unearths the Golden Crocks,
  Uncloses all the Treasure-Caves,
    And breaks the Fairy-Locks!_



THE BOY WHO FOUND THE POTS OF GOLD

_From Ireland_


There was once a poor boy who used to drive his cart along the road,
and sell turf to the neighbours. He was a strange boy, very silent, and
spent his evenings in his little hut, where he lived alone, reading
old bits of books he had picked up in his rambles. And as he read, he
longed to be rich and live in a fine house with a garden all round him,
and to have plenty of books.

Now he once read how the Fairies’ Shoemakers, the Leprechauns--merry,
tricksy little sprites--sit at sunset under the hedges mending the
shoes of Elfin Folk. And how they chuckle as they work, for they know
where the pots of Fairy Gold are hidden.

So, evening after evening, the boy watched the hedges hoping to catch
a glimpse of a little cobbler, and to hear the click-clack of his tiny
hammer.

At last, one evening, just as the sun was setting, the boy saw a little
Leprechaun sitting under a dock-leaf, and working away hard on a small
boot. He was dressed in green and wore a red cap on his head. The boy
jumped down from his cart, and catching the Leprechaun by the neck,
cried merrily:--

“Ho! Ho! My fine little man, you can’t get away until you tell me where
the Fairy Gold is hidden!”

“Easy now!” said the little man, laughing. “Don’t hurt me, and I’ll
tell you all about it. I could harm you, if I wished, for I have the
power; but I like you, and you are an industrious lad. So carry me to
yonder fort, and I’ll show you the gold.”

Carrying the Leprechaun carefully, the boy took a few steps, and found
himself close to the ruins of an old fort. A door opened in a stone
wall, and he walked in.

“Now look around,” said the Leprechaun.

Then the boy saw that the whole ground was covered with gold pieces,
while pots full of gold and silver money stood about in such plenty
that it seemed as if all the riches of the world were there.

“Take what you want,” said the Leprechaun, “and be quick about it; for
if the door shuts you will never leave this place alive.”

The boy hurried, and gathered his arms full of gold and silver, and
hastening out of the door, flung all into the cart. Then he brought out
some of the pots; but when he was on his way back for more, the door
shut with a clap like thunder, and night fell, and all was dark.

The boy saw no more of the Leprechaun; and as he could not even thank
him, he thought that it was best to drive home at once and hide his
treasure.

When he reached his hut, he counted all the bright yellow pieces and
shining silver ones, and found that he was as rich as a king. And
because he was wise, he told no one about his adventure, but the next
day drove to town and put all his money in the bank.

After that he ordered a fine house, and laid out a spacious garden,
and had servants, and carriages, and many books. Then he married the
daughter of a magistrate, and became great and powerful. His memory is
still held in reverence by his townspeople. His descendants are living
rich and happy; and no matter how much they give to the poor, their
wealth always increases.



THE RAGWEED

_From Ireland_


Tom was as clean, clever, and tight looking a lad as any in the whole
county Cork. One fine holiday in harvest-time, he was taking a ramble
and was sauntering along the sunny side of a hedge, when suddenly he
heard a crackling sound among the leaves.

“Dear me!” said he, “but isn’t it really surprising to hear the
stone-chats singing so late in the season!”

And with that he stole along, going on the tips of his toes, to see
if he could get sight of what was making the noise. He looked sharply
under the bushes, and what should he see in a nook in the hedge but a
big brown pitcher holding a gallon or more of dark looking liquor. And
standing close to it was a little, diny, dony bit of an old man as big
as your thumb, with a tiny cocked hat stuck on the top of his head, and
a deesy, daushy, leather apron hanging down before him.

The little old man pulled a little brown stool from under the hedge,
and, standing upon it, dipped a little cup into the pitcher. Then he
took the cup out, full of the brown liquor, and putting it on the
ground, sat down on the stool under the shadow of the pitcher. He
began to put a heel-piece on a bit of a boot just the size for himself.

“Bless my soul!” said Tom to himself, in great surprise, “I’ve often
heard tell of the Leprechauns, but I never rightly believed in them!
But here’s one in real earnest! Now if I set about things right, I’m a
made man! Folks say that a body must never take his eyes off them or
they’ll get away.”

So Tom stole nearer, with his eyes fixed on the little man, just as
a cat does with a mouse. And when he got close up to him, he said
softly:--

“How goes your work, neighbour?”

The little man raised his head. “Very well, thank you kindly,” said he.

“I’m surprised that you should be working on a holiday,” said Tom.

“That’s my own business, not yours,” said the little man.

“Well, will you be civil enough to tell me what’s in your pitcher?”
said Tom.

“That I will, with pleasure,” said the little man. “’Tis Elfin beer.”

“Elfin beer!” said Tom. “Thunder and fire! Where did you get it?”

“Why I made it--I made it of heath,” said the little man.

“Of heath!” said Tom bursting out laughing. “And will you give a body
a taste of it?” asked he.

“I’ll tell you what it is, young man,” said the Leprechaun, “it would
be fitter for you to be looking after your cows that have broken
into the oats yonder, than to stand here asking honest folks foolish
questions!”

Tom was so taken by surprise at this, that he was just going to turn
his head to look for the cows, when he remembered not to take his
eyes off the Leprechaun. Instead, he made a grab at the little man
and caught him up in his hand; but, as bad luck would have it, he
overturned the pitcher with his foot, and all the liquor was spilt.

“You little rogue!” cried he, shaking the Leprechaun hard, and looking
very wicked and angry. “Tell me where your gold is hidden, and show me
all your money!”

At that the little man was quite frightened. “Come along with me,” said
he, “and I’ll show you a crock of gold in a field over there.”

So they went, Tom holding the Leprechaun very tightly, and never taking
his eyes off him. They crossed hedges and ditches and a crooked bit of
bog, until they came to a great field of ragweed. Then the Leprechaun
pointed to one of the weeds, and said:--

“Dig under that, and you’ll get a crock full of guineas.”

As Tom had no spade with him, he thought to himself: “I’ll run home and
fetch one. And so that I’ll know the place again, I’ll tie my garter
around this weed.”

So he tied his red garter around the ragweed.

“I suppose,” said the Leprechaun politely, “that now you have no
further use for me.”

“No,” said Tom, “you may go, if you wish. And thank you very kindly,”
he said, laughing loudly, “for showing me where all your money lies!”

“Well, good-bye to you, Tom,” said the little man, “and much good may
it do you, what you’ll get,” said he; and with that he jumped behind
the weed, and vanished.

So Tom ran home for dear life and fetched a spade, and then back as
hard as he could go to the field.

But when he got there, lo, and behold! not a ragweed in the whole field
but had a red garter, just like his own, tied to it! And as for digging
up that whole field, it was out of the question, for there were more
than forty good Irish acres in it.

So Tom went home again with his spade, a little cooler, and, you may be
sure, ashamed to tell any one about the neat turn the Leprechaun had
served him.



THE BAD BOY AND THE LEPRECHAUN

_From Ireland_


Now, it is well known that if a Leprechaun is offended he can be most
malicious. So one must treat him politely, or he will not reveal where
the pots of Fairy Gold are hidden.

It happened one afternoon that a lad was working in the fields when
he heard at his feet, “Rip! Rap! Tick! Tack!” and looking down he saw
a little fellow no bigger than his hand sitting under a burdock-leaf,
mending shoes. He grabbed him up, and putting him in his pocket, ran
home. There was no one in the house, so he tied the Leprechaun to the
hob, saying:--

“Tell me, you little rogue, where I may find a pot of gold.”

“That I will not tell you,” replied the Leprechaun, “unless you let me
go, so that I may finish cobbling the Elfin King’s shoes.”

“I’ll make you tell me _now_ where the gold is!” said the lad.

And with that he built a rousing fire under the Leprechaun to roast him.

“Oh, take me off! Take me off!” yelled the little fellow, “and I’ll
tell you! Just go to the burdock-leaf under which I was sitting, and
there is the pot of gold. Only go, dig, and find it, before the sun
sets.”

The lad was so delighted that, without stopping to untie the
Leprechaun, he ran out of the house. It happened that his mother was
just coming in with a pail of new milk. He hit the pail and spilt the
milk on the floor, but he ran on laughing. And when his mother saw the
Leprechaun struggling on the hob, she was furiously angry.

“See what bad luck you have brought us, you rogue!” she cried. And with
that she untied the little fellow and kicked him out of the house.

But the lad ran on until he came to the burdock-leaf; and he dug, and
dug, and dug, but there was no pot of gold there, for the sun had set.
So he started sorrowfully for home, and just as he was passing an old
fort he heard laughter, and a squeaky voice crying out:--

“That boy is looking for a pot of gold! ha! ha! But little does he know
that a whole crock full is lying at the bottom of the old quarry. Only
he must go to fetch it at midnight, and he must not take his mother
with him.”

When the lad heard this he hurried home and told his mother. At
midnight he started out, after ordering her to stay in the house. But
as soon as he was gone she thought to herself: “I’ll get to the quarry
before he does, and find and keep the gold!”

So she ran by a shorter way, and when she reached the edge of the
quarry she slipped on a stone, fell to the bottom, and broke her leg.
And there she lay groaning dreadfully.

Soon the lad came along, and just as he was going to climb down he
heard some one groan.

“What’s below?” he cried in a fright. “Is it evil? Is it good?”

“It’s your mother with a broken leg,” groaned she.

“And is this my pot of gold!” exclaimed the lad, angrily.

And with that he ran for a neighbour, and together they drew the woman
up and took her home. And from that day on she was lame.

As for the Leprechaun, he is still sitting under the burdock-leaf, and
he laughs at the lad and his mother, as he mends his little shoes with
his tiny hammer, Rip! Rap! Tick! Tack!--but they are afraid to touch
him, for they know he can punish them badly.



TOM AND THE KNOCKERS

_From Cornwall_


From the time that Tom was old enough to handle pick and shovel, he
had worked in the tin mines. And very lucky he was, always finding
rich lodes of tin, or stumbling on heaps of Cornish diamonds that some
unknown hands had piled up to carry off.

One night Tom was working hard in an old mine--a very ancient mine
indeed--when he heard sounds like those of tiny shovels and picks.

“’Tis the Knockers!” said Tom to himself, and he listened quietly.
Then he heard, as if only two or three yards away, little miners doing
all sorts of underground work. Some were wheeling barrows, others
were shovelling; and he could distinguish even the sounds of boring,
swabbing the holes, and blasting.

The noises came nearer and nearer, and Tom heard distinctly many
squeaky voices all talking at once, and strange cackling laughter. He
grew quite savage listening to all this clatter, and to the squeaking
and tee-hee-ing; and being a rash fellow, he struck the wall before
him violently with his pick, and threw a handful of stones in the
direction where the Knockers seemed to be working.

“Scat!” he shouted, “or I’ll beat your brains out, I will, if you don’t
leave here!”

The words were scarcely out of his mouth, when a shower of stones
fell all around him, and on him, and frightened him nearly out of
his senses. Still he was resolved to work there until morning and so
he kept on using his pick for about an hour. Then, as his candle was
burned out, he stopped, lit another, and sat down to eat his breakfast.

He had almost finished his bread and cheese, when he heard many little
squeaking voices, some far away, and others close to him, crying out:--

“Tom! Tom! Leave us a bite of your breakfast, or bad luck to you,
to-morrow, Tom!”

At first he could not make out the words, only his own name, then the
cries sounded very plain, and he was angry. “Leave the little rogues
a bite of my good breakfast!” thought he, “not a crumb of it do they
get!” And with that he ate the last morsel.

Then he heard the little voices squeaking louder than before:--

“Tom! Tom! We’ll send you bad luck to-morrow, Tom! you greedy creature
not to leave a single crumb for the Knockers!”

And they kept on squeaking, and tee-heeing in a mocking way; but
getting farther and farther in the distance until they were quite gone.

Then Tom felt tired and drowsy, and lay down on the floor to sleep
awhile.

When he waked, the place was very still. He rubbed his eyes, and
saw a score of Knockers leaning on their tools, and standing in a
circle around him. They were little, withered old men, with legs like
drum-sticks, and arms longer and thinner than their legs. They kept
nodding their great ugly heads, squinting their horrid eyes, wriggling
their hooked noses, and grinning from ear to ear.

Tom lay there trembling and frightened almost to death. Then the oldest
and ugliest of the Knockers came close to him, and stooping, made the
most horrid grimaces in Tom’s face; while all the others lolled out
their tongues, and rolled themselves into balls, and grinned at him
from between their spindle-legs.

Then Tom saw that his candle was sputtering and just going out, and he
sprang to his feet to light another. As he did so, all the little men
vanished. They seemed to melt away one into the other like puffs of
smoke.

Feeling very stiff and tired, Tom mounted the ladders, and left the
mine. When he told the old tinners what he had seen, they were not
surprised, for it was well known among them that the mine Tom had been
working in was the abode of troops of Knockers. But the tinners, one
and all, blamed Tom for speaking to the little men in an unfriendly
way, and for not leaving them a bite of his breakfast.

From that time on, all Tom’s luck was gone. The mines closed down, and
his money went, and he was hurt by a fall. And though he tried hard to
find the Knockers again, so that he might feed them well, he never saw
one, nor even heard the sounds of their picks and shovels in the mine.



THE KNOCKERS’ DIAMONDS

_From Cornwall_


JACK THE TINNER’S STORY

One night I was working away for dear life, in yonder old tin mine. I
was in good heart, because at every stroke of my tool I heard three or
four clicks from Knockers who were working ahead. By the sounds they
seemed to be very near.

Just then a hard stroke of my pick broke open the rock in front of
me, and I saw into a large grotto. The light of my candle fell on
its walls, and my eyes were dazzled by the glistening of bunches of
diamonds and crystals of all colours that hung down from the roof, and
encrusted the sides.

While I was rubbing my eyes, I saw three little Knockers. They were
no bigger than sixpenny dolls, yet their faces were old and strange.
The eldest one was sitting on a stone, his jacket off, and his
shirt-sleeves rolled up. Between his knees he held a tiny anvil, and
he was sharpening a borer about the size of a needle, for one of the
Knockers. The third little fellow was awaiting his turn, pick-axe in
hand.

When the Knocker-smith had finished sharpening the borer, he rested his
hammer on the anvil, and looked toward me.

“What cheer, comrade?” he said. “I could not think from where the cold
wind was coming. The draught from your hole has blown out my light.”

“Oh! Good-morning! Is that you? How are you?” said I. “And how is the
rest of your family? I am glad to see you. I’ll fetch you my candle in
a minute, that you may see better. In fact, I’ll give you a pound of
candles, my dear, with all my heart, if you want them,” said I.

In less than no time I put my hand through the hole to give him my
candle, when, what do you think?--there wasn’t a Knocker in sight!

“Where are they gone?” thought I. Then I heard them somewhere in the
lode ahead, tee-heeing, and cackling, and squeaking like young rabbits.

And there I was left in their pretty workshop, with bunches of diamonds
all around me. I laid my coat on the floor, and filled it with diamonds
and coloured crystals, and then hurried out of the mine. But when I
went back to get some more, the rocks had caved in, and I never could
find the grotto again.



SKILLYWIDDEN

_From Cornwall_


Every one knows that before King Arthur ruled in Britain, the Danes
conquered Cornwall. Then many of the rich Cornish folk buried their
gold and treasures, and fled to the land of Wales. A few years after
that King Arthur came with his knights, and drove the Danes out of
Cornwall. Then the folk came back, but never again could they find
their buried treasures. And to-day none but the Spriggans know where
the gold is hidden.

Well, one morning not very long ago Uncle Billy of Trevidga was out
on the side of a hill, cutting away the furze that was as high as his
head, with bare places here and there covered with white clover, heath,
and whortleberries. Uncle Billy was working hard, when he spied the
prettiest little creature, a real little man, not bigger than a kitten,
sleeping on a bank of wild thyme. He was dressed in a green coat,
sky-blue breeches, and diamond-buckled shoes. His tiny cocked hat was
drawn over his face, to shade it from the sun.

Uncle Billy stooped and looked at him, and longed to carry him home to
his children, for he had a houseful of little ones, boys and girls. So
he took off his cuff, and slipped it quickly over the Spriggan--for a
Spriggan it was that lay there--before he could wake.

The little fellow opened his pretty eyes, and said in a sleepy voice:
“Mammy! Where are you? Mammy! Daddy!” Then he saw Uncle Billy looking
at him. “Who are you?” he said. “You’re a fine, great giant! I want my
Mammy! Can you find her for me?”

“I do not know where she is,” answered Uncle Billy. “But come home with
me, and play with my children, until your Mammy finds you.”

“Very well,” said the Spriggan. “I love to ride goats over the rocks,
and to have milk and blackberries for supper. Will you give me some?”

“Yes, my son,” said Uncle Billy; and with that he picked up the
Spriggan gently, and carried him home.

Well, you should have seen the children! They were so happy to own a
Spriggan! They set the little fellow on the hearth, and he played with
them as if he had known them always. Uncle Billy and his wife were
delighted, and the children shouted for joy, when the pretty little man
capered and jumped about. They called him Bobby Spriggan. Twice a day
they gave him a wee mug of milk and a few blackberries, and now and
then some haws for a change.

In the mornings, while Uncle Billy’s wife and the children were doing
the housework, Bobby Spriggan sat perched on the faggots in the
wood-corner, and sang and chirped away like a Robin Redbreast.

When the hearth was swept, and the kitchen made tidy, and Uncle Billy’s
wife was knitting, Bobby would dance for hours on the hearthstone. The
faster her needles clicked, the faster he danced and spun around and
around. And the children laughed and clapped their hands, and danced
with him.

A week or so after Bobby Spriggan had been found, Uncle Billy had to
leave home. As he wished to keep the little fellow safe and sound until
he told where the crocks of Cornish gold were hidden, Uncle Billy shut
him up with the youngest children in the barn, and put a strong padlock
on the door.

“Now stay in the barn and play,” called Uncle Billy to the children.
“And don’t try to get out, or when I come home you’ll get a walloping,”
said he, and then went away.

The children laughed a part of the time, and a part of the time they
cried, for they did not like to be locked in the barn. But Bobby
Spriggan was as merry as a cricket. He danced and sang, and peeped
through the cracks in the wall at the men who were working in the
fields. And when the men went to dinner, up jumped Bobby and unbarred
a window.

“Come along, children!” he cried. “Now for a game of hide-and-seek in
the furze!”

Then he sprang out the window, and the children followed after. And
away they all ran to play in the furze.

They were shouting and throwing whortleberries about, when suddenly
they saw a little man and woman no bigger than Bobby. The little
man was dressed like Bobby, except that he wore high riding-boots
with silver spurs. The little woman’s green gown was spangled with
glittering stars. Diamond shoe-buckles shone on her high-heeled shoes,
and her tiny steeple-crowned hat was perched on a pile of golden curls,
wreathed with heath blossoms. The pretty little soul was weeping and
wringing her hands, and crying:--

“O my dear, tender Skillywidden! Where canst thou be! Shall I never set
eyes on thee again, my only one, my only joy?”

“Go back! Go back!” cried Bobby Spriggan to the children. Then he
called out: “Here I am, Mammy!”

And just as he said, “Here I am,” the little man and the little woman,
and Bobby Spriggan himself, who was their precious Skillywidden,
vanished, and were seen no more.

The children cried and cried, and went home. And when Uncle Billy
came back you may be sure that he whipped them all soundly. And it
served them right, for if they had minded and stayed in the barn,
Bobby Spriggan would have shown Uncle Billy where the Cornish gold was
hidden.



THE LEPRECHAUN, OR FAIRY SHOEMAKER


STRANGER

  Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
  Up on the lonely rath’s green mound?

LITTLE COWBOY

  Only the plaintive yellowbird
  Sighing in sultry fields around,
  “Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee!--”
  Only the grasshopper and the bee.

FAIRY SHOEMAKER (_singing underground_)

    Tip-tap, rip-rap,
    Tick-a-tack-too!
  Scarlet leather, sewn together,
    This will make a shoe.
  Left, right, pull it tight;
    Summer days are warm;
  Underground in Winter,
    Laughing at the storm!

STRANGER

  Lay your ear close to the hill.
  Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
  Busy click of an Elfin hammer,
  Voice of the Leprechaun singing shrill
  As he merrily plies his trade?
    He’s a span
    And a quarter in height.
  Get him in sight, hold him tight,
    And you’re a made
      Man!
  You watch your cattle the Summer day,
  Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
    How would you like to roll in your carriage,
    Look for a Duchess’s daughter in marriage?
  Seize the Shoemaker--then you may!

FAIRY SHOEMAKER (_singing underground_)

    Big boots a-hunting,
    Sandals in the hall,
  White for a wedding-feast,
    Pink for a ball.
  This way, that way,
    So we make a shoe;
  Getting rich every stitch,
    Tick-a-tack-too!

STRANGER

  Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks
  This keen Miser-Fairy hath,
  Hid in mountains, woods, and rocks,
  Ruin and round-tow’r, cave and rath,
    And where the cormorants build;
      From times of old
      Guarded by him;
      Each of them filled
      Full to the brim
        With gold!
  I caught him at work one day, myself,
    In the castle-ditch, where Foxglove grows,--
  A wrinkled, wizened, and bearded Elf,
    Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
    Silver buckles to his hose,
    Leather apron--shoe in his lap--

FAIRY SHOEMAKER (_singing underground_)

    Rip-rap, tip-tap,
    Tick-a-tack-too!
  (A grasshopper on my cap!
    Away the moth flew!)
  Buskins for a Fairy Prince,
    Brogues for his son,--
  Pay me well, pay me well,
    When the job is done!

STRANGER

  The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
  I stared at him; he stared at me;
  “Servant, sir!” “Humph!” says he,
    And pulled a snuff-box out.
  He took a long pinch, looked better pleased,
    The queer little Leprechaun;
  Offerèd the box with a whimsical grace,--
  Pouf! he flung the dust in my face,
    And, while I sneezed,
      Was gone!

                            _William Allingham_



GLAD LITTLE, SAD LITTLE, BAD LITTLE ELVES



  _Saint Francis and Saint Benedict,
  Bless this house from wicked wight;
  From the Night-mare and the Goblin
  That is hight Good-Fellow Robin;
  Keep it from all evil spirits,
  Fairies, weasels, rats, and ferrets,
      From curfew-time
      To the next prime._

            WILLIAM CARTWRIGHT (1635?)



LITTLE REDCAP

_From Ireland_


Sure and it was in old Ireland, some years ago, that Tom Coghlan
returned one evening to his house, expecting to find the fire blazing,
the potatoes boiling, and his wife and children as merry as grigs. But,
instead, the fire was out, his wife was scolding, and the children were
all crying from hunger.

Poor Tom was quite astonished to find matters going on so badly, for,
though there was a plenty of potatoes in the house, there wasn’t a
single stick of wood for the fire. Something had to be done. And Tom
bethought himself of the great furze-bushes that grew around the ruins
of the old fort on top of the near-by hill. So he snatched up his axe
and away he went.

Before he reached the top of the hill the sun had gone down, and the
moon had risen and was shedding her wavering, watery light on the ruins
of the old fort. The breeze rustled the dark furze-bushes with an eerie
sound, and Tom shivered with dread. But he braced up his heart, and,
approaching the fort, raised his axe to cut down a big bush. Just then,
near him, he heard the shriek of a small, shrill voice.

Tom, startled, let the axe fall from his grasp, and, looking up, saw
perched on the furze-bush in front of him a little old man, not more
than a foot and a half high. He wore a red cap. His face was the colour
of a withered mushroom, while his sparkling eyes, twinkling like
diamonds in the dark, illuminated his distorted face. His thin legs
dangled from his fat, round body.

“Ho! Ho!” said the Little Redcap, “is that what you’re after, Tom
Coghlan? What did me and mine ever do to you that you should cut down
our bushes?”

“Why, then, nothing at all, your honour!” said Tom, recovering a bit
from his fright, “nothing at all! Only the children were crying from
hunger, and I thought I’d make bold to cut a bush or two to boil the
potatoes, for we haven’t a stick in the house.”

“You mustn’t cut down these bushes, Tom!” said the Little Redcap. “But,
as you are an honest man, I’ll buy them from you, though I have a
better right to them than you have. So, if you’ll take my advice, carry
this mill home with you, and let the bushes alone,” said the Little
Redcap, holding out a tiny stone mill for grinding meal.

“Mill, indeed!” said Tom, looking with astonishment at the thing, which
was so small that he could have put it with ease into his breeches
pocket. “Mill, indeed! And what good will a bit of a thing like that do
me? Sure, it won’t boil the potatoes for the children!”

“What good will it do you?” said the Little Redcap. “I’ll tell you what
good it will do you! It will make you and your family as fat and strong
as so many stall-fed bullocks. And if it won’t boil the potatoes, it
will do a great deal better, for you have only to grind it, and it will
give you the greatest plenty of elegant meal. But if you ever sell any
of the meal, that moment the mill will lose its power.”

“It’s a bargain,” said Tom. “So give me the mill, and you’re heartily
welcome to the bushes.”

“There it is for you, Tom,” said the Little Redcap, throwing the mill
down to him; “there it is for you, and much good may it do you! But
remember you are not to sell the meal on any account.”

“Let me alone for that!” said Tom.

And then he made the best of his way home, where his wife was trying
to comfort the children, wondering all the time what in the world was
keeping Tom. And when she saw him return without so much as one stick
of wood to boil the potatoes, her anger burst out. But Tom soon quieted
her by placing the mill on the table and telling her how he had got it
from the Little Redcap.

“We’ll try it directly,” said she. And they pulled the table into the
middle of the floor, and commenced grinding away with the mill. Before
long a stream of beautiful meal began pouring from it; and in a short
time they had filled every dish and pail in the house. Tom’s wife was
delighted, as you may believe, and the children managed the best they
could for that night by eating plenty of raw meal.

Well, after that everything went very well with Tom and his family. The
mill gave them all the meal they wanted, and they grew as fat and sleek
as coach-horses. But one morning when Tom was away from home, his wife
needed money. So she took a few pecks of the meal to town and sold it
in the market.

And sorry enough she was, for that night, when Tom came home and began
to grind the mill, not a speck of meal would come from it! He could not
for the life of him find out the reason, for his wife was afraid to
tell him about her selling the meal.

“Sure, and the little old fellow cheated me well!” thought Tom, as mad
as a nest of hornets. So he put his axe under his arm, and away he went
to the old fort, determined to punish the Little Redcap by cutting down
his bushes. But scarcely had he lifted his axe, when the Little Redcap
appeared, and mighty angry he was, too, that Tom should come cutting
his bushes, after having made a fair bargain with him.

“You deceitful, little, ugly vagabond!” cried Tom, flourishing his axe,
“to give me a mill that wasn’t worth a sixpence! If you don’t give me a
good one for it, I’ll cut down every bush!”

“What a blusterer you are, Tom!” said the Little Redcap, “but you’d
better be easy and let the bushes alone, or maybe you’ll pay for it!
Deceive you, indeed! Didn’t I tell you that mill would lose its power
if you sold any of the meal?”

“And sure and I didn’t, either,” said Tom.

“Well, it’s all one for that,” answered the Little Redcap, “for if you
didn’t, your wife did. And as to giving you another mill, it’s out of
the question. For the one I gave you was the only one in the fort. And
a hard battle we had to get it away from another party of the Good
People! But I’ll tell you what I’ll do with you, Tom; let the bushes
alone, and I’ll make a doctor of you.”

“A doctor, indeed!” said Tom. “Maybe it’s a fool you’re making of me!”

But it was no such thing, for the Little Redcap gave Tom Coghlan a
charm so that he could cure any sick person. And Tom took it home, and
became a great man with a very full purse. He gave good schooling to
his children. One of them he made a grand butter-merchant in the city
of Cork, and the youngest son--being ever and always a well-spoken
lad--he made a lawyer; and his two daughters married well.

And Tom is as happy as a man can be!



THE CURMUDGEON’S SKIN

_From Ireland_


It is well known in old Ireland that a Four-leaved Shamrock has
the power to open a man’s eyes so that he can see all kinds of
enchantments, and this is what happened to Billy Thompson:--

One misfortune after another decreased his goods. His sheep died; and
his pig got the measles, so that he was obliged to sell it for little
or nothing. But still he had his cow.

“Well,” said Billy to his wife, for he was a good-humoured fellow, and
always made the best of things,--“Well!” said he, “it can’t be helped!
Anyhow, we’ll not want the drop of milk to our potatoes, as long as the
cow’s left to comfort us!”

The words were hardly out of his mouth when a neighbour came running up
to tell him that his cow had fallen from a cliff, and was lying dead in
the Horses’ Glen. For Billy, you must know, had sent his cow that very
morning to graze on the cliff.

“Och! Ullagone!” cried Billy. “What’ll we do now! Och! you cruel,
unnatural beast as to clift yourself, when you knowed as well as
myself that we couldn’t do without you at all! For sure enough now the
children will be crying for the drop of milk to their potatoes!”

Such was Billy’s lament, as with a sorrowful heart he made the best
of his way to the Horses’ Glen. “Anyway,” thought he, “I’ll skin the
carcass, and the meat will make fine broth for the children.”

It took him some time to find where the poor beast was lying, but at
last he did find her, all smashed to pieces at the foot of a big rock.
And he began to skin her as fast as he could, but having no one to help
him, by the time the job was finished, the sun had gone down.

Now Billy was so intent on his work that he did not perceive the lapse
of time, but when he raised his head and saw the darkness coming on,
and listened to the murmuring wind, all the tales he had ever heard
of the Pooka, the Banshee, and Little Redcap, the mischievous Fairy,
floated through his mind, and made him want to get home as fast as
possible. He snatched a tuft of grass, wiped his knife, and seized hold
of the hide.

It so happened that in the little tuft of grass with which Billy wiped
his knife was a Four-leaved Shamrock. And whether from grief or fear,
Billy, instead of throwing away the grass, put it in his pocket along
with his knife. And when he stood up and turned to take a last look at
the carcass he saw, instead of his poor cow, a little old Curmudgeon
sitting bolt upright, looking as if he had just been skinned alive!

“Billy Thompson! Billy Thompson,” cried the little old fellow in a
shrill, squeaking voice. “You spalpeen! You’d better come back with
my skin! A pretty time of day we’ve come to, when a gentleman like me
cannot take a bit of sleep but a rude fellow must come and strip the
hide off him! But you’d better bring it back, Billy Thompson, or I’ll
make you remember how you dared to skin me, you spalpeen!”

Now Billy, though he was greatly frightened, remembered that he had a
black-handled knife in his pocket, and whoever has that, ’tis said, can
look all the Fairies of the world in the face without quaking. So he
put his hand on the knife, and began backing away, with the skin under
his arm.

“Why, then, your honour,” said he, “if it’s this skin you’re wanting,
you must know it’s the skin of my poor cow that was clifted yonder
there. And sore and sorrowful the children will be for the want of her
little drop of milk!”

“Why, then, if that’s what you’d be after, Billy, my boy,” said the
little fellow, at the same time jumping before him with the speed of a
greyhound, “do you think I’m such a fool as to let you walk off with
my skin? If you don’t drop it in the turn of a hand, you’ll sup sorrow!”

“Nonsense!” said Billy, drawing out his black-handled knife, and
holding it so the little man could see it. “Never a one of me will let
you have this skin till you give me back my cow. I know well enough she
was not clifted at all, at all, and that you and the other Curmudgeons
have got hold of her!”

“You’d better keep a civil tongue in your head,” said the little
fellow, who seemed to get quite soft at the sight of the knife. “But
you’re a brave boy, Billy Thompson, and I’ve taken a fancy to you! I
don’t say but I might get you your cow again, if you’ll give me back my
skin.”

“Thank you kindly,” said Billy, winking slyly. “Give me the cow first;
then I will.”

“Well, there she is for you, you unbelieving hound!” said the little
Curmudgeon.

And for sure and for certain, what did Billy Thompson hear but his own
cow bellowing behind him for the bare life! And when he looked back
what should he see but his cow running over rocks and stones with a
long rope hanging to one of her legs, and four little fellows, with red
caps on them, hunting her as fast as they could!

“There’ll be a battle for her, Billy! There’ll be a battle!” laughed
the little Curmudgeon.

And sure enough, the little Redcaps began to fight, and in the
meantime the cow, finding herself at liberty, ran towards Billy, who
lost not a minute, but, throwing the skin on the ground, seized the cow
by the tail and began to drive her away.

“Not so fast, Billy!” said the little Curmudgeon, who stuck close by
his side; “not so fast! Though I gave you the cow, I didn’t give you
the rope that’s hanging to her leg.”

“A bargain’s a bargain,” said Billy, “so as I’ve got it, I’ll keep rope
and all.”

“If you say that again,” said the little fellow, “I’ll be after calling
the Redcaps that are fighting below there. But I don’t want to be too
hard on you, Billy, for if you have a mind for the rope, I’ll give it
to you for the little tuft of grass you have in your pocket.”

“There, take it,” said Billy, throwing down the grass with the
Four-leaved Shamrock in it.

No sooner was it out of his hand than he received such a blow that it
dashed him to the ground, insensible. When he came to himself, the sun
was shining, and where should he be but near his own house with the cow
grazing beside him? Billy Thompson could hardly believe his eyes, and
thought it was all a dream, till he saw the rope hanging to his cow’s
leg.

And that was a lucky rope for him! For, from that day out, his cow gave
more milk than any six cows in the parish, and Billy began to look up
in the world. He took farms, and purchased cattle till he became very
rich. But no one could ever get him to go to the Horses’ Glen. And
to-day he never passes an old fort, or hears a blast of wind, without
taking off his hat in compliment to the Good People; and ’tis only
right that he should.



JUDY AND THE FAIRY CAT

_From Ireland_


Late one Hallowe’en an old woman was sitting up spinning. There came a
soft knock at the door.

“Who’s there?” asked she.

There was no answer, but another knock.

“Who’s there?” she asked a second time.

Still no answer, but a third knock. At that the old woman got up in
anger.

“Who’s there?” she cried.

A small voice, like a child’s, sobbed: “Ah, Judy dear, let me in! I am
so cold and hungry! Open the door, Judy dear, and let me sit by the
fire and dry myself! Judy dear, let me in! Oh--let--me--in!”

Judy, thinking that it must be a small child who had lost its way, ran
to the door, and opened it. In walked a large Black Cat waving her
tail, and two black kittens followed her. They walked deliberately
across the floor, and sat down before the fire, and began to warm
themselves and lick their fur, purring all the time. Judy never said a
word, but closed the door, and went back to her spinning.

At last the Black Cat spoke.

“Judy dear,” said she, “do not sit up so late. This is the Fairies’
holiday, and they wish to hold a counsel in your kitchen, and eat their
supper here. They are very angry because you are still up, and they
cannot come in. Indeed, Judy, they are determined to kill you. Only for
myself and my two daughters, you would now be dead. So take my advice
and do not interfere with the Fairies’ Hallowe’en. But give me some
milk, for I must be off.”

Well, Judy got up in a great fright and ran as fast as she could, and
brought three saucers full of milk, and set them on the floor before
the cats. They lapped up all the milk, then the Black Cat called her
daughters and stood up.

“Thank you, Judy dear,” she said. “You have been very civil to me, and
I’ll not forget. Good night! Good night!”

And with that she and her kittens whisked up the chimney, and were gone.

Then Judy saw something shining on the hearth. She picked it up; it was
a piece of silver money, more than she could earn in a month. She put
out the light, and went to bed; and never again did she sit up late on
Hallowe’en and interfere with Fairy hours.



THE BOGGART

_From Yorkshire_


Once upon a time a Boggart lived in a farmer’s house. He was a
mischievous Elf, and specially fond of teasing the children. When
they were eating their supper, he would make himself invisible, and,
standing back of their chairs, would snatch away their bread and butter
and drain their mugs of milk. On cold nights he would pull the clothes
from their warm beds and tickle their feet.

And the children liked to tease the Boggart in return. There was a
closet in the kitchen with a large knot-hole in its wall behind which
the Boggart lived. The children used to stick a shoehorn into the hole;
and the Boggart would throw it back at them. The shoehorn made the
little man so angry that one day he threw it at the youngest boy’s head
and hurt him badly.

At length the Boggart became such a torment that the farmer and his
wife decided to move to another place and let the mischievous creature
have their house to himself.

The day of the moving came. All the furniture was piled into a wagon,
and a neighbour called to say good-bye. “So, farmer,” said he, “you
are leaving the old house at last!”

“Heigh-ho!” sighed the farmer, “I am forced to do it. That villain
Boggart torments us so that we have no rest night or day! He almost
killed my youngest boy. So you see we are forced to flit.”

Scarcely were the words out of his mouth when a squeaky voice cried
from the bottom of the churn, that was in the wagon:--

“Aye! Aye! We’re flitting, you see!”

“Ods! Hang it!” cried the poor farmer. “There is that villain Boggart
again! If he’s going along with us, I shall not stir a peg. Nay! Nay!
It’s no use, Molly,” said he turning to his wife. “We may as well stay
here in the old house as to be tormented in the new one that is not so
convenient!”

And they stayed.



OWNSELF

_From Northumberland_


Once upon a time there was a widow and her little boy. Their home was
a small cottage in the wood. The mother worked hard from early morning
until evening, and she was so tired that she liked to go to bed early.
But the little boy did not like to go to bed early at all.

One evening when his mother told him to undress, he begged her, saying:
“I’m not sleepy. May I sit up just this once?”

“Very well,” said she. “Sit up if you wish, but if the Fairies catch
you here alone, they will surely carry you off.” Then she went to bed.

The little boy laughed, and sat down on the hearth before the fire,
watching the blaze and warming his hands.

By and by he heard a giggling and a laughing in the chimney, and the
next minute he saw a tiny girl, as big as a doll, come tumbling down
and jump on to the hearth in front of him.

At first the little boy was dreadfully frightened, but the tiny girl
began to dance so prettily, and to nod her head at him in such a
friendly way, that he forgot to be afraid.

“What do they call you, little girl?” said he.

“My name is Ownself,” said she proudly. “What is yours?”

“My name,” he answered, laughing very hard, “is My Ownself.”

Then the two children began to play together as if they had known each
other all their lives. They danced, and they sang, and they roasted
chestnuts before the fire, and they tickled the house-cat’s ears. Then
the fire commenced to flicker, and it grew dimmer and dimmer; so the
little boy took the poker and stirred up the embers. And a hot coal
tumbled out and rolled on to Ownself’s tiny foot. And, oh! how she
screamed! Then she wept, and flew into such a rage that the little boy
got frightened and hid behind the door.

Just then a squeaky voice called down the chimney: “Ownself! Ownself!
What wicked creature hurt you?”

“My Ownself! My Ownself!” she screamed back.

“Then come here, you troublesome little Fairy,” cried the voice angrily.

And a Fairy mother, slipper in hand, came hurrying down the chimney;
and catching Ownself, she whipped her soundly and carried her off,
saying:--

“What’s all this noise about, then? If you did it your ownself, there’s
nobody to blame but yourself!”



THE SICK-BED ELVES

_From China_


Wang Little-Third-One lay stretched on his bed of bamboo laths, where
a low fever kept him. He complained to every one, especially to his
friend the Magician who came to see him.

The Magician was very wise, so he gave Wang a drink of something
delicious and cool, and went away.

When Little-Third-One had drunk this, his fever fell, and he was able
to enjoy a little sleep. He was awakened by a slight noise. The night
was come. The room was lighted by the full moon, which threw a bright
gleam through the open door.

Then he saw that the room was full of insects that were moving and
flying hither and thither. There were white ants that gnaw wood,
bad-smelling bugs, enormous cockroaches, mosquitoes, and many many
flies. And they were all buzzing, gnashing their teeth, or falling.

As Little-Third-One looked, he saw something move on the threshold. A
small man, not bigger than a thumb, advanced with cautious steps. In
his hand he held a bow; a sword was hanging by his side.

Little-Third-One, looking closer, saw two dogs as big as shirt-buttons,
running in front of the little man. They suddenly stopped. The archer
approached nearer to the bed, and held out his bow, and discharged
a tiny arrow. A cockroach that was crawling before the dogs, made a
bound, fell on its back, kicked, and was motionless. The arrow had run
through it.

Behind the little man, other little men had come. Some rode on small
horses, and were armed with swords, and still others were on foot.
All these huntsmen scattered about the room, and ran or rode, to and
fro, shooting arrows, and brandishing their swords; until hundreds and
hundreds of insects were killed. At first the mosquitoes escaped, but,
as they cannot fly for long, every time one of them settled on the
wall, it was transfixed by a huntsman.

Soon none were left of all the insects that had broken the silence with
their buzzing, their gnashing of teeth, and their falling.

A horseman then galloped around the room, looking from right to left.
He gave a signal. All the huntsmen called their dogs, went to the door,
and disappeared.

Little-Third-One had not moved, for fear that he should disturb the
hunt. At last he went peacefully to sleep, and woke the next day cured.
When his friend the Magician came to see him, Little-Third-One told him
about the mysterious huntsmen, and his friend the Magician smiled.



HOW PEEPING KATE WAS PISKEY-LED

_From Cornwall_


’Tis Hallowe’en Night, Teddy, my boy. Don’t go out on the moor, or near
the Gump, for the Piskeys and the Spriggans are abroad, waiting to
mislead straying mortals. Many are the men and women that the Little
People have whisked away on Hallowe’en Night; and the poor mortals have
never been heard of since.

Sit down, Teddy, my boy, crack these nuts, and eat these red apples;
and I’ll tell you how Peeping Kate was Piskey-led.

I have heard the old folks say how long ago--maybe a hundred years or
so--the Squire of Pendeen had a housekeeper, an elderly dame, called
Kate Tregeer.

Well, one Hallowe’en Night, some spices and other small things were
wanted for the feasten-tide, and Kate would not trust any one to
go for them except herself. So she put on her red coat and high
steeple-crowned hat, and walked to Penzance. She bought the goods and
started for home.

It was a bright moonlight night, and though no wind was blowing, the
leaves of the trees were murmuring with a hollow sound. And Kate could
hear strange rustlings in the bushes by the side of the road.

She had walked a very long time, and her basket was so heavy that she
began to feel tired. Her legs bent under her and she could scarcely
stand up. Just then she beheld, a little in front of her, a man on
horseback. And she could tell by the proud way he sat that he was a
gentleman-born.

She was very glad to see him, and as he was going slowly, she soon
overtook him; and when she came up, his horse stood stock-still.

“My dear Master,” she said, “how glad I am to see you. Don’t you know
me? I’m Kate Tregeer of Pendeen; and I can’t tell you how hard I’ve
worked all day.”

Then she explained to him how she had walked to Penzance, and was now
so tired that she could not stand up. But the gentleman made no reply.

“My dear Master,” said she, “I’m footsore and leg-weary. I’ve got as
far as here, you see, but I can get no farther. Do have pity on a poor
unfortunate woman, and take her behind you. I can ride well enough on
your horse’s back without a saddle or pillion.”

But still the gentleman made no reply.

“My dear Master,” she said again, “My! but you’re a fine-looking man!
How upright you sit on your horse! But why don’t you answer me? Are you
asleep? One would think you were taking a nap; and your horse, too, it
is standing so still!”

Not having any word in reply to this fine speech, Kate called out as
loud as she could: “Even if you are a gentleman-born, you needn’t be so
stuck-up that you won’t speak to a poor body afoot!”

Still he never spoke, though Kate thought that she saw him wink at her.

This vexed her the more. “The time was when the Tregeers were among the
first in the parish, and were buried with the gentry! Wake up and speak
to me!” screamed she in a rage. And then she took up a stone, and threw
it at the horse. The stone rolled back to her feet, and the animal did
not even whisk its tail.

Kate now got nearer, and saw that the rider had no hat on, nor was
there any hair on his bald head. She touched the horse, and felt
nothing but a bunch of furze. She rubbed her eyes and saw at once, to
her great astonishment, that it was no gentleman and horse at all, only
a smooth stone half buried in a heap of furze. And there she was still
far away from Pendeen, with her heavy basket, and her legs so tired
that she could scarcely move. And then she saw that she had come a
short distance only, and knew that she must be bewitched.

Well, on she went; and seeing a light at her left hand she thought
that it shone from the window of a house where she might rest awhile.
So she made for it straight across the moor, floundering through bogs,
and tripping over bunches of furze. And still the light was always just
ahead, and it seemed to move from side to side. Then suddenly it went
out, and she was left standing in a bog. The next minute she found
herself among furze-ricks and pigsties, in the yard of Farmer Boslow,
miles away from Pendeen.

She opened the door of an old outhouse, and entered, hoping to get a
few hours’ rest. There she lay down on straw and fell asleep; but she
was soon wakened by some young pigs who were rooting around in the
straw. That was too much for Kate. So up she got, and as she did so she
heard the noise of a flail. And seeing a glimmer of light in a barn
near by, she crept softly to a little window in the barn, and peeped to
find what was going on.

At first she could see only two rush-wicks burning in two old iron
lamps. Then through the dim light she saw the slash-flash of a flail as
it rose and fell, and beat the barn floor. She stood on tiptoes, and
stuck her head in farther, and whom did she see, wielding the flail,
but a little old man, about three feet high, with hair like a bunch
of rushes, and ragged clothes. His face was broader than it was long,
and he had great owl-eyes shaded by heavy eyebrows from which his nose
poked like a pig’s snout. Kate noticed that his teeth were crooked
and jagged, and that at each stroke of the flail, he kept moving his
thin lips around and around, and thrusting his tongue in and out. His
shoulders were broad enough for a man twice his height, and his feet
were splayed like a frog’s.

“Well! Well!” thought Kate. “This is luck! To see the Piskey threshing!
For ever since I can remember I have heard it said that the Piskey
threshed corn for Farmer Boslow on winter nights, and did other odd
jobs for him the year round. But I would not believe it. Yet here he
is!”

Then she reached her head farther in, and beheld a score of little
men helping the Piskey. Some of them were lugging down the sheaves,
and placing them handy for him; and others were carrying away the
straw from which the grain had been threshed. Soon a heap of corn was
gathered on the floor, as clean as if it had been winnowed.

In doing this the Piskey raised such a dust that it set him and some of
the little men sneezing. And Kate, without stopping to think, called
out:--

“God bless you, little men!”

Quick as a wink the lights vanished, and a handful of dust was thrown
into her eyes, which blinded her so that for a moment she could not
see. And then she heard the Piskey squeak:--

  “_I spy thy face,
  Old Peeping Kate,
  I’ll serve thee out,
  Early and late!_”

Kate, when she heard this, felt very uneasy, for she remembered that
the Little People have a great spite against any one who peeps at them,
or pries into their doings.

The night being clear, she quickly found her way out of a crooked lane,
and ran as fast as she could, and never stopped until she reached the
Gump. There she sat down to rest awhile.

After that she stood up; and turn whichever way she might the same
road lay before her. Then she knew that the Piskey was playing her a
trick. So she ran down a hill as fast as she could, not caring in what
direction she was going, so long as she could get away from the Piskey.

After running a long while, she heard music and saw lights at no great
distance. Thinking that she must be near a house, she went over the
downs toward the lights, feeling ready for a jig, and stopping now and
then to dance around and around to the strains of the music.

But instead of arriving at a house, in passing around some high rocks
she came out on a broad green meadow, encircled with furze and rocks.
And there before her she saw a whole troop of Spriggans holding an
Elfin Fair. It was like a feasten-day. Scores of little booths were
standing in rows, and were covered with tiny trinkets such as buckles
of silver and gold glistening with Cornish diamonds, pins with jewelled
heads, brooches, rings, bracelets, and necklaces of crystal beads,
green and red or blue and gold; and many other pretty things new to
Kate.

There were lights in all directions--lanterns no bigger than Foxgloves
were hanging in rows; and on the booths, rushlights in tulip-cups shone
among Fairy goodies such as Kate had never dreamed of. Yet with all
these lights there was such a shimmer over everything that she got
bewildered, and could not see as plainly as she wished.

She did not care to disturb the Little People until she had looked at
all that was doing. So she crept softly behind the booths and watched
the Spriggans dancing. Hundreds of them, linked hand in hand, went
whirling around so fast as to make her dizzy. Small as they were, they
were all decked out like rich folk, the little men in cocked hats and
feathers, blue coats gay with lace and gold buttons, breeches and
stockings of lighter hue, and tiny shoes with diamond buckles.

Kate could not name the colours of the little ladies’ dresses, which
were of all the hues of Summer blossoms. The vain little things had
powdered their hair, and decked their heads with ribbons, feathers, and
flowers. Their shoes were of velvet and satin, and were high-heeled and
pointed. And such sparkling black eyes as all the little ladies had,
and such dimpled cheeks and chins! And they were merry, sprightly, and
laughing.

All the Spriggans were capering and dancing around a pole wreathed with
flowers. The pipers, standing in their midst, played such lively airs
that Kate never in all her life had wanted to dance more. But she kept
quite still, for she did not wish the Little People to know that she
was there. She was determined to pocket some of the pretty things in
the booths, and steal softly away with them. She thought how nice a
bright pair of diamond buckles would look on her best shoes, and how
fine her Sunday cap would be ornamented with a Fairy brooch.

So she raised her hand and laid it on some buckles, when--oh! oh!--she
felt a palmful of pins and needles stick into her fingers like red-hot
points; and she screamed:--

“Misfortune take you, you bad little Spriggans!”

[Illustration: “SHE SAW A WHOLE TROOP OF SPRIGGANS HOLDING AN ELFIN
FAIR”]

Immediately the lights went out, and she felt hundreds of the Little
People leap on her back, and her neck, and her head. At the same moment
others tripped up her heels, and laid her flat on the ground, and
rolled her over and over.

Then she caught sight of the Piskey mounted on a wild-looking colt, his
toes stuck in its mane. He was holding a rush for a whip. And there he
sat grinning from ear to ear, and urging on the Spriggans to torment
her, with “Haw! Haw! Haw!” and “Tee! Hee! Hee!”

She spread out her arms and squeezed herself tight to the ground, so
that the Spriggans might not turn her over; but they squeaked and
grunted, and over and over she went. And every time that they turned
her face downward, some of the little fellows jumped on her back, and
jigged away from her toe to her head.

She reached around to beat them off with a stick, but they pulled it
out of her hand; and, balancing it across her body, strided it, and
bobbed up and down, singing:--

  “_See-saw-pate!
  Lie still old Peeping Kate!
  See-saw-pate!
  Here we’ll ride, early and late,
  On the back of Peeping Kate!_”

And with that, poor Kate, not to be beaten by the Spriggans, tossed
back her feet to kick the little fellows away, but they pulled off her
shoes and tickled and prickled the soles of her feet until she fell
a-laughing and a-crying by turns.

Kate was almost mad with their torment, when by good chance she
remembered a charm that would drive away all mischievous spirits,
on Hallowe’en. So she repeated it forwards and backwards, and in a
twinkling all the little Spriggans fled screeching away, the Piskey
galloping after them.

Then she got on her feet and looked around. She saw, by the starlight
of a clear frosty morning, that the place to which she had been
Piskey-led was a green spot near the Gump, where folks said the
Spriggans held their nightly revels. And although the spot was
very small, it had seemed to her like a ten-acre field because of
enchantment.

And her hat, and her shoes, and her basket were gone; and poor Kate,
barefooted and bareheaded, had to hobble home as best she could. And
she reached Pendeen gate more dead than alive.



ONE-EYED PRYING JOAN’S TALE

_From Cornwall_


Sit down, Bobby, my boy. Eat some bread and cheese. Don’t be afraid to
drink the cider. It’s all my own making. Sit down, and I’ll tell you
how I lost the sight of my right eye.

The last Christmas Eve I went to Penzance to buy a pair of shoes for
myself, and some thread and buttons, and things to mend Master’s
clothes. I dearly like company, and as I started out I thought of old
Betty down at the cove, she that they say is a Witch, you know.

Thinks I to myself: “If she’s a Witch, she’ll not hurt me, as I never
crossed her in my life. Witch or no Witch, I’ll stop and have a bite of
something hot at her little house,” thought I.

When I came to the house, the door was tight shut, and I heard a
strange mumbling inside, but I could not make out what it was. So I
took a peep through the latch-hole. And what did I see but old Betty
standing by the chimney-piece with a little box in her hand, and she
was muttering something that sounded like a charm. She put her finger
into the box and pulled it out again, and smeared some ointment over
her eyes. Then she put the box into a hole near the chimney.

I lifted the latch and walked in. “How-de-do, Betty,” said I.

“Welcome,” said she, grinning and pleased. “Sit down by the fire. Now
we’ll have a good drop of something hot to ourselves, seeing that it’s
Christmas Eve,” said she.

“I’ll take a thimbleful, just to drink your health and a Merry
Christmas to you, with all my heart,” said I; for I well knew that
Betty made the best sweet drink, with sugar and spice and a roasted
apple bobbing around in it.

I put down my basket, and took off my coat, and sat by the fire; while
Betty stepped into a closet to fetch the cups.

Now, I had often wondered what made her eyes so clear and piercing.
“’Tis the Fairy ointment, or Witch salve in the box,” thought I. “If
it will do that to her eyes, it won’t hurt me.” So while she was gone,
I took the box from the hole, where she had covered it with ferns, and
put a bit of the ointment on my right eye. The stuff had no sooner
touched me than it burned like fire, or as if needles and pins were
being thrust into my eyeball. Just then Betty came from the closet, and
I dragged the brim of my hat down over my right eye, so she should not
see what had happened.

After we had drunk each other’s health three or four times, the pain
went off, and I ventured to open my anointed eye. And oh! what did I
see! The place was full of Spriggans! Troops of the Little People were
cutting all sorts of capers in the folds of the nets and sails hung on
the walls, in the bunches of herbs that swung from the rafters, and
in the pots and pans on the dresser. Some of them were playing seesaw
on the beams of the ceiling, tossing their heels and waving their
feathered caps, as they teetered up and down on bits of straw or green
twigs. Numbers of them were swinging in the cobwebs that festooned the
rafters or riding mice in and out through holes in the thatch.

I noted that all the little men were dressed in green tricked out with
red, and had feathered caps and high riding-boots with silver spurs.
Their ladies, if you please, were all decked in grand fashion--their
gowns were of green velvet with long trains and looped up with silver
chains and bells. They wore high-crowned steeple-hats, with wreaths of
the most beautiful flowers around them; while sprigs of blossoms and
garlands decorated all parts of their dress, and were in their hands as
well. They were the sauciest Little People I ever did see. They pranced
around on their high-heeled boots sparkling with diamond buckles.

When I peeped into the wood-corner under Betty’s bunk, I spied some
of the ugly Spriggans sitting there looking very gloomy because they
have to watch the treasures that are hidden in the ground, and do other
disagreeable things that the merry Spriggans never have to do.

While looking into the dark corner I heard strains of sweet, unearthly
music outside the house. Glancing around the room, I saw that all was
changed. The walls were hung with tapestry, the chimney stools on
which we sat were carved chairs. Betty and I sat under a canopy of
embroidered satin, and our feet rested on a silken carpet. And wherever
the little Spriggans trod, they left circles like diamonds on the floor.

The sweet music was now close at hand under the little window, and a
moment after a troop of the Little People appeared on the window-sill,
playing on pipes, flutes, and other instruments made of green reeds
from the brook and of shells from the shore.

The Fairy band stepped down most gracefully from the window-sill,
and was closely followed by a long train of little men and women
magnificently dressed, and carrying bunches of flowers in their hands.
All walked in an orderly procession, two by two, and bowed or curtsied,
to Betty, and cast the flowers in her lap. I saw their many bunches of
Four-leaved Clover and sprigs of magic herbs. With these she makes her
salves and lotions.

Then all the Spriggans who had been dancing and capering about the
ceiling and floor joined the others and came crowding around Betty.
She did not look surprised, and I did not say anything to let her know
that I saw. The Spriggans then began to pour dew over her dress out
of flower-buds and from the bottles of the Foxglove. Immediately her
jacket was changed into the finest and richest cloth of a soft cream
colour, and her dress became velvet the colour of all the flowers, and
it was draped over a petticoat of silk quilted with silver cord.

The Little People brought tiny nosegays of sky-blue Pimpernel,
Forget-me-nots, and dainty flower-bells, blue, pink, and white, and
hundreds of other Fairy blossoms like stars and butterflies. These
delicate little sprigs they stitched all over Betty’s silver-corded
petticoat together with branching moss and the lace-like tips of the
wild grass. All around the bottom of her skirt they made a wreath of
tiny bramble leaves with roses and berries, red and black.

Many of the Little People perched themselves on the top of the
high-backed chair in which Betty sat, and even stood on her shoulders,
so that they might arrange her every curl and every hair. Some took the
lids off pretty little urns they carried in their hands, and poured
perfume on her head, which spread the sweetest odours through the
room. I very much admired the lovely little urns, with their grooved
lids, but when I picked one up, it was only a seed-pod of the wild
Poppy. They placed no other ornament in her hair except a small twig of
holly full of bright red berries. Yet Betty, decked out by her Fairy
friends, was more beautiful than the loveliest Queen of May.

My senses were overcome by the smell of the Fairy odours, and the scent
of the flowers, and the sweet perfume of honey, with which the walls of
the house seemed bursting. And my head fell forward and I slept.

How long I dozed I do not know, but when I woke I saw that all the
little Spriggans were glaring at me angrily. They thrust out their
tongues and made the most horrid grimaces. I was so frightened that I
jumped up, and ran out of the house, and shut the door.

But for the life of me, I could not leave the place without taking
another peep. I put my left eye to the latch-hole--and would you
believe it?--the house was just as it was when I entered it; the floor
was bare, and there sat Betty in her old clothes before the fire. Then
I winked, and looked with the right eye, and there was the beautiful
room, and Betty seated in her fine flower-gown, beneath the silken
canopy, while all the little Spriggans were dancing and capering around
her.

I tore myself away, glad to get out of the cove, and hurried to
Penzance to do my shopping, although it was so late. And as I was
standing in front of a booth, what should I see but a little Spriggan
helping himself to hanks of yarn, stockings, and all sorts of fine
things.

“Ah! Ha! my little man!” cried I. “Are you not ashamed to be carrying
on this way, stealing all those goods?”

“Is that thee, old Joan?” said he. “Which eye canst thou see me with?”

After winking both my eyes, I said: “’Tis plain enough that I can see
you with my right eye.”

Then in a twinkling he pointed his finger at my right eye, and mumbled
a spell, and I just caught the words:--

  “_Joan the Pry
  Shall nor peep nor spy,
  But shall lose
  Her charmèd eye!_”

Then he blew in my face, and was gone. And when I looked around, my
right eye was blind. And from that day to this I have never seen a
blink with my anointed eye.



THE FAIRY FOLK


  Up the airy mountain,
    Down the rushy glen,
  We daren’t go a-hunting
    For fear of little men;
  Wee folk, good folk,
    Trooping all together;
  Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl’s feather!

  Down along the rocky shore
    Some make their home,
  They live on crispy pancakes
    Of yellow tide-foam;
  Some in the reeds
    Of the black mountain-lake,
  With frogs for their watch-dogs,
    All night awake.

  High on the hill-top
    The old King sits;
  He is now so old and gray
    He’s nigh lost his wits.
  With a bridge of white mist
    Columbkill he crosses,
  On his stately journeys
    From Slieveleague to Rosses;
  Or going up with music,
    On cold starry nights,
  To sup with the Queen
    Of the gay Northern Lights.

  They stole little Bridget
    For seven years long;
  When she came down again
    Her friends were all gone.
  They took her lightly back,
    Between the night and morrow;
  They thought that she was fast asleep,
    But she was dead with sorrow.
  They have kept her ever since
    Deep within the lakes,
  On a bed of flag leaves,
    Watching till she wakes.

  By the craggy hillside,
    Through the mosses bare,
  They have planted thorn-trees
    For pleasure here and there.
  Is any man so daring
    As dig one up in spite?
  He shall find their sharpest thorns
    In his bed at night.

  Up the airy mountain,
    Down the rushy glen,
  We daren’t go a-hunting
    For fear of little men;
  Wee folk, good folk,
    Trooping all together;
  Green jacket, red cap,
    And white owl’s feather.

                     _William Allingham_



FAIRY SERVANTS IN THE HOUSE



        _Their dwellings be
  In corners of old houses least frequented
  Or beneath stacks of wood; and these convented
  Make fearful noise in butteries and in dairies;
  Robin Goodfellows some, some call them Fairies.
  In solitary rooms, these uproars keep;
  And beat at doors to wake men from their sleep._

         *       *       *       *       *

  _Pots, glasses, trenchers, dishes, pans, and kettles,
  They will make dance about the shelves and settles,
  As if about the kitchen tossed and cast,
  Yet in the morning nothing found misplaced!_

      FROM THE HIERARCHIE OF THE BLESSED ANGELLS (1635)



THE FAIRY’S SERVANTS

_From the Basque_


Once upon a time there was a poor woman who had three daughters.

One day the youngest said: “Mother, now that I am old enough, I wish to
go out to service.”

The mother thought to herself: “If this one goes, why, there will be
more to eat for the rest of us,” so she said: “Very well, good luck go
with you.”

The girl set out, and after she had walked a long way she came to a
beautiful city. A handsome lady met her, and asked:--

“Where are you going, my child?”

“I am going out to service,” replied the girl.

“Will you come with me to my home?” asked the lady.

“Yes, indeed,” said the girl, “and I’ll try to serve you faithfully.”

The lady led her to a large and fine house, and told her what work she
should do that day.

“We are Fairies,” said she. “I must go away for a short time, but do
you work in the kitchen while I am gone. Dig up the kitchen floor,
smash the pitcher, break the plates. Whip the children, throw dirt in
their faces, and rumple their hair.” Then the lady went away.

The girl, who thought these orders very strange, began to feed the
children. Just then a little dog came creeping up to her, wagging his
tail.

“Bow! Bow! Bow!” said he. “I, too, want something to eat!”

So the girl gave him a plateful of breakfast, and when he had eaten all
he wished, he said:--

“You are a good girl, and I will tell you what to do to please my
mistress. What she really meant was for you to sweep the kitchen floor,
fill the pitcher, wash the dishes, and dress and feed the children. Do
all this well, and she will give you the choice of a beautiful star
on your forehead or a donkey’s tail hanging from your nose. Then she
will offer you a sack of gold or a bag of charcoal. You must choose the
donkey’s tail and the bag of charcoal.”

Well, the girl did all as the little dog told her, and when the
mistress came home she smiled and said:--

“Choose which you will have, a beautiful star on your forehead, or a
donkey’s tail hanging from your nose.”

“A donkey’s tail is the same to me,” said the girl.

“Will you have a sack of gold or a bag of charcoal?” asked the lady.

“The bag of charcoal is the same to me,” said the girl.

Then the lady placed a beautiful star on her forehead, and gave her a
big sackful of gold, and told her she might go back to her mother.

The girl thanked the lady, and leaving the house hastened home. When
her mother and sisters saw how pretty she was with the star on her
forehead, and when they felt the big sack of gold on her shoulder, they
were astonished.

Then the eldest sister began to cry and say: “Mother, I will go out and
be a servant, too!”

“No! no! my child,” said the mother, “I will not let you go.”

But the girl wept, and would not leave her mother in peace until she
said, “Go”; then she set off and walked until she came to the Fairy
city.

The handsome lady met her and asked:--

“Where are you going, my child?”

“I am going out to service,” said the girl.

“Will you come with me to my home?” asked the lady.

The girl said she would, so the lady led her to the large and fine
house and told her what work she should do that day.

“Dig up the kitchen floor,” said she, “smash the pitcher, break the
plates. Whip the children, throw dirt in their faces, and rumple their
hair.” Then she went away.

As soon as the lady was gone, the girl began to eat up all the good
things in the pantry. Just then the little dog came creeping up to her,
wagging his tail.

“Bow! Bow! Bow! I, too, want something to eat,” he said.

“Go away, you horrid little beast,” answered the girl, and she gave him
a kick.

But the little dog would not leave her, and followed her about until
she drove him from the kitchen with blows. Then she dug up the kitchen
floor, smashed the pitcher, broke all the plates, whipped the children,
threw dirt in their faces, and rumpled their hair.

By and by the mistress came home, and when she saw what the girl had
been doing she frowned and said:--

“Choose which you will have, a beautiful star on your forehead or a
donkey’s tail hanging from your nose.”

“A star on my forehead for me,” said the girl.

“Will you have a sack of gold or a bag of charcoal?” asked the lady.

“A sack of gold for me,” said the girl.

Then the lady hung a donkey’s tail on the end of her nose, and gave her
a big bag of charcoal, and sent her back to her home. And when her
mother saw her she was so ashamed that she locked her in the cellar.

As for the youngest girl, she shared her sack of gold with her mother
and other sister, and then she married a fine young man, and lived
happily ever after.



THE PIXIES

_From England_


There was once a little cottage in the middle of a flower garden. Its
walls were covered with roses, and its porch was twined with clematis.
The bees buzzed over the flowers, and the butterflies fluttered about
the porch. And a hundred little green Pixies lived in the wood near by.

In this cottage two orphan sisters dwelt all alone. One morning the
elder sister, Mary, got up at break of day. She milked the cow, churned
the butter, swept the hearth, and made the breakfast. Then she sat on
the porch to spin, and sang:--

  “_How merrily the wheel goes round,
  With a whirring, humming sound!_”

But the younger sister, Alice, lay in bed asleep. Then Mary put her
spinning aside, and called:--

“Wake, Alice, wake! There is much for you to do while I go to the
market-town. I must sell our yarn, and buy your new dress. While I am
gone, don’t forget to bring in the firewood, drain the honeycomb, and
fill the Pixies’ water-pail.”

But Alice did not answer. So Mary put on her hood and took her basket
full of yarn. She walked all the way to the market-town and sold her
yarn, and bought the new dress. Then she walked home again.

The sun was set when she reached the cottage, and Alice was sitting
idle on the porch. The honeycomb was not drained, the firewood was not
brought in, the bed was not made, and the supper was uncooked. And
although Mary was tired and hungry, she had to cook the supper and make
the bed. Then the sisters went to sleep.

By and by, the hundred little green Pixies came creeping, creeping
into the kitchen. They pattered softly about and whispered so that the
sisters should not hear them. Some ran to the spinning-wheel and began
to spin, others built a fire under the oven, and mixed and kneaded the
bread. One took a broom and swept the floor, and another brought in the
firewood.

When all the yarn was spun, the bread baked, and the kitchen tidy, the
Pixies ran to the water-pail to get a drink. But there was not a drop
of water in it! And, oh! how angry they were!

Then Mary awoke, and cried: “Alice! Alice! Don’t you hear those angry
buzzings? Surely you did not forget to fill the Pixies’ water-pail!”

But Alice answered: “I did not draw the water to-day. And I will not
leave my bed now to fetch it for any little Pixy!” Then she went to
sleep again.

But Mary got up, and, though her feet were tired and sore, she took the
pail and ran through the garden to the spring. And as she stooped she
saw a hundred little faces laughing at her from the water. She dipped
her pail, and they were gone. She lifted the full pail, and felt little
hands seize it and bear it along. It was carried to the door, and into
the kitchen, and set down by the hearth. But she could see no one, so
she went to bed again.

The next morning early, Mary got up. She ran to the pail and looked
into it. Then she clapped her hands and called:--

“Come, Alice, come! See the silver pennies shining at the bottom of the
clear water! There must be a hundred of them! Come, sister, dear!”

Then Alice, waking, tried to sit up. But she screamed with fright,
for she could not move her hands and feet. Indeed, she could not rise
at all! And that day, and the next, and for many days after, she lay
helpless on her bed, and Mary fed and comforted her.

And every night the hundred little green Pixies came creeping, creeping
into the kitchen. They swept, they baked, they sewed, they spun, and
they drank from Mary’s water-pail. And every night they left one piece
of silver there.

And so a whole year passed, and Alice lay and thought, and thought, and
thought about her idle ways. And one night she called Mary to her, and
wept and said:--

“Oh, sister, if only I could get up to-morrow, and feel the warm
sunshine and play among the flowers! And if only I were strong enough
to work for you, as you have worked for me!”

And Mary kissed and comforted her.

The next morning came, and Mary got up at break of day. She ran and
looked into the water-pail. Then she clapped her hands and called:--

“Come, Alice, come! See the silver pennies shining at the bottom of the
clear water! There must be a hundred of them! Come, sister, dear!”

And Alice forgot that she could not move. She sprang lightly out of bed
and ran into the kitchen. And she was all well and happy again!

And oh, how glad the sisters were! How they kissed each other and
laughed with joy! They milked the cow, and churned, and baked, and
cooked, and sat spinning on the porch. And the bees buzzed, and the
butterflies fluttered, and the sisters sang:--

  “_How merrily the wheels go round,
  With a whirring, humming sound!_”



THE BROWNIE OF BLEDNOCH

_From Scotland_


OLD MADGE’S TALE

Have you ever heard of the Brownie, Aiken-Drum? No? Well, I will tell
you how he came to Blednoch. It was in the Autumn time. The red sun was
setting, when through our town he passed crying, oh! so wearily:--

  “_Have ye work for Aiken-Drum?
  Have ye work for Aiken-Drum?_”

He tirled at the pin, and entered in. I trow the boldest there stood
back! You should have heard the children scream. The black dog barked,
the lasses shrieked, at the sight of Aiken-Drum.

His matted head lay on his breast. A long blue beard fell to his waist.
Around his hairy form was wrapped a cloth of woven rushes green. His
long, thin arms trailed on the ground. His hands were claws; his feet
had no toes. Oh, fearful to see was Aiken-Drum! And all the time he
cried so wearily, so drearily:--

  “_Have ye work for Aiken-Drum?
  Have ye work for Aiken-Drum?_”

Then the brave goodman stood forth, and said: “What would you? Whence
come you by land or sea?”

Then what a groan gave Aiken-Drum! “I come from a land where I
never saw the sky! But now I’ll bide with you, if ye have work for
Aiken-Drum! I’ll watch your sheep and tend your kine, each night till
day. I’ll thresh your grain by the light of the moon. I’ll sing strange
songs to your bonny bairns, if ye’ll but keep poor Aiken-Drum! I’ll
churn the cream, I’ll knead the bread, I’ll tame the wildest colts ye
have, if ye’ll but keep poor Aiken-Drum! No clothes nor gold is wage
for me. A bowl of porridge on the warm hearthstone is wage enough for
Aiken-Drum!”

“The Brownie speaks well,” said the old housewife. “Our workers are
scarce. We have much to do. Let us try this Aiken-Drum.”

Then should you have seen the Brownie work! By night he swept the
kitchen clean. He scoured the pots until they shone. By the light of
the moon he threshed the grain. He gathered the crops into the barn. He
watched the sheep and tended the kine. By day he played with the bonny
bairns, and sang them strange songs of the land without sky. So passed
the months away, and all farm-things throve for the goodman and the old
housewife.

But when the cold night winds blew hard, a lass, who saw the Brownie’s
clothes woven all of rushes green, made him a suit of sheep’s wool
warm. She placed it by his porridge bowl. And that night was heard a
wailing cry, so weary and so dreary:--

  “_Long, long may I now weep and groan!
  Wages of clothes are now my own!
  O luckless Aiken-Drum!_”

And down the street and through the town, his voice came back upon the
wind:--

  “_Farewell to Blednoch!
  Farewell! Farewell!_”

And never again in all that land was seen the Brownie Aiken-Drum!



ELSA AND THE TEN ELVES

_From Sweden_


Once upon a time a little girl named Elsa lived on a farm. She was
pretty, sweet-tempered, and generous, but she did not like to work. Her
father was very proud of her, and sent her to school in the city. She
learned to read, write, sing, and dance, but still she did not know how
to cook, sew, or care for a house.

When she grew older, she was so good and beautiful that many young
men wished her for a wife, but she said “No” to all except to her
neighbour, Gunner, a handsome, industrious young farmer. Soon they were
married, and went to live on his farm.

At first all was happiness, but as the days passed, and Elsa did not
direct the servants or look after the house, everything went wrong. The
storerooms were in disorder, the food was stolen, and the house dirty.
Poor Gunner was at his wits’ end; he loved Elsa too much to scold her.

The day before Christmas came, the sun had been up for a long time, and
still Elsa lay in bed. A servant ran into her room, saying:--

“Dear mistress, shall we get ready the men’s luncheon so that they may
go to the woods?”

“Leave the room,” said Elsa sleepily, “and do not waken me again!”

Another servant came running in. “Dear mistress,” she cried, “the
leaven is working, and if you come quickly the bread will be better
than usual.”

“I want candlewicks, dear mistress,” called a third.

“And what meat shall we roast for to-morrow’s feast?” shouted a fourth.

And so it was; servant after servant came running into the room asking
for orders, but Elsa would neither answer nor get up.

Last of all came Gunner, impatient because his men had not yet started
for the woods.

“Dear Elsa,” he said gently, “my mother used to prepare things the
night before, so that the servants might begin work early. We are now
going to the woods, and shall not be back until night. Remember there
are a few yards of cloth on the loom waiting to be woven.” Then Gunner
went away.

As soon as he was gone, Elsa got up in a rage, and, dressing herself,
ran through the kitchen to the little house where the loom was kept.
She slammed the door behind her, and threw herself down on a couch.

“No!” she screamed. “I won’t!--I won’t endure this drudgery any more!
Who would have thought that Gunner would make a servant of me, and wear
my life out with work? Oh, me! Oh, me! Is there no one from far or near
to help me?”

“I can,” said a deep voice.

And Elsa, raising her head with fright, saw standing close to her an
old man wrapped in a gray cloak and wearing a broad-brimmed hat.

“I am Old Man Hoberg,” he said, “and have served your family for many
generations. You, my child, are unhappy because you are idle. To love
work is a joy. I will now give you ten obedient servants who shall do
all your tasks for you.”

He shook his cloak, and out of its folds tumbled ten funny little men.
They capered and pranced about, making faces. Then they swiftly put the
room in order and finished weaving the cloth on the loom. After all was
done they ran and stood in an obedient row before Elsa.

“Dear child, reach hither your hands,” said the old man.

And Elsa, trembling, gave him the tips of her fingers.

Then he said:--

  “_Hop-o’-My-Thumb,
  Lick-the-Pot,
  Long-Pole,
  Heart-in-Hand,
  Little-Peter-Funny-Man,
  Away all of you to your places!_”

And in the twinkling of an eye the little men vanished into Elsa’s
fingers, and the old man disappeared.

Elsa could hardly believe what had happened, and sat staring at her
hands. Suddenly a wonderful desire to work came over her. She could sit
still no longer.

“Why am I idling here?” cried she cheerfully. “It is late in the
morning and the house is not in order! The servants are waiting.” And
up she jumped and hastened into the kitchen, and was soon giving orders
and singing while she prepared the dinner.

And when Gunner came home that night all was clean and bright to
welcome him, and the smell of good things to eat filled the house.

And after that day Elsa rose early each morning, and went about her
work sweet-tempered and happy. No one was more pleased and proud than
she to see how the work of the farmhouse prospered under her hands. And
health, wealth, and happiness came and stayed with Elsa and Gunner.



PISKEY FINE! AND PISKEY GAY!

_From Cornwall_


’Tis told in the west country, how the Piskey threshed the corn, and
did other odd jobs for Farmer Boslow as long as the old man lived. And
after his death the Piskey worked for his widow. And this is how she
lost the little fellow.

One night, when the hills were covered with snow, and the wind was
blowing hard, the Widow Boslow left in the barn, for the Piskey, a
larger bowl than usual full of milk thickened with oatmeal. It was
clear moonlight, and she stopped outside the door, and peeped in to see
if the Piskey would come to eat his supper while it was hot.

The moonlight shone through a little window on to the barn floor; and
there, sitting on a sheaf of oats, she saw the Piskey greedily eating
his thickened milk. He soon emptied the bowl and scraped it as clean
with the wooden spoon as if it had been washed. Then he placed them
both in a corner, and stood up and patted and stroked his stomach, and
smacked his lips, as if to say: “That’s good of the old dear! See if I
don’t thresh well for her to-night!”

But when the Piskey turned around, the widow saw that he had nothing
on but rags, and very few of them.

“How the poor Piskey must suffer!” thought she. “He has to pass most
of his time out among the rushes in the boggy moor, and his legs are
naked, and his breeches are full of holes. I’ll make the poor fellow a
good warm suit of home-spun, at once!”

No sooner thought than she went home and began the suit. In a day
or two she had made a coat and breeches, and knitted a long pair of
sheep’s wool stockings, with garters and a nightcap all nicely knitted,
too.

When night came, the widow placed the Piskey’s new clothes and a big
bowl of thickened milk on the barn floor, just where the moonlight fell
brightest. Then she went outside, and peeped through the door.

Soon she saw the Piskey eating his supper, and squinting at the new
clothes. Laying down his empty bowl, he took the things, and put them
on over his rags. Then he began capering and jumping around the barn,
singing:--

  “_Piskey fine! and Piskey gay!
  Piskey now will run away!_”

And sure enough, he bolted out of the door, and passed the widow,
without so much as “I wish you well till I see you again!” And he never
came back to the farm.



THE FAIRY WEDDING

_From Sweden_


Once upon a time there was a lovely young girl, daughter of rich
parents, who was known for her gentleness and goodness.

One night, while she was lying awake in her bed, watching the moonbeams
dance on the floor, her door was softly opened. Then in tripped a
little Fairy man clad in a gray jacket and red cap. He came lightly
toward her bed, nodding in a most friendly way.

“Do not be afraid, dear lady,” he said. “I have come to ask a favour of
you.”

“And I will do it willingly, if I can,” answered the girl, who had
begun to recover from her fright.

“Oh, it will not be difficult!” said the Fairy man. “For many years I
and mine have lived under the floor of your kitchen, just where the
water-cask stands. But the cask has become old and leaky, so that we
are continually annoyed by the dripping of water. Our home is never
dry.”

“That shall be seen to in the morning,” said the girl.

“Thank you, dear lady,” said the Fairy man, and making an elegant bow,
he disappeared as softly as he had come.

The next day, at the girl’s request, her parents had the water-cask
removed. And after that, to the surprise of the servants, the
kitchen-work was done at night when all slept, and never a pitcher
or glass was broken in the house from that day forth. So the Fairies
showed their gratitude.

Well, a few months after this, the pretty young girl was again lying
awake in her bed, watching the moonbeams dance on the floor, when again
her door was opened softly, and the Fairy man stole in.

“Dear lady,” said he, smiling and bowing, “now I have another request
to make, which, in your kindness, you will surely not refuse to grant.”

“What is it?” asked she.

“Will you honour me and my house, to-night,” he replied, “and stand at
the christening of my newly born daughter?”

The girl arose and dressing herself, followed the Fairy man through
many passages and rooms that she had never known existed. At last they
entered a small but elegant apartment, in which a host of Fairies were
assembled. They immediately christened the Fairy baby. And as the
little man was about to conduct the girl again to her room, the Fairies
filled her pockets with what looked like shavings.

The little man then led her back through the same winding passages, and
as soon as she was safely in her room, he said:--

“If we should meet at another time, you must never laugh at me and
mine. We love you for your goodness and modesty, but if you laugh at
us, you and I shall never see each other again.”

When he was gone the girl threw all the shavings into the fireplace,
and lay down, and went to sleep. And, lo, the next morning when the
maid came in to build the fire, she found in the ashes the most
beautiful jewelry, all of pure gold set with gems, and of the finest
workmanship!

Now, it happened, some time after this, that the girl’s wedding day
arrived. There was great bustling, and preparations for a splendid
feast. At length the wedding hour came. The bride, beautifully dressed
and wearing her Fairy jewels and a crown on her golden hair, was
conducted to the hall where the guests were waiting.

During the ceremony she chanced to glance around the hall. She saw,
near the fireplace, all her friends the Fairies gathered for a
wedding feast. The bridegroom was a little Elf, and the bride was her
goddaughter, and the feast was spread on a golden table.

No one but the girl could see the Fairies. Just at that moment one of
the Elves, who was acting as waiter at the Fairy bridal, stumbled over
a twig that lay on the floor, and fell. Forgetting the caution that
the little man had given her, the girl burst into a hearty laugh.

Instantly the golden table, the Elfin bridegroom and bride, and all the
Fairy guests vanished. And from that day to this, no work was ever done
at night in that kitchen, nor were any Fairies ever seen about that
house.



THE TOMTS

_From Sweden_


Every child knows--or ought to know if he does not know--that the Tomt
is a queer little Elfin man, old and wizen, and clad in gray clothes
and red cap. He lives in the pantry or in the barn. At night he washes
the dishes and sweeps the kitchen floor, or threshes the farmer’s corn
and looks after his sheep. Oh, the Tomt is a very friendly Elf, but his
feelings are easily hurt! And if any one is impolite to him, he runs
away, and is never seen again.

Now, it happened, once upon a time, that there was a farmer whose crops
and flocks and herds prospered so well that all knew he was aided by
a Tomt. In fact he became the richest farmer in his neighbourhood.
Although he had few servants, his house was always in order, and his
grain nicely threshed. But he never saw the Elf who did all these
things for him.

One night he decided to watch and see who worked in his barn. He hid
behind a door. By and by he saw, not _one_ Tomt, but a _multitude_ of
Tomts come into the barn. Each carried a stalk of rye; but the littlest
Tomt of all, not bigger than a thumb, puffed and breathed very hard,
although he carried but a straw on his shoulder.

“Why do you puff so hard?” cried the farmer from his hiding-place.
“Your burden is not so great!”

“His burden is according to his strength, for he is but one night old,”
answered one of the Tomts. “Hereafter you shall have less!”

And with that all the little men vanished, and the grain lay unthreshed
on the barn floor.

And from that day all luck disappeared from the farmer’s house, and he
was soon reduced to beggary.



SONG OF THE ELFIN MILLER


  Full merrily rings the millstone round,
    Full merrily rings the wheel,
  Full merrily gushes out the grist--
    Come, taste my fragrant meal!
  As sends the lift its snowy drift,
    So the meal comes in a shower;
  Work, Fairies, fast, for time flies past--
    I borrowed the mill an hour.

  The miller he’s a worldly man,
    And maun hae double fee;
  So draw the sluice of the churl’s dam,
    And let the stream come free.
  Shout, Fairies, shout! see, gushing out,
    The meal comes like a river:
  The top of the grain on hill and plain
    Is ours, and shall be ever.

  One Elf goes chasing the wild bat’s wing
    And one the white owl’s horn;
  One hunts the fox for the white o’ his tail,
    And we winna hae him till morn.
  One idle Fay, with the glow-worm’s ray,
    Runs glimmering ’mong the mosses:
  Another goes tramp wi’ the Will-o-wisps’ lamp,
    To light a lad to the lasses.

  Oh, haste, my brown Elf, bring me corn
    From Bonnie Blackwood plains;
  Go, gentle Fairy, bring me grain
    From green Dalgona mains;
  But, pride of a’ at Closeburn ha’,
    Fair is the corn and fatter;
  Taste Fairies, taste, a gallanter grist
    Has never been wet with water.

  Hilloah! my hopper is heaped high;
    Hark to the well-hung wheels!
  They sing for joy; the dusty roof
    It clatters and it reels.
  Haste, Elves, and turn yon mountain burn--
    Bring streams that shine like siller;
  The dam is down, the moon sinks soon,
    And I maun grind my miller.

  Ha! bravely done, my wanton Elves,
    That is a foaming stream:
  See how the dust from the mill flies,
    And chokes the cold moon-beam.
  Haste, Fairies, fleet come baptized feet,
    Come sack and sweep up clean,
  And meet me soon, ere sinks the moon,
    In thy green vale, Dalreen.

                          _Allan Cunningham_



FAYS OF WATER, WOOD, AND MEADOW



  _Over hill, over dale,
    Through bush, through briar,
  Over park, over pale,
    Through flood, through fire,
    I do wander everywhere,
    Swifter than the moon’s sphere;
  And I serve the Fairy Queen,
  To dew her orbs upon the green.
  The Cowslips tall her pensioners be;
  In their gold coats spots you see;
  Those be rubies, Fairy favours,
  In those freckles live their savours.
  I must go seek some dew-drops here,
  And hang a pearl in every Cowslip’s ear._

                                SHAKESPEARE



KINTARO THE GOLDEN BOY

_From Japan_


Once upon a time a poor widow and her little boy lived in a cave in the
midst of a great forest. The little one’s name was Kintaro the Golden
Boy. He was a sturdy fellow with red cheeks and laughing eyes. He was
different from other boys. When he fell down, he sang cheerily; if he
wandered away from the cave, he could always find his way home again;
and while he was yet very small, he could swing a heavy axe in circles
round his head.

Kintaro grew to be ten years old, and a handsome, manly lad he was.
Then his mother looked at him often and sighed deeply. “Must my child
grow up in this lonely forest!” thought she sadly. “Will he never take
his place in the world of men! Alas! Alas!”

But Kintaro was perfectly happy. The forest was full of his playmates.
Every living thing loved him. When he lay on his bed of ferns, the
birds flew nestling to his shoulder, and peeped into his eyes. The
butterflies and moths settled on his face, and trod softly over his
brown body. But his truest friends were the bears that dwelt in the
forest. When he was tired of walking, a mother-bear carried him on
her back. Her cubs ran to greet him, and romped and wrestled with him.
Sometimes Kintaro would climb up the smooth-barked monkey-tree, and
sit on the topmost bough, and laugh at the vain efforts of his shaggy
cub-friends to follow him. Then came the bears’ supper-time, and the
feast of golden liquid honey!

Now, it happened, one Summer, that there was to be a great day of
sports for the forest creatures. Soon after dawn, a gentle-eyed stag
came to waken Kintaro. The boy, with a farewell kiss to his mother, and
a caress to the stag, leaped on his friend’s back, and wound his arms
around his soft neck. And away they went with long, noiseless bounds
through the forest.

Up hill, across valleys, through thickets they bounded, until they
reached a leafy spot in a wide, green glade near a foaming cataract.
There the stag set Kintaro down; and the boy seated himself on a mossy
stone, and began to whistle sweetly.

Immediately the forest rustled with living things. The song-birds came
swiftly to his call. The eagle and the hawk flew from distant heights.
The crane and the heron stepped proudly from their hyacinth-pools and
hastened to the glade. All Kintaro’s feathered friends flocked thither
and rested in the cedar branches. Then through the undergrowth came
running the wolf, the bear, the badger, the fox, and the martin, and
seated themselves around Kintaro.

They all began to speak to him. He listened as they told their joys and
sorrows, and he spoke graciously to each. For Kintaro had learned the
languages of beasts, birds, and flowers.

And who had taught Kintaro all this? The Tengus, the Wood-Elves.
And even while he was listening to the forest creatures, the Tengus
themselves came tumbling out of the trees, or popping up from behind
stones. Very strange little Elves they were! Each had the body of a
man, the head of a hawk, powerful claws, and a long, long nose that
usually trailed on the ground. And every little Tengu wore on his feet
tiny stilt-like clogs.

All these queer Wood-Elves came toward Kintaro, walking very proudly
with their arms crossed, heads well thrown back, and long noses held
erect in the air. At their head was the Chief Tengu, very old, with a
gray beard and a sharp beak.

The Chief Tengu seated himself beside Kintaro on the mossy stone, and
waved a seven-feathered fan in the air. Immediately the sports began.

The young Tengus were fond of games. They found their long noses most
useful. They now fenced with them, and balanced bowls full of goldfish
on them. Then two of the Tengus straightened their noses, and joined
them together, and so made a tight rope. On this a young Tengu, with a
paper umbrella in one hand, and leading a little dog with the other,
danced and jumped through a hoop. And all the time an old Tengu sang a
dance-song, and another Tengu beat time with a fan.

Kintaro cheered loudly, and clapped his hands; and the beasts and birds
barked, hissed, growled, or sang for pleasure. So the morning passed
swiftly and delightfully, and the time came for the forest animals to
take part in the sports. They did so running, leaping, tumbling, and
flying.

Last of all stood up a great father-bear to wrestle with Kintaro. Now,
the boy had been taught to fight by his friends the Tengus; and he
had learned from them many skilful tricks. So he and the bear gripped
each other, and began to wrestle very hard. The bear was powerful and
strong, and his claws like iron, but Kintaro was not afraid. Backward
and forward they swayed, and struggled, while the Tengus and the forest
creatures sat watching.

Now, it happened that the great Hero Raiko was just returning from
slaying many horrible ogres and hags. His way lay through the forest,
and at that moment he heard the noise of the wrestling. He stopped his
horse and peered through the trees into the glade. There he saw the
circle of animals and little Tengus, and Kintaro struggling with the
powerful bear. Just at that moment the boy, with a skilful movement,
threw the clumsy creature to the ground.

“I must have that boy for my son,” thought Raiko. “He will make a great
hero! He must be mine!”

So he waited until Kintaro had mounted the stag and bounded away
through the forest. Then Raiko followed him on his swift steed to the
cave.

When Kintaro’s mother learned that Raiko was the mighty warrior who had
slain the ogres and hags, she let him take her son to his castle. But
before Kintaro went, he called together all his friends, the Tengus,
the birds, and the beasts, and bade them farewell, in words that they
remember to this day.

His mother did not follow her son to the land of men, for she loved the
forest best; but Kintaro, when he became a great hero, often came to
see her in her home. And all the people of Japan called him “Kintaro
the Golden Boy.”



THE FLOWER FAIRIES

_From China_


Once upon a time, high on a mountain-side, there was a place where many
beautiful flowers grew, mostly Peonies and Camellias. A young man named
Hwang, who wished to study all alone, built himself a little house near
by.

One day he noticed from his window a lovely young girl dressed in
white, wandering about among the flowers. He hastened out of the house
to see who she was, but she ran behind a tall white Peony, and vanished.

Hwang was very much astonished, and sat down to watch. Soon the girl
slipped from behind the white Peony, bringing another girl with her who
was dressed in red. They wandered about hand in hand until they came
near Hwang, when the girl in red gave a scream, and together the two
ran back among the flowers, their robes and long sleeves fluttering in
the wind and scenting all the air. Hwang dashed after them, but they
had vanished completely.

That evening, as Hwang was sitting over his books, he was astonished to
see the white girl walk into his little room. With tears in her eyes
she seemed to be pleading with him to help her. Hwang tried to comfort
her, but she did not speak. Then, sobbing bitterly, she suddenly
vanished.

This appeared to Hwang as very strange. However, the next day a visitor
came to the mountain, who, after wandering among the flowers, dug up
the tall white Peony, and carried it off. Hwang then knew that the
white girl was a Flower Fairy; and he became very sad because he had
permitted the Peony to be carried away. Later he heard that the flower
had lived only a few days. At this he wept, and, going to the place
where the Peony had stood, watered the spot with his tears.

While he was weeping, the girl in red suddenly stood before him,
wringing her hands, and wiping her eyes.

“Alas!” cried she, “that my dear sister should have been torn from my
side! But the tears, Hwang, that you have shed, may be the means of
restoring her to us!”

Having said this, the red girl disappeared. But that very night Hwang
dreamed that she came to him, and seemed to implore him to help her,
just as the white girl had done. In the morning he found that a new
house was to be erected close by, and that the builder had given orders
to cut down a beautiful tall red Camellia.

Hwang prevented the destruction of the flower; and that same evening,
as he sat watching the Camellia, from behind its tall stem came the
white girl herself, hand in hand with her red sister.

“Hwang,” said the red girl, “the King of the Flower Fairies, touched by
your tears, has restored my white sister to us. But as she is now only
the ghost of a flower, she must dwell forever in a white Peony, and you
will never see her again.”

At these words Hwang caught hold of the white girl’s hand, but it
melted away in his; and both the sisters vanished forever from his
sight. In despair he looked wildly around him, and all that he saw was
a tall white Peony and a beautiful red Camellia.

After that Hwang pined, and fell ill, and died. He was buried at his
own request, by the side of the white Peony; and before very long
another white Peony grew up very straight and tall on Hwang’s grave; so
that the two flowers stood lovingly side by side.



THE FAIRY ISLAND

_From Cornwall_


In ancient days, in the land of Wales, there was a blue lake on a high
mountain. No one had ever seen a bird fly near it. And over its waves
came faint strains of delicious music, that seemed to float from a
dimly seen island in its centre. No one had ever ventured to sail on
its water, for every one knew that it was the abode of the Tylwyth Teg,
the Water Fairies.

It happened, one lovely Summer day, that a hunter was wandering along
the margin of the lake, and found himself before an open door in a
rock. He entered, and walked along a dark passage that led downward. He
followed this for some time, and suddenly found himself passing through
another door, that opened on the mysterious, lovely island, the home of
the Tylwyth Teg.

All around him was a most enchanting garden, where grew every sort
of delicious fruit and fragrant flower. The next moment a number of
Fairies advanced toward him, and graciously welcomed him to their
abode. They bade him eat as much fruit as he wished, and pick the
flowers, but told him not to take anything away with him.

All day he remained on the island, listening to the most ravishing
music, and feasting and dancing with the Fairies.

When it came time for him to leave, he hid a flower in his bosom, for
he wished to show it to his friends at home. He then said farewell to
the Fairies, and returned through the dark passage to the margin of the
lake. But when he put his hand in his bosom to pull out the flower, he
found to his amazement that it had vanished. At the same moment he fell
insensible to the ground.

When he came to himself, the door in the rock had disappeared. And
though he searched day after day, he never again found the passage to
the Fairy Island.



THE FOUR-LEAVED CLOVER

_From Cornwall_


Some years ago, in Cornwall, there was a farmer who owned a fine red
cow, named Rosy. She gave twice as much milk as any ordinary cow. Even
in Winter, when other cows were reduced to skin and bone, Rosy kept in
good condition, and yielded richer milk than ever.

One Spring, Rosy continued to give plenty of milk every morning,
but at night, when Molly the maid tried to milk her, she kicked the
bucket over and galloped away across the field. This happened night
after night, and such behaviour was so strange, that Dame Pendar, the
farmer’s wife, decided to see what she could do. But no sooner did she
try to milk Rosy than the cow put up her foot, kicked the bucket to
bits, and raced away, bellowing, tail-on-end.

During this Spring the farmer’s cattle and fields thrived wonderfully.
And so things continued until May Day. Now, on May Day night, when
Molly attempted, as usual, to milk Rosy, she was surprised to see
the cow stand quietly and to hear her begin to moo gently; and, more
wonderful still, the pail was soon full of foaming new milk. Molly rose
from her stool, and, pulling a handful of grass, rolled it into a pad,
and tucked it in her hat, so that she might the more easily carry the
bucket on her head.

She put the hat on again, when what was her amazement to see whole
swarms of little Fairies running around Rosy, while others were on
her back, neck, and head, and still others were under her, holding up
clover blossoms and buttercups in which to catch the streams of milk
that flowed from her udder. The little Fairies moved around so swiftly
that Molly’s head grew dizzy as she watched them. Rosy seemed pleased.
She tried to lick the Little People. They tickled her behind the horns,
ran up and down her back, smoothing each hair or chasing away the
flies. And after all the Fairies had drunk their fill, they brought
armfuls of clover and grass to Rosy; and she ate it all, and lowed for
more.

Molly stood with her bucket on her head, like one spell-bound, watching
the Little People; and she would have continued to stand there, but
Dame Pendar, the farmer’s wife, called her loudly to know why she had
not brought the milk, if there was any.

At the first sound of Dame Pendar’s voice, all the Fairies pointed
their fingers at Molly, and made such wry faces that she was frightened
almost to death. Then--_whisk!_ and they were gone!

Molly hurried to the house, and told her mistress, and her master, too,
all that she had seen.

“Surely,” said Dame Pendar, “you must have a Four-leaved Clover
somewhere about you. Give me the wad of grass in your hat.”

Molly took it out, and gave it to her; and sure enough there was the
Four-leaved Clover which had opened Molly’s eyes on that May Day.

As for Rosy, she kicked up her heels, and, bellowing like mad, galloped
away. Over meadows and moors she went racing and roaring, and was never
seen again.



THE GILLIE DHU

_From Scotland_


Once upon a time a little girl, named Jessie, was wandering in the
wood, and lost her way. It was Summer time, and the air was warm. She
wandered on and on, trying to find her way home, but she could not find
the path out of the wood. Twilight came, and weary and footsore she sat
down under a fir tree, and began to cry.

“Why are you crying, little girl?” said a voice behind her.

Jessie looked around, and saw a pretty little man dressed in moss and
green leaves. His eyes were dark as dark, and his hair was black as
black, and his mouth was large and showed a hundred white teeth as
small as seed pearls. He was smiling merrily, and his cream-yellow
cheeks were dimpled, and his eyes soft and kindly. Indeed, he seemed so
friendly that Jessie quite forgot to be afraid.

“Why are you crying, little girl?” he asked again. “Your tear-drops are
falling like dew on the blue flowers at your feet!”

“I’ve lost my way,” sobbed Jessie, “and the night is coming on.”

“Do not cry, little girl,” said he gently. “I will lead you through
the wood. I know every path--the rabbit’s path, the hare’s path, the
fox’s path, the goat’s path, the path of the deer, and the path of men.”

“Oh, thank you! Thank you!” exclaimed Jessie, as she looked the tiny
man up and down, and wondered to see his strange clothes.

“Where do you dwell, little girl?” asked he.

So Jessie told him, and he said: “You have been walking every way but
the right way. Follow me, and you’ll reach home before the stars come
out to peep at us through the trees.”

Then he turned around, and began to trip lightly in front of her, and
she followed on. He went so fast that she feared she might lose sight
of him, but he turned around again and again and smiled and beckoned.
And when he saw that she was still far behind, he danced and twirled
about until she came up. Then he scampered on as before.

At length Jessie reached the edge of the wood, and, oh, joy! there was
her father’s house beside the blue lake. Then the little man, smiling,
bade her good-bye.

“Have I not led you well?” said he. “Do not forget me. I am the Gillie
Dhu from Fairyland. I love little girls and boys. If you are ever lost
in the wood again, I will come and help you! Good-bye, little girl!
Good-bye!”

And laughing merrily, he trotted away, and was soon lost to sight among
the trees.



HOW KAHUKURA LEARNED TO MAKE NETS

_From New Zealand_


Once upon a time there lived a man named Kahukura. One evening, when he
was on his way to a distant village, he came to a lonely spot on the
seashore. As he was walking slowly along, he saw a large pile of the
heads and tails of fishes lying on the beach. Now, in those days men
had no nets and were obliged to catch fish with spears and hooks; and
when Kahukura saw the pile he was very much astonished.

“Who has had such luck!” he exclaimed. “It is hard to catch one fish!
Here must be the heads and tails of a thousand!”

Then he looked closely at the footprints in the sand. “No mortals have
been fishing here!” he cried. “Fairies must have done this! I will
watch to-night and see what they do.”

So when darkness came, he returned to the spot, and hid behind a rock.
He waited a long time, and at last he saw a fleet of tiny canoes come
spinning over the waves. They ranged themselves in a line at a distance
from the shore, and Kahukura could see many little figures in them
bending and pulling. He could even hear small voices shouting: “The
net here! The net there!” Then the little figures dropped something
overboard, and began to haul it toward the shore, singing very sweetly
the while.

When the canoes drew near land, Kahukura saw that each was crowded with
Fairies. They all sprang out upon the beach, and began to drag ashore a
great net filled with fishes.

While the Fairies were struggling with the net Kahukura joined them,
and hauled away at a rope. He was a very fair man, so that his skin
seemed almost as white as the Fairies’, and they did not notice him. So
he pulled away, and pulled away, and soon the net was landed.

The Fairies ran forward to divide the catch. It was just at the peep
of dawn, and they hurried to take all the fish they could carry, each
Fairy stringing his share by running a twig through the gills. And as
they strung the fish they kept calling out to one another:--

“Hurry! hurry! We must finish before the sun rises.”

Kahukura had a short string with a knot in the end, and he strung his
share on it, until it was filled. But when he lifted the string the
knot gave way, and all the fish slid to the ground. Then some of the
Fairies ran forward to help him, and tied the knot. Again he filled the
string and all the fish slid off, and again the Fairies tied the knot.

Meanwhile day began to break over the sea, and the sun to rise. Then
the Fairies saw Kahukura’s face, and knew that he was a man. They gave
little cries of terror. They ran this way and that in confusion. They
left their fish and canoes, they abandoned their net. And shrieking
they all vanished over the sea.

Kahukura, seeing that he was alone, made haste to examine the canoes.
They were only the stems of flax! He lifted the net. It was woven of
rushes curiously tied. He carried it home, and made some like it for
his neighbours. After that he taught his children how to weave nets.
And so, say the Maori folk, they all learned to make nets. And from
that day to this they have caught many fish.



ECHO, THE CAVE FAIRY

_From the Island of Mangaia_


In the very long ago, Rangi the Brave came from the
Land-of-the-Bright-Parrot-Feathers to the Island of Mangaia. Swiftly
over the blue waves sped his canoe. He stepped out upon the land, and
lay down to rest in the shade of a broad-leaved tree covered with
gorgeous blooms. And after he had slept and was refreshed, he arose and
wandered about the island.

Beautiful was the place with cocoa palms waving their tall fronds in
the air, and with banana trees heavy with golden fruit. But though
Rangi walked all that day and the next, he saw no human being. He
heard no sounds except the beat of the sea against the shore, and the
whirring of hundreds of bright-winged birds that passed like flashes of
blue, green, and crimson, from tree to tree, and from grove to grove.
Softly the perfumed breezes fanned his cheek, and played in his hair.

“Like a lovely dream is this island!” thought he, “but as lonely as the
sea on a moonlit night!”

Then to comfort himself he threw back his head and called: “Halloo!
Halloo!”

And from a pile of rocks overhanging a deep gorge, a voice answered:
“Halloo!”

“Who art thou?” cried Rangi in wonder. “What is thy name?”

And the voice answered more softly: “What is thy name?”

“Where art thou? Where art thou hidden?” he shouted.

And the voice answered mockingly: “Where art thou hidden?”

Then Rangi in anger shouted fiercely: “Accursed be thou, hide-and-seek
spirit!”

And the voice screamed back as if in derision: “Accursed be thou!”

Thereupon Rangi grasped his spear tighter, and strode toward the rocks,
determined to punish the insolent one. Leaping from boulder to boulder,
he entered the gorge. And ever as he proceeded, he shouted threats; and
ever the mocking voice answered from some distant spot.

The gorge grew darker and narrower, until Rangi suddenly found himself
in a wide-mouthed cavern. Its walls and roof glittered with pendant
crystals from which fell, drop by drop, clear water like dew. A white
mist rose from the rocky floor, and through it Rangi saw dimly a lovely
Fairy face gazing roguishly at him. It was wreathed in rippling hair,
and crowned with flowers. Archly it smiled, then melted away in the
mist.

“Who art thou?” whispered Rangi in awe. “Art thou Echo indeed?”

And from the glittering walls and roof came a thousand sweet answers:--


“Echo indeed!”



THE ISLES OF THE SEA FAIRIES


  Among the Isles of the Golden Mist,
    I lived for many a year;
  And all that chanced unto me there
    ’Tis well that ye should hear.

   *       *       *       *       *

  I dwelt in a hall of silvery pearl,
    With rainbow-light inlaid;
  I sate on a throne, old as the sea,
    Of the ruby coral made.

  They made me King of the Fairy Isles,
    That lie in the Golden Mist,
  Where the coral rocks and the silvery sand
    By singing waves are kissed.

  Far off, in the ocean solitudes,
    They lie, a glorious seven;
  Like a beautiful group of sister stars,
    In the untraced heights of heaven.

  Oh, beautiful Isles! where the coral rocks
    Like an ancient temple stand,
  Like a temple of wondrous workmanship
    For a lofty worship planned!

  Oh, beautiful Isles! And a Fairy race,
    As the dream of a poet, fair,
  Now hold the place by a charmèd spell,
    With power o’er sea and air.

  Their boats are made of the large pearl-shell
    That the waters cast to land;
  With carvèd prows more richly wrought
    Than works of mortal hand.

  They skim along the silver waves
    Without or sail or oar;
  Whenever the Fairy voyager would,
    The pearl-ship comes to shore.

  I loved that idle life for a time;
    But when that time was by,
  I pined again for another change,
    For the love in a human eye.

  They brought me then a glorious form,
    And gave her for my bride;
  I looked on her, and straight forgot
    That I was to earth allied.

   *       *       *       *       *

  For many a year and more, I dwelt
    In those Isles of soft delight;
  Where all was kind and beautiful,
    With neither death nor night.

  We danced on the sands when the silver moon
    Through the coral arches gleamed,
  And pathways broad of glittering light
    O’er the azure waters streamed.

  Then shot forth many a pearly boat,
    Like stars, across the sea;
  And songs were sung, and shells were blown
    That set wild music free.

  For many a year and more, I dwelt
    With neither thought nor care,
  Till I forgot almost my speech,
    Forgot both creed and prayer.

  At length it chanced that as my boat
    Went on its charmèd way,
  I came unto the veil of mist
    Which round the Seven Isles lay.

  Even then it was a Sabbath morn;
    A ship was passing by,
  And I heard a hundred voices raise
    A sound of psalmody.

  A mighty love came o’er my heart,
    A yearning toward my kind,
  And unwittingly I spoke aloud
    The impulse of my mind.

  “Oh, take me hence, ye Christian men!”
    I cried in spiritual want;
  Anon the Golden Mist gave way,
    That had been like adamant.

  The little boat wherein I sate
    Seemed all to melt away;
  And I was left upon the sea,
    Like Peter, in dismay.

  Those Christian mariners, amazed,
    Looked on me in affright;
  Some cried I was an evil Ghost,
    And some a Water-Sprite.

  But the chaplain seized the vessel’s boat,
    With mercy prompt and boon,
  And took me up into the ship
    As I fell into a swoon.

  In vain I told of what had happed;
    No man to me would list;
  They jested at the Fairy Isles,
    And at the Golden Mist.

  They swore I was a shipwrecked man,
    Tossed on the dreary main;
  And pitied me, because they thought
    My woes had crazed my brain.

  And soon a wondrous thing I saw;
    I now was old and gray,
  A man of threescore years and ten,--
    A weak man in decay!

  And yesterday, and I was young!
    Time did not leave a trace
  Upon my form, whilst I abode
    Within the charmèd place!

              _Mary Howitt_ (_Condensed_)



AWAY! AWAY! TO FAIRYLAND



  _But we that live in Fairyland
    No sickness know, nor pain;
  I quit my body when I will,
    And take to it again._

  _Our shapes and size we can convert
    To either large or small,
  An old nut-shell’s the same to us
    As is the lofty hall._

  _We sleep in rose-buds soft and sweet,
    We revel in the stream,
  We wanton lightly on the wind,
    Or glide on a sunbeam._

                            _Old Ballad_



THE MAGIC FERNS

_From Cornwall_


Not many years since there lived in Cornwall a pretty young girl named
Cherry. As she and her mother were poor, Cherry determined to go out to
service. So one morning early, she took her little bundle of clothes,
and started out to find a place with some respectable family. She
walked until she came to four cross-roads, and, not knowing which to
follow, she sat down on a boulder to think.

The spot where she sat was covered with beautiful ferns that curled
their delicate fronds over the boulder. And while she was lost in
thought, she unconsciously picked a few fronds and crushed them in her
hand.

Immediately she heard a strange voice at her elbow say:--

“My pretty young woman, what are you looking for?”

She glanced up, and saw standing near her a handsome young man, who was
holding a bunch of the ferns.

“I am looking for a place, sir,” said she.

“And what kind of a place do you wish?” asked he, with a sweet and
winning smile.

“I am not particular,” answered she. “I can make myself generally
useful.”

“Indeed!” said the stranger. “And do you think you could look after one
little boy?”

“That I’d love to do!” said she, smiling.

“Then,” replied he, “I wish to hire you for a year and a day. My home
is not far from here. Will you go with me, Cherry, and see it?”

Cherry stared in astonishment to hear him speak her name; and he
added:--

“Oh! I see you thought that I did not know you! I watched you one day
while you were dressing your hair beside one of my ponds; and I saw
you pluck some of my sweetest-scented violets to put in those lovely
tresses! But will you go with me, Cherry?”

“For a year and a day?” asked she.

“You need not be alarmed,” said he very kindly. “Just kiss the fern
leaf that is in your hand, and say:--

  ‘_For a year and a day
  I promise to stay!_’”

“Is that all!” said Cherry. So she kissed the fern leaf, and said the
words as he told her to.

Instantly the young man passed the bunch of ferns that he held over
both her eyes. The ground in front of her seemed to open; and, though
she did not feel herself move from the boulder where she sat, yet she
knew that she was going down rapidly into the earth.

“Here we are, Cherry,” said the young man. “Is there a tear of sorrow
under your eyelid? If so, let me wipe it away, for no human tear can
enter our dwelling.”

And as he spoke he brushed Cherry’s eyes with the fern leaves. And, lo!
before her was such a country as she had never dreamed of!

Hills and valleys were covered with flowers strangely brilliant, so
that the whole country appeared to be sown with gems that glittered in
a light as clear as that of the Summer sun, yet as mild as moonshine.
There were glimmering rivers, and singing waterfalls, and sparkling
fountains; while everywhere beautiful little ladies and gentlemen,
dressed in green and gold, were walking, or sitting on banks of
flowers. Oh! it was a wonderful world!

“Here we are at home!” said the young man--and strangely enough he was
changed! He had become the handsomest little man Cherry had ever seen,
and he wore a green silk coat covered with spangles of gold.

He led her into a noble mansion, the furniture of which was of ivory
and pearl, inlaid with gold and silver and studded with emeralds. After
passing through many rooms they came to one whose walls were hung with
lace as fine as the finest cobwebs, and most beautifully twined with
flowers. In the middle of the room was a cradle of wrought sea-shell,
reflecting so many colours that Cherry could scarcely bear to look at
it. The little man led her to this, and in it was lying asleep a little
boy so beautiful that he ravished the sight.

“This is your charge,” said the little man. “I am King of this country,
and I wish my son to know something of human nature. You have nothing
to do but to wash and dress the boy when he wakes, to take him walking
in the garden, to tell him stories, and to put him to sleep when he is
weary.”

Cherry was delighted beyond words, for at first sight she loved the
darling little boy. And when he woke, he seemed to love her just as
dearly. She was very happy, and cared tenderly for him; and the time
passed away with astonishing rapidity. In fact it seemed scarcely a
week later, when she opened her eyes and found everything about her
changed. Indeed, there she was lying in her own bed in her mother’s
cottage!

She heard her mother calling her name with joy; and the neighbours came
crowding around her bed. It was just one year and a day from the time
when she had sat on the boulder, and had met the fine young man. She
told her adventures to all, but they would not believe her. They shook
their heads and went away, saying: “Poor Cherry is certainly mad!”

From that day on, she was never happy, but sat pining, and dreaming of
the hour when she had picked the magic ferns. And though she often went
back to the boulder, she never again saw the young man, nor found the
way to Fairyland.



THE SMITH AND THE FAIRIES

_From Scotland_


Years ago there lived in Scotland an honest, hard-working smith. He had
only one child, a boy, fourteen years of age, cheerful, strong, and
healthy.

Suddenly the boy fell ill. He took to his bed, and moped away whole
days. No one could tell what was the matter with him. Although he had a
tremendous appetite, he wasted away, getting thin, yellow, and old.

At last one morning, while the smith was standing idly at his forge,
with no heart for work, he was surprised to see a Wise-man, who lived
at some distance, enter his shop. The smith hastened to tell him about
his son, and to ask his advice.

The Wise-man listened gravely, then said: “The boy has been carried
away by the Little People, and they have left a Changeling in his
place.”

“Alas! And what am I to do?” asked the smith. “How am I ever to see my
own son again?”

“I will tell you how,” answered the Wise-man. “But first, to make
sure that it is not your own son you have, gather together all the
egg-shells you can get. Go into the room where the boy is, and spread
them out carefully before him. Then pour water in them, and carry them
carefully in your hands, two by two. Carry them as though they were
very heavy, and arrange them around the fireplace.”

The smith, accordingly, collected as many egg-shells as he could find.
He went into the room, and did as the Wise-man had said.

He had not been long at work, before there came from the bed where the
boy lay, a great shout of laughter, and the boy cried out:--

“I am now eight hundred years old, and I have never seen the like of
that before!”

The smith hurried back, and told this to the Wise-man.

“Did I not assure you,” said the Wise-man, “that it is not your son
whom you have? Your son is in a Fairy Mound not far from here. Get rid
as soon as possible of this Changeling, and I think I may promise you
your son again.

“You must light a very great and bright fire before the bed on which
this stranger is lying. He will ask you why you are doing so. Answer
him at once: ‘You shall see presently when I lay you upon it.’ If you
do this, the Changeling will become frightened and fly through the
roof.”

The smith again followed the Wise-man’s advice; kindled a blazing
fire, and answered as he had been told to do. And, just as he was going
to seize the Changeling and fling him on the fire, the thing gave an
awful yell, and sprang through the roof.

The smith, overjoyed, returned to the Wise-man, and told this to him.

“On Midsummer Night,” said the Wise-man, “the Fairy Mound, where your
boy is kept, will open. You must provide yourself with a dirk and a
crowing cock. Go to the Mound. You will hear singing and dancing and
much merriment going on. At twelve o’clock a door in the Mound will
open. Advance boldly. Enter this door, but first stick the dirk in the
ground before it, to prevent the Mound from closing. You will find
yourself in a spacious apartment, beautifully clean; and there working
at a forge, you will see your son. The Fairies will then question you,
and you must answer that you have come for your son, and will not go
without him. Do this, and see what happens!”

Midsummer Night came, and the smith provided himself with a dirk and
a crowing cock. He went to the Fairy Mound, and all happened as the
Wise-man had said.

The Fairies came crowding around him, buzzing and pinching his legs;
and when he said that he had come for his son, and would not go away
without him, they all gave a loud laugh. At the same minute the
cock, that was dozing in the smith’s arms, woke up. It leaped to his
shoulder, and, clapping its wings, crowed loud and long.

At that the Fairies were furious. They seized the smith and his son and
threw them out of the Mound, and pulled up the dirk and flung it after
them. And in an instant all was dark.

For a year and a day the boy never spoke, nor would he do a turn of
work. At last one morning as he was watching his father finish a sword,
he exclaimed:--

“That’s not the way to do it!”

And taking the tools from his father’s hands, he set to work, and soon
fashioned a glittering sharp sword, the like of which had never been
seen before.

From that day on, the boy helped his father, and showed him how to make
Fairy swords, and in a few years they both became rich and famous. And
they always lived together contentedly and happily.



THE COAL-BLACK STEED

_From England_


Late one night--a bright, quiet, moonlit night--old Dame Moll lay
snugly sleeping in her bed, when suddenly she was wakened by a noise
like a rushing storm. The next minute there came a loud _rap! rap!
rap!_ at her cottage door.

Startled and frightened she sprang out of bed, and opened the door on a
crack.

“Don’t be afraid, good woman,” said a squeaky voice. “Open wide! Open
wide!”

So she opened a bit wider, and saw a strange, squint-eyed, ugly little
fellow standing on the door-stone. Somehow the look in his eyes seemed
to cast a spell over her, and made her, willy-nilly, open the door very
wide.

“My wife has sent for you, good woman,” said he. “You must come with me
and bathe and dress our new-born child.”

“Your wife!” thought the poor Dame. “Heaven defend me! Sure as I live I
am going to care for a little Imp!”

But she could not refuse to go, for the spell in the little man’s eyes
drew her, and she was forced to walk toward a coal-black steed that
stood snorting before the door. Its eyes were red-hot balls, and its
breath was like smoke.

And how Dame Moll got to the place she never could tell. But suddenly
she found herself set down by a neat but poor cottage, and saw two tidy
children playing before the door. In a minute she was seated in front
of a roaring hearth-fire, washing and dressing a small baby. But a very
active and naughty baby it was, though only an hour old; for it lifted
its fist and gave the good Dame such a rousing box on her ear, that it
made her head ring.

“Anoint its eyes with this salve, my good woman,” said the mother, who
was lying in a neat white bed.

So Dame Moll took the box of salve, and rubbed a bit on the child’s
eyes.

“Why not a drop on mine,” thought she, “since it must be Elfin
ointment.” So she rubbed her finger over her right eye.

O ye powers of Fairyland! What did she see!

The neat but homely cottage had become a great and beautiful room. The
mother, dressed in white silk, lay in an ivory bed. The babe was robed
in silvery gauze. The two older children, who had just come into the
cottage, were seated one on either side of the mother’s pillow. But
they, too, were changed! For now they were little flat-nosed Imps who,
with mops and mows, and with many a grin and grimace, were pulling the
mother’s ears with their long, hairy paws.

When Dame Moll saw this, she knew that she was in a place of
enchantment, and without saying a word about having anointed her own
eye, she made haste to finish dressing the Elfin babe.

Then the squint-eyed little old fellow once more placed her behind him
on the coal-black steed, and away they went sailing through the air.
And he set her down safely before her door.

On the next market-day, when Dame Moll was selling eggs, what did she
see but the little old fellow himself busied, like a rogue, stealing
some things from the market-stalls.

“Oh! Ho!” cried she; “I’ve caught you, you thief!”

“What!” exclaimed he. “Do you see me to-day?”

“See you! To be sure I do!--as plain as the sun in the sky! And I see
you very busy stealing, into the bargain!”

“With which eye do you see me?” said he.

“With my right eye, to be sure,” answered Dame Moll.

“The ointment! The ointment!” exclaimed the little man. “Take that for
meddling with what did not belong to you!”

And he struck her in the eye as he spoke. And from that day to this old
Dame Moll has been blind in the right eye. And surely it served her
right for stealing the Fairy ointment.



THE GIRL WHO WAS STOLEN BY THE FAIRIES

_From Ireland_


Never go near an Elfin Mound on May Day. For in the month of May the
Fairies are very powerful, and they wander about the meadows looking
for pretty maidens to carry off to Fairyland.

One beautiful May Day in old Ireland, a young girl fell asleep at
noonday on an Elfin Mound. The Fairies saw how pretty she was, so they
carried her off to Fairyland, and left in her stead an image that
looked exactly like her.

Evening fell, and as the girl did not return home, her mother sent the
neighbours to look for her in all directions. They found the image,
and, thinking that it was the girl herself, they carried it home, and
laid it in her bed. But the image neither moved nor spoke, and lay
there silently for two days.

On the morning of the third day an old Witch-woman entered the house,
and looking at the image, said:--

“Your daughter is Fairy-struck. Rub this ointment on her forehead, and
see what you shall see!”

Then the old woman placed a vial of green ointment in the mother’s
hand, and disappeared.

The mother immediately rubbed the forehead of the image, and the girl
herself sat up in bed, weeping and wringing her hands.

“Oh, mother!” she cried. “Oh, why did you bring me back! I was so
happy! I was in a beautiful palace where handsome Princesses and
Princes were dancing to the sweetest music. They made me dance with
them, and threw a mantle of rich gold over my shoulders. Now it is all
gone, and I shall never see the beautiful palace any more!”

Then the mother wept, and said: “Oh, my child, stay with me! I have no
other daughter but you! And if the Fairies take you, I shall die!”

The girl wept loudly at this, and throwing her arms around her mother’s
neck, kissed her, and promised that she would not go near the Elfin
Mound. And she kept her word, so she never saw the Fairies again.



THE GIRL WHO DANCED WITH THE FAIRIES

_From Ireland_


One must never wander about alone on Hallowe’en, for then the Fairies
are abroad looking for mortals to trick and lead astray.

Now, there was once a girl, the prettiest girl in all Ireland, who late
one Hallowe’en was going to a spring to fetch some water. Her foot
slipped, and she fell. When she got up, she looked about her, and saw
that she was in a very strange place. A great fire was burning near,
around which a number of people, beautifully dressed, were dancing.

A handsome young man, like a Prince, with a red sash, and a golden band
in his hair, left the fire, and came toward her. He greeted her kindly,
and asked her to dance.

“It is a foolish thing, sir, to ask me to dance,” replied she, “since
there is no music.”

At that the young man lifted his hand, and instantly the most delicious
music sounded. Then he took her by the fingers and drew her into the
dance. Around and around they whirled, and they danced and danced until
the moon and stars went down. And all the time, the girl seemed to
float in the air, and she forgot everything except the sweet music and
the young man.

At last the dancing ceased, and a door opened in the earth. The young
man, who seemed to be the King of all, led the girl down a pair of
stairs, followed by all the gay company. At the end of a long passage
they came to a hall bright and beautiful with gold and silver and
lights. A table was covered with every good thing to eat, and wine was
poured out in golden cups.

The young man lifted a cup, and offered it to the girl; at the same
moment some one whispered in her ear:--

“Do not drink! Do not eat! If you do either, you will never see your
home again!”

Well, the girl, when she heard that, set the cup down and refused to
drink. Immediately all the company grew angry. A great buzzing arose.
The lights went out. And the girl felt something grasp her, and rush
her forth from the hall and up the stairs; and in a minute she found
herself beside the spring holding her pitcher in her hand.

She did not wait for anything, but ran home as fast as she could, and
locked herself in tight, and crept into bed. Then she heard a great
clamour of little voices outside her door, and she could hear them
cry:--

“The power we had over you to-night is gone, because you refused to
drink! But wait until next Hallowe’en Night, when you dance with us on
the hill! Then we shall keep you forever!--forever!”



ELIDORE AND THE GOLDEN BALL

_From Wales_


Once upon a time, in the land of Wales, near the fall of the Tawe into
the sea, there lived a boy called Elidore. He was a bright lad, but so
fond of play that he would not study at all. His teacher flogged him so
often and so hard that one morning Elidore ran away from home, and hid
under a hollow bank by the side of the river.

There he stayed two nights and two days, getting hungrier and thirstier
every moment. At last, when it seemed as if he could stand his
sufferings no longer, he saw a little door open in the side of the bank
and two Elfin Men step out. They stood before him, and, bowing low,
said:--

“Come with us, dear boy, and we will lead you to a land full of
delights and sports, where you may play all the time.”

Elidore was overjoyed. He rose and followed the Elfin Men through the
door. They conducted him down a long, dark passage through the hill.
At length they came out into a beautiful country adorned with singing
crystal streams and flowery meadows. But it was always twilight there,
for the light of the sun, moon, and stars could not reach that land.

The Elfin Men led Elidore to a golden palace, and presented him to the
King of the Elves, who was seated upon his throne and was surrounded
by a train of little people richly clad. The King questioned Elidore
kindly, then, calling his eldest son, the Elfin Prince, bade him take
the earth-boy and make him happy.

So Elidore dwelt in Elfinland, and day after day was fed with milk and
saffron; and he played with the Elfin Prince, tossing gold and silver
balls. When he walked in the meadows to pick flowers, he saw everywhere
about him the Elfin people, with long, flowing yellow hair, riding on
little horses and chasing tiny deer with Fairy hounds. For all the
people in Elfinland played and rode about night and day, and they never
worked. Sometimes on moonlit nights they rode through the dark passage
to the upper world, and danced in Fairy Rings on the grass. And when
they went to their dances, they took Elidore with them.

After Elidore had lived in Elfinland for some time, the King permitted
him one moonlit night to go alone through the dark passage to visit
his mother. He did so, and she was delighted to see him, for she had
thought him dead. He told her about the wonders of Elfinland, and how
he was fed on milk and saffron, and played with gold and silver toys.
She begged him, the next time he came, to bring her a bit of Fairy
Gold. He promised to do so, and returned to Elfinland.

It so happened, one day soon after this, that Elidore was playing with
the Elfin Prince. He snatched a beautiful golden ball from the Prince’s
hands, and hastened with it through the dark passage. As he ran he
heard behind him the shouts of many angry Elves and the sound of their
horses’ hoofs, and the barking of the Fairy dogs; and knew that he was
being pursued.

Faster he ran in terror, but nearer came the patter of a thousand
little feet, and the Elfin shouts. Still more terrified, he rushed
through the door in the hill and sped homeward. As he sprang into his
mother’s house his foot caught, and he fell over the threshold. At the
same moment two Elves, who had outrun the others, leaped over him and
snatched the golden ball from his hands.

“Thief!” “Robber!” “Thief!” they screamed, and vanished.

As for Elidore, he rose up too ashamed to eat or sleep that night. The
next day he went to the river bank and searched for the door, but could
find no trace of it. And though he searched every day for a year, he
never again found the entrance to Elfinland.

But from that time he was a changed boy. He studied hard, loved truth,
and hated lying and stealing. And, when he grew up, he became a great
man in Wales.



AT THE COURT OF FAIRYLAND


I

QUEEN MAB

  This is MAB, the mistress Fairy,
  That doth nightly rob the dairy,
  And can hurt or help the churning
  (As she please) without discerning.
  She that pinches country wenches,
  If they rub not clean their benches,
  And with sharper nails remembers
  When they rake not up their embers.
  But, if so they chance to feast her,
  In a shoe she drops a tester.

                          _Ben Jonson_


II

QUEEN MAB’S CHARIOT

  Her chariot ready straight is made;
  Each thing therein is fitting laid,
  That she by nothing might be stayed,
    For nought must be her letting:
  Four nimble gnats the horses were,
  Their harnesses of gossamer,
  Fly Cranion, her charioteer,
    Upon the coach-box getting.

  Her chariot of a snail’s fine shell,
  Which for the colours did excel;
  The fair Queen Mab becoming well,
    So lively was the limning:
  The seat, the soft wool of the bee,
  The cover (gallantly to see)
  The wing of a pied butterflee;
    I trow ’twas simple trimming.

  The wheels composed of crickets’ bones,
  And daintily made for the nonce;
  For fear of rattling on the stones,
    With thistle-down they shod it:
  For all her maidens much did fear,
  If Oberon had chanced to hear,
  That Mab his Queen should have been there,
    He would not have abade it.

  She mounts her chariot with a trice,
  Nor would she stay for no advice,
  Until her maids that were so nice,
    To wait on her were fitted,
  But ran herself away alone;
  Which when they heard, there was not one,
  But hasted after to be gone,
    As she had been diswitted.

                          _Michael Drayton_


III

MAB’S ELFIN MAIDS OF HONOUR

  Hop, and Mop, and Drop so clear,
  Pip, and Trip, and Skip, that were
  To Mab their sovereign ever dear,
    Her special maids of honour.
  Fib, and Tib, and Pinck, and Pin,
  Tick, and Quick, and Jil, and Jin,
  Tit, and Nit, and Wap, and Win,
    The train that wait upon her.

  Upon a grasshopper they got,
  And, what with amble and with trot,
  For hedge nor ditch they spared not,
    But after her they hie them.
  A cobweb over them they throw,
  To shield the wind, if it should blow,
  Themselves they wisely could bestow,
    Lest any should espy them.

                       _Michael Drayton_


IV

KING OBERON’S PALACE

  This palace standeth in the air,
  By necromancy placed there,
  That it no tempests needs to fear,
    Which way so e’er it blow it:
  And somewhat southward toward the noon
  Whence lies a way up to the Moon,
  And thence the Fairy can as soon
    Pass to the earth below it.

  The walls of spiders’ legs are made,
  Well morticed and finely laid;
  He was the master of his trade,
    It curiously that builded.
  The windows of the eyes of cats,
  And for the roof, instead of slats,
  Is covered with the skins of bats,
    With moonshine that are gilded.

                       _Michael Drayton_


V

THE FAIRIES’ UMBRELLA

  I spied King Oberon and his beauteous Queen
    Attended by a nimble-footed train
  Of Fairies tripping o’er the meadow’s green,
    And to mewards (methought) they came amain.
      I couched myself behind a bush to spy,
      What would betide the noble company.

  It ’gan to rain, the King and Queen they run
    Under a mushroom, fretted overhead,
  With glow-worms artificially done,
    Resembling much the canopy of a bed
      Of cloth of silver: and such glimmering light
      It gave, as stars do in a frosty night.

                                         _Old Poem_


VI

A FAIRY’S ARMOUR

  He put his acorn helmet on;
  It was plumed of the silk of the thistle down;
  The corslet-plate that guarded his breast
  Was once the wild bee’s golden vest;
  His cloak, of a thousand mingled dyes,
  Was formed of the wings of butterflies;
  His shield was the shell of a lady-bug queen,
  Studs of gold on a ground of green;
  And the quivering lance which he brandished bright,
  Was the sting of a wasp he had slain in fight.
  Swift he bestrode his fire-fly steed;
    He bared his blade of the bent-grass blue;
  He drove his spurs of the cockle-seed,
    And away like a glance of thought he flew,
  To skim the heavens, and follow far
  The fiery trail of the rocket-star.

                               _Joseph Rodman Drake_


VII

FAIRY REVELS

    Come, follow, follow me,
    You Fairy Elves that be,
    Which circle on the green,
    Come, follow Mab your Queen.
  Hand in hand let’s dance around,
  For this place is Fairy ground.

    When mortals are at rest
    And snoring in their nest,
    Unheard and unespied,
    Through keyholes we do glide;
  Over tables, stools, and shelves,
  We trip it with our Fairy Elves.

    And if the house be foul
    With platter, dish, or bowl,
    Upstairs we nimbly creep,
    And find the maids asleep:
  There we pinch their arms and thighs;
  None escapes, nor none espies.

    But if the house be swept
    And from uncleanness kept,
    We praise the household maid,
    And duly she is paid;
  For we use before we go
  To drop a tester in her shoe.

    Upon a mushroom’s head
    Our table-cloth we spread;
    A grain of rye or wheat
    Is manchet which we eat;
  Pearly drops of dew we drink
  In acorn cups filled to the brink.

    The brains of nightingales,
    With unctuous fat of snails,
    Between two cockles stewed,
    Is meat that’s easily chewed;
  Tails of worms and marrow of mice
  Do make a dish that’s wondrous nice.

    The grasshopper, gnat, and fly
    Serve for our minstrelsy;
    Grace said, we dance awhile,
    And so the time beguile:
  And if the moon doth hide her head,
  The glow-worm lights us home to bed.

    On tops of dewy grass
    So nimbly do we pass,
    The young and tender stalk
    Ne’er bends when we do walk;
  Yet in the morning may be seen
  Where we the night before have been.

                          _Old Ballad_


VIII

FAIRY SONGS

  Where the bee sucks, there suck I:
  In a cowslip’s bell I lie;
  There I couch, when owls do cry:
  On the bat’s back I do fly
  After summer merrily.
    Merrily, merrily, shall I live now,
    Under the blossom that hangs on the bough!

                                 _Shakespeare_


  From Oberon in Fairyland,
    The King of ghosts and shadows there,
  Mad Robin, I, at his command,
    Am sent to view the night-sports here.
        What revel rout
        Is kept about,
    In every corner where I go,
      I will o’ersee, and merry be,
    And make good sport, with ho! ho! ho!

  More swift than lightning can I fly
    About this airy welkin soon,
  And in a minute’s space descry
    Each thing that’s done below the moon.
        There’s not a hag
        Or ghost shall wag,
    Or cry, ware Goblins! where I go;
      But Robin, I, their feats will spy,
    And send them home with ho! ho! ho!

   *       *       *       *       *

  By wells and rills, in meadows green,
    We nightly dance our hey-day guise,
  And to our Fairy King and Queen
    We chant our moonlight minstrelsies.
        When larks ’gin sing,
        Away we fling,
  And babes new-born steal as we go,
      And Elf in bed we leave instead,
    And wend us laughing, ho! ho! ho!

               _Old Ballad_ (_Condensed_)



PART TWO

FAIRY STORIES



_Fairy Godmothers and Wonderful Gifts_



  _Rap! Rap! Rap!
  “Who’s tirling at the pin?”
  “I’m your Fairy Godmother.
  Will you let me in?”_

  _“Pointed red cap,
  Long peakèd chin,
  Twinkling black eyes,
  Why should I let you in?”_

  _Rap! Rap! Rap!--
  “Open wide your door,
  I’m your Fairy Godmother,
  With gifts threescore!”_



CINDERELLA

OR

THE LITTLE GLASS SLIPPER


Once upon a time there was a gentleman who married for his second wife
a woman who was the haughtiest and proudest ever seen. She had two
daughters who resembled her in temper. The husband, however, had a
young daughter by his first wife, who was of a sweetness and goodness
without limit. She was like her own mother, who had been the most
sweet-tempered woman in the world.

The wedding was no sooner over than the stepmother began to show her
bad disposition. She could not endure the young girl, whose sweetness
made her own daughters seem more detestable. She forced her to do the
hardest work in the house. It was she who washed the dishes and put
them in their places. It was she who polished the bedroom floors for
her stepmother and two sisters. She slept under the eaves in a garret,
on a wretched mattress; while her sisters lay in elegant rooms where
the beds were soft and white, and the walls were lined with long
mirrors in which the sisters could see themselves from head to foot.

The poor girl suffered all this with patience. And she did not dare
complain to her father, for he would have scolded her, as he was
completely governed by his wife.

Each day, after the girl had finished her work, she sat down in the
chimney-corner among the cinders--so they called her Cinderella.
Nevertheless, Cinderella, in spite of her shabby clothes, was more
polite and a hundred times more beautiful than her sisters, although
they were magnificently dressed.

It happened one day that the King’s son gave a ball, and that he
invited everybody of rank. The ugly sisters were also invited, because
they always made a grand figure at all Court festivities. They were
very glad at the thought of attending the royal ball, and busied
themselves in choosing the robes and head-dresses which should be most
becoming. But, alas! it was more trouble and work for Cinderella, for
it was she who did her sisters’ ironing, and fluted their ruffles.
Night and morning, they talked only of their clothes.

“I,” said the eldest, “shall wear my red velvet robe with rich lace
trimming.”

“I,” said the younger, “shall have only my plain skirt, but to make up
for its plainness, I shall put on my cloak flowered with gold, and my
tiara of diamonds.”

They called in Cinderella to ask her advice, for she had excellent
taste. Cinderella gave them the best counsel in the world, and even
offered to do their hair, for which they were very glad. And while she
was arranging their locks in two rows of puffs, they asked:--

“Cinderella, would you not be delighted to go to the ball?”

“Alas, you are mocking me!” replied she. “It would be no place for me!”

“You are right,” answered the sisters, laughing scornfully. “Everybody
would laugh well to see such a scrub-girl as you at the ball!”

Any one but Cinderella would have done their hair crooked out of rage,
but she was so sweet that she did her very best. They went two days
without eating, so excited were they with joy. They broke a dozen
lacings trying to make their waists smaller, and they spent all their
time before the mirrors.

At last the happy day arrived, and as they departed for the ball,
Cinderella followed them with her eyes as long as she could. Then she
burst into tears.

Her Godmother, who saw her in tears, asked what was the matter.

“I wish--I wish--” and Cinderella sobbed so that she could not finish.

Her Godmother, who was a Fairy, said: “You wish to go to the ball,
don’t you?”

“Alas! Yes!” sighed Cinderella.

“Then be a good girl,” said her Godmother, “and you shall go. Now, run
into the garden and bring me a pumpkin.”

Cinderella went, and picked the biggest she could find; and as she
carried it to her Godmother, she wondered how that pumpkin could help
her go to the ball.

Her Godmother scooped out all the inside, leaving only the rind which
she struck with her wand. Instantly it became a golden coach. Then she
went to look at the mousetrap in which she found six mice. She bade
Cinderella open the trap, and, as each mouse sprang out, she touched it
with her wand. And instantly it was changed into a handsome horse.

As the Godmother was wondering out of what to make a coachman,
Cinderella said: “I will go and see if there is a rat in the trap--then
we can make a coachman.”

“That is a good thought,” said her Godmother, “go and see.”

Cinderella brought the trap in which were three large rats. Her
Godmother chose one of the three because of his long whiskers; and when
she touched him, he was instantly changed into a big coachman who had
the handsomest moustaches ever seen.

Then she said to Cinderella: “Go into the garden. You will find there
six lizards behind the watering-pot. Bring them to me.”

Cinderella had no sooner brought them than they were changed into six
footmen in gold-laced coats, who sprang up behind the coach with the
air of never having done anything else in their lives.

Then the Fairy said to Cinderella: “Here is a fine coach in which to go
to the ball! Are you not glad?”

“Yes,” replied she, “but must I go in these ugly clothes?”

Her Godmother, in answer, touched her with her wand, and instantly her
old clothes were changed into robes of gold and silver embroidered with
gems. Then her Godmother presented her with a pair of glass slippers,
the prettiest in the world.

Now that Cinderella was all dressed, she got into the coach; but her
Godmother told her above all things not to remain a minute later than
midnight. For if she remained a single minute longer, her coach would
become a pumpkin; her horses, mice; her coachman, a rat; and her
footmen, lizards; while all her fine clothes would change to rags.

Cinderella promised her Godmother that she would not fail to return
before midnight.

She departed for the ball, so joyful that she did not know herself.
The King’s son, who was informed by his servants of the arrival of a
beautiful Princess whom nobody knew, ran to receive her. He assisted
her to descend from the coach, and led her into the hall where the
guests were assembled.

There was a great silence. People stopped dancing, and the violins
ceased playing, while all crowded around to see the beauty of the
unknown one. Then a confused murmur arose. “Oh, how beautiful she is!”
The King even, old as he was, could not take his eyes off her, and
he whispered to the Queen that it was long since he had seen such a
handsome and amiable person.

All the ladies were anxious to examine her head-dress and robes,
and they decided to have some made like them the very next morning,
provided, of course, that they could procure beautiful enough materials
and needlewomen sufficiently skilful.

The King’s son led Cinderella to the place of honour, and asked her to
dance with him. She danced with such grace that she was more admired
than ever. A superb banquet was served, but the young Prince did not
taste it, so much was he occupied in gazing at her. She seated herself
by her sisters, and showed them a thousand attentions. She offered them
a share of the oranges and lemons that the Prince had given her, which
greatly surprised them, for they did not know her.

While they were chatting, Cinderella heard the clock strike a quarter
before twelve. She immediately bowed to the company, and hastened away
as fast as she could.

When she arrived at home, she found her Fairy Godmother, and having
thanked her, told her how she longed to go again the next night, for
the Prince had invited her. And while she was relating all the things
that had happened at the ball, she heard the two sisters rap at the
door.

Cinderella opened it. “How late you are,” she said.

“If you had been at the ball,” replied one of the sisters, “you would
not think it late! There came the most beautiful Princess you have ever
dreamed of. She was devoted to us, and gave us oranges and lemons.”

Cinderella could scarcely contain herself for joy. She asked the name
of the Princess.

“We do not know,” they said. “Even the King’s son is curious to learn
who she is.”

Cinderella smiled and said to the elder sister: “Was she so beautiful
then! How happy you are!”

The next night the sisters went to the ball. Cinderella went, too,
even more magnificently attired than the first time. The King’s son
was constantly by her side, and never ceased whispering sweet things.
Cinderella was not at all weary, and she forgot what her Godmother had
told her; so that when she heard the first stroke of midnight, she
could not believe that it was more than eleven o’clock.

She sprang up, and fled as swiftly as a deer. The Prince followed her,
but could not catch her. She lost one of her glass slippers, which he
tenderly picked up.

Cinderella reached home breathless, without coach or footmen, and clad
in rags. Nothing remained of all her splendour but one little glass
slipper, for she had dropped the other.

The Prince’s attendants asked the palace guards if they had seen a
Princess pass by. They said that they had seen no one except a poorly
dressed girl, who looked more like a peasant than a Princess.

When her sisters returned, Cinderella asked if they had had a good time
again, and if the lovely Princess had been present. They said yes, but
that she had fled as soon as twelve o’clock had sounded, and that she
had dropped one of her little glass slippers--it was the prettiest
thing!--and that the Prince had picked it up. And that he had done
nothing but look at it for the rest of the night! Assuredly he must be
very much in love with the Princess to whom it belonged!

And they were right. A few days after this the King’s son sent a herald
who announced, by sound of a trumpet, that the Prince would marry any
lady whom the glass slipper fitted.

Then commenced a great trying-on by Princesses and Duchesses and all
the ladies of the Court--but it was of no use. At last they brought the
glass slipper to the two sisters, who did their best to get their feet
into it, but they could not do so.

Cinderella, who was looking on and recognized her slipper, said
smilingly: “Let me see if it will fit me.”

Her sisters began to laugh scornfully and to ridicule her; but the
attendant who held the slipper, looking attentively at Cinderella, saw
that she was very beautiful, and said that she had a right to do so,
for he had been ordered to try the slipper on every girl in the Kingdom.

He made Cinderella seat herself, and, placing the slipper on her little
foot, saw that it went on easily and fitted her like wax. The amazement
of the sisters was great, but was greater still when Cinderella drew
the other slipper from her pocket and put it on her other foot.

Immediately the Fairy Godmother arrived, and, having touched
Cinderella’s clothes with her wand, changed them into garments more
magnificent than those she had worn before.

Then the two sisters recognized her for the beautiful Princess whom
they had seen at the ball. They threw themselves at her feet, and
begged forgiveness for the cruel treatment she had suffered. Cinderella
raised and embraced them, and assured them that she pardoned them with
all her heart, and that she now entreated them to love her dearly.

She was then conducted to the palace of the Prince, adorned as she was
in all her magnificence. The Prince found her more beautiful than ever,
and a few days after he married her with great pomp.

Cinderella, who was as good as she was beautiful, lodged her sisters in
the palace, and married them on the same day to two great lords of the
Court.

                                                      _Charles Perrault_



THE SLEEPING BEAUTY IN THE WOOD


Once upon a time there lived a King and Queen who were most miserable
because they had no children; but when a lovely baby girl was born to
them, they were two of the happiest people in the world. And in order
to make all things as propitious as possible for the little Princess,
they invited seven Fairies who lived in the Kingdom, to be her
Godmothers.

When the christening ceremony was over, there was a magnificent banquet
given for the Fairies. Before each of them was laid a plate of massive
gold, and a case--also of massive gold--containing a spoon, a fork,
and a knife, all of the same precious metal, and richly studded with
diamonds and rubies.

But just as everybody was seated at the table, who should enter but an
old Fairy, who had not been invited because for more than fifty years
she had been shut up in a tower, and was supposed to be either dead or
enchanted.

The King immediately commanded that a chair should be placed for her
at the table, but he could not offer her a golden plate and case, for
only seven had been made for the seven Fairies. The unreasonable old
creature considered herself insulted, and began to mutter frightful
threats between her teeth. The youngest of the Fairies, hearing
this, concealed herself behind the tapestry, in order to be the last
to speak, and so perhaps prevent any harm being done to the little
Princess.

Meanwhile the Godmothers began to bestow their gifts.

One said: “My Godchild shall be the most beautiful girl in the whole
world.” The second added: “And she shall have the disposition of an
angel.” The third said: “I give her the gift of perfect grace and
graciousness.” The fourth added: “And she shall dance like a sylph.”
The fifth said: “She shall sing like a nightingale.” The sixth added:
“She shall excel in playing on every sort of musical instrument.”

Then came the turn of the old Fairy, who screamed like a cockatoo,
while her head shook more from rage than from age: “The Princess shall
pierce her hand with a spindle, and shall die!”

These dreadful words made the whole company--every one--shudder; and
there was no one there who was not drowned in tears. At that moment the
youngest Fairy appeared from behind the tapestry, and said sweetly:--

“Do not weep, Your Majesties, your daughter will not die. It is true
that I have not power enough to entirely undo the evil that my elder
sister has done. The Princess will hurt her hand with a spindle, but,
instead of dying, she will fall asleep for a hundred years, and then a
royal Prince will come and waken her.”

The King, hoping to prevent this calamity, forbade any person in the
Kingdom either to spin or even to keep a spindle in the house. Any one
who disobeyed was to be punished with death.

Sixteen years after this, the King and Queen went with their Court to
a castle in the country, when it happened that the young Princess,
wandering curiously from room to room, mounted to the top of a tower.
There she found an old woman sitting alone before her wheel. This old
woman had never heard that the King had forbidden any one to spin.

“What are you doing, my good mother?” asked the Princess.

“I am spinning, my beautiful child,” answered the old woman.

“Oh, how pretty it is!” exclaimed the Princess. “How do you do it? Give
that to me, so I may see if I can do as well!”

And as she spoke, she took the spindle so eagerly and so quickly,
that it pierced her hand, and she sank fainting to the floor. The
poor old woman, in the greatest distress, cried for help. People
came hurrying from all sides. They dashed water on the Princess. They
unlaced her robes. They bathed her temples with perfumes. But she did
not move. Then the King, who, hearing the commotion, was come into the
tower-room, remembered the malediction of the old Fairy. He perceived
that the misfortune was a thing that had to come about, since the
Fairies had foretold it.

He caused the Princess to be carried to the most splendid apartment
in the castle, and to be laid on a couch of down and on pillows of
down embroidered with gold and silver. Her eyes were closed, but her
soft breathing showed that she was not dead. Then, too, her cheeks
were flushed a delicate rose-colour, and her lips were like coral. She
seemed a sleeping angel, she was so beautiful.

The kind Fairy, who had saved the Princess’s life, was in the Kingdom
of Mataquin, twelve thousand miles away, but the King instantly
sent word of the misfortune, by a little dwarf, who travelled in
seven-league boots--which are boots that pass over seven leagues at
each step--and she arrived directly at the castle, in a chariot of fire
drawn by dragons.

She approved of all that the King had done. But being exceedingly wise,
she knew that the poor Princess would be in a pitiable condition when
at the end of a hundred years she awoke to find herself alone in that
old castle. She knew of but one thing to do, and she did it. At a wave
of her wand every one fell asleep--ladies of honour, waiting-maids,
squires, pages, stewards, cooks, scullions, porters, footmen,--every
breathing thing, even the horses in the stables with the grooms, the
mastiffs in the courtyard, and little Pouffi, the Princess’s lap dog,
who was nestling beside her on the couch--all slept. The spits full of
partridges over the fire, and even the fire itself, waited silently to
serve their mistress when she should wake and need them.

Only the King and Queen were left to kiss their darling child, and go
away from the castle. The King forbade any one to approach the place,
but this command was not necessary, for within a quarter of an hour
there was grown up around the castle park, such a vast wood, whose
trees, great and small, were so interlaced with briars and thorns, that
neither man nor beast could pass through. It was plain that the Fairy
had arranged matters after Fairy fashion, taking care that the young
Princess should not be disturbed while she slept.

When the hundred years were gone, a King, not of the family of the
Princess, reigned over the land. One day his son was hunting near the
Fairy wood, and asked what were those turrets he saw rising above the
trees. People told him everything that they had heard. One said that
it was an enchanted castle. Another said that all the witches in the
country held their revels there. The most common belief, however,
seemed to be that it was the dwelling-place of an ogre, who carried off
all the children he could catch, and devoured them at his leisure; for
no one could follow him, as only he could pass through the wood.

While the Prince was lost in wonder at these tales, an old peasant
approached him, and said: “Your Highness, more than fifty years ago
I heard my father say that in yonder castle was the most beautiful
Princess on earth, and that she would sleep a hundred years and then be
wakened by the son of a King, and that she would marry him.”

That was enough to set the Prince on fire for the adventure. In fact,
he felt in his heart that he was the chosen one. He did not delay
for an instant. No sooner had he taken a step toward the wood than
the trees great and small, and the thorns and briars, disentangled
themselves and opened a path.

He walked toward the castle which stood at the end of a broad avenue.
He saw, with surprise, that none of his attendants had been able to
follow him, for the wood had closed again behind him; but all the same
he went on boldly.

He entered a spacious outer court, where a person less brave than he
would have been paralyzed by fear. A deathlike silence reigned, and
many dead men lay stretched upon the ground. But the Prince saw, at
a second glance, that the men had only the appearance of being dead,
that, indeed, they were really men-at-arms, who had fallen asleep with
their half-emptied wine-glasses beside them.

He ascended the stairway. He entered an antechamber, where the guard,
ranged in line, with their muskets on their shoulders, were snoring
contentedly. He crossed a presence-chamber where many lords and ladies
were sleeping, some standing and some sitting.

Then he found himself in a magnificent apartment where on a couch,
whose curtains were lifted, slept a young Princess as lovely as if she
had strayed from Paradise!

The Prince knelt beside her, and pressed his lips on her white hand
that lay on the coverlet. The spell was broken! The Princess opened her
eyes, and, looking at the Prince as if he was no stranger, said:--

“Is it you, my Prince! I know you, for the Fairy has sent me such happy
dreams in order that I might know the one who should free me from
enchantment.”

Then they talked together. Each had so much to say. The Prince forgot
the flight of time, and the Princess certainly did, it was so long
since she had talked with any one.

Meanwhile the whole castle had awakened when the Princess did; and all
the people had returned to their regular duties. They were naturally
half-starved. Dinner was prepared.

Then the maid of honour, who was as hungry as the others, and who
really had difficulty to keep her voice from being as sharp as her
appetite, went to the Princess’s apartment, and said in a gentle tone:
“Pardon, Your Highness, but dinner is served.”

The Princess was superbly dressed, and the Prince was careful not to
say that her robe was like that of his great-grandmother. He did not
find her any the less beautiful for all that. They dined in the Hall
of Mirrors, and were served by the pages and ladies-in-waiting of the
Princess. The violins and hautboys played delightfully considering that
they had lain untouched for a hundred years. After dinner, the Prince
and Princess were married in the chapel of the castle. And on the death
of the Prince’s father, which occurred soon after the marriage, the
Prince and Princess reigned happily over all that land.

                                                      _Charles Perrault_



PRINCE CHÉRI


Long ago there lived a monarch, who was such a very honest man that his
subjects entitled him “the Good King.” One day when he was out hunting,
a little white rabbit, which had been half killed by his hounds, leaped
right into His Majesty’s arms. Said he, caressing it, “This poor
creature has put itself under my protection, and I will allow no one
to injure it.” So he carried it to his palace, had prepared for it a
neat little rabbit-hutch, with abundance of the daintiest food, such as
rabbits love, and there he left it.

The same night, when he was alone in his chamber, there appeared to
him a beautiful lady. She was dressed neither in gold nor silver
nor brocade; but her flowing robes were white as snow, and she wore
a garland of white roses on her head. The Good King was greatly
astonished at the sight, for his door was locked, and he wondered how
so dazzling a lady could possibly enter; but she soon removed his
doubts.

“I am the Fairy Candide,” said she, with a smiling and gracious air.
“Passing through the wood, where you were hunting, I took a desire to
know if you were as good as men say you are. I therefore changed myself
into a white rabbit, and sought refuge in your arms. You saved me; and
now I know that those who are merciful to dumb beasts will be ten times
more so to human beings. You merit the name your subjects give you: you
are the Good King. I thank you for your protection, and shall be always
one of your best friends. You have but to say what you most desire, and
I promise you your wish shall be granted.”

“Madam,” replied the King, “if you are a Fairy, you must know, without
my telling you, the wish of my heart. I have one well-beloved son,
Prince Chéri: whatever kindly feeling you have toward me, extend it to
him.”

“Willingly,” said Candide. “I will make him the handsomest, richest, or
most powerful Prince in the world. Choose whichever you desire for him.”

“None of the three,” returned the father. “I only wish him to be
good--the best Prince in the world. Of what use would riches, power, or
beauty be to him if he were a bad man?”

“You are right,” said the Fairy; “but I cannot make him good: he must
do that himself. I can only change his external fortunes. For his
personal character, the utmost I can promise is to give good counsel,
reprove him for his faults, and even punish him, if he will not punish
himself. You mortals can do the same with your children.”

“Ah, yes!” said the King, sighing.

Still, he felt that the kindness of a Fairy was something gained for
his son, and died not long after, content and at peace.

Prince Chéri mourned deeply, for he dearly loved his father, and would
have gladly given all his kingdoms and treasures to keep him in life a
little longer.

Two days after the Good King was no more, Prince Chéri was sleeping in
his chamber, when he saw the same dazzling vision of the Fairy Candide.

“I promised your father,” said she, “to be your best friend, and in
pledge of this take what I now give you.” And she placed a small gold
ring upon his finger. “Poor as it looks, it is more precious than
diamonds; for whenever you do ill it will prick your finger. If after
that warning you still continue in evil, you will lose my friendship,
and I shall become your direst enemy.”

So saying she disappeared, leaving Chéri in such amazement that he
would have believed it all a dream, save for the ring on his finger.

He was for a long time so good that the ring never pricked him at all;
and this made him so cheerful and pleasant in his humour that everybody
called him “Happy Prince Chéri.” But one unlucky day he was out
hunting and found no sport, which vexed him so much that he showed his
ill-temper by his looks and ways. He fancied his ring felt very tight
and uncomfortable, but as it did not prick him, he took no heed of
this; until, reëntering his palace, his little pet dog, Bibi, jumped up
upon him, and was sharply told to get away. The creature, accustomed to
nothing but caresses, tried to attract his attention by pulling at his
garments, when Prince Chéri turned and gave it a severe kick. At this
moment he felt in his finger a prick like a pin.

“What nonsense!” said he to himself. “The Fairy must be making game of
me. Why, what great evil have I done? I, the master of a great empire,
cannot I kick my own dog?”

A voice replied, or else Prince Chéri imagined it: “No, sire; the
master of a great empire has a right to do good, but not evil. I--a
Fairy--am as much above you as you are above your dog. I might punish
you, kill you, if I chose; but I prefer leaving you to amend your ways.
You have been guilty of three faults to-day--bad temper, passion,
cruelty. Do better to-morrow.”

The Prince promised, and kept his word awhile; but he had been brought
up by a foolish nurse, who indulged him in every way, and was always
telling him that he would be a King one day, when he might do as he
liked in all things. He found out now that even a King cannot always
do that; it vexed him, and made him angry. His ring began to prick him
so often that his little finger was continually bleeding. He disliked
this, as was natural, and soon began to consider whether it would not
be easier to throw the ring away altogether than to be constantly
annoyed by it. It was such a queer thing for a King to have always a
spot of blood on his finger!

At last, unable to put up with it any more, he took his ring off, and
hid it where he would never see it; and believed himself the happiest
of men, for he could now do exactly what he liked. He did it, and
became every day more and more miserable.

One day he saw a young girl, so beautiful that, being always accustomed
to have his own way, he immediately determined to marry her. He never
doubted that she would be only too glad to be made a Queen, for she
was very poor. But Zelia--that was her name--answered, to his great
astonishment, that she would rather not marry him.

“Do I displease you?” asked the Prince, into whose mind it had never
entered that he could displease anybody.

“Not at all, my Prince,” said the honest peasant-maiden. “You are very
handsome, very charming; but you are not like your father the Good
King. I will not be your Queen, for you would make me miserable.”

At these words the Prince’s love seemed all to turn to hatred. He gave
orders to his guards to convey Zelia to a prison near the palace, and
then took counsel with his foster-brother, the one of all his ill
companions who most incited him to do wrong.

“Sir,” said this man, “if I were in Your Majesty’s place, I would never
vex myself about a poor silly girl. Feed her on bread and water till
she comes to her senses; and if she still refuses you, let her die in
torment, as a warning to your other subjects should they venture to
dispute your will. You will be disgraced should you suffer yourself to
be conquered by a simple girl.”

“But,” said Prince Chéri, “shall I not be disgraced if I harm a
creature so perfectly innocent?”

“No one is innocent who disputes Your Majesty’s authority,” said the
courtier, bowing; “and it is better to commit an injustice than allow
it to be supposed you can ever be contradicted with impunity.”

This touched Chéri on his weak point--his good impulses faded. He
resolved once more to ask Zelia if she would marry him, and, if she
again refused, to sell her as a slave. Arrived at the cell in which she
was confined, what was his astonishment to find her gone! He knew not
whom to accuse, for he had kept the key in his pocket the whole time.
At last, the foster-brother suggested that the escape of Zelia might
have been contrived by an old man, Suliman by name, the Prince’s former
tutor, who was the only one who now ventured to blame him for anything
that he did. Chéri sent immediately, and ordered his old friend to be
brought to him, loaded heavily with irons.

Then, full of fury, he went and shut himself up in his own chamber,
where he went raging to and fro, till startled by a noise like a clap
of thunder. The Fairy Candide stood before him.

“Prince,” said she, in a severe voice, “I promised your father to give
you good counsels, and to punish you if you refused to follow them.
My counsels were forgotten, my punishments despised. Under the figure
of a man, you have been no better than the beasts you chase: like a
lion in fury, a wolf in gluttony, a serpent in revenge, and a bull in
brutality. Take, therefore, in your new form the likeness of all these
animals.”

Scarcely had Prince Chéri heard these words, than to his horror he
found himself transformed into what the Fairy had named. He was a
creature with the head of a lion, the horns of a bull, the feet of
a wolf, and the tail of a serpent. At the same time he felt himself
transported to a distant forest, where, standing on the bank of a
stream, he saw reflected in the water his own frightful shape, and
heard a voice saying:--

“Look at thyself, and know thy soul has become a thousand times uglier
even than thy body.”

Chéri recognized the voice of Candide, and in his rage would have
sprung upon her and devoured her; but he saw nothing, and the same
voice said behind him:--

“Cease thy feeble fury, and learn to conquer thy pride by being in
submission to thine own subjects.”

Hearing no more, he soon quitted the stream, hoping at least to get rid
of the sight of himself; but he had scarcely gone twenty paces when he
tumbled into a pitfall that was laid to catch bears. The bear-hunters,
descending from some trees hard by, caught him, chained him, and only
too delighted to get hold of such a curious-looking animal, led him
along with them to the capital of his own Kingdom.

There great rejoicings were taking place, and the bear-hunters, asking
what it was all about, were told that it was because Prince Chéri, the
torment of his subjects, had been struck dead by a thunderbolt--just
punishment of all his crimes. Four courtiers, his wicked companions,
had wished to divide his throne among them; but the people had risen
up against them, and offered the crown to Suliman, the old tutor whom
Chéri had ordered to be arrested.

All this the poor monster heard. He even saw Suliman sitting upon his
own throne, and trying to calm the populace by representing to them
that it was not certain Prince Chéri was dead; that he might return one
day to reassume with honour the crown which Suliman only consented to
wear as a sort of viceroy.

“I know his heart,” said the honest and faithful old man; “it is
tainted, but not corrupt. If alive, he may reform yet, and be all his
father over again to you, his people, whom he has caused to suffer so
much.”

These words touched the poor beast so deeply that he ceased to beat
himself against the iron bars of the cage in which the hunters carried
him about, became gentle as a lamb, and suffered himself to be taken
quietly to a menagerie, where were kept all sorts of strange and
ferocious animals--a place which he had himself often visited as a boy,
but never thought he should be shut up there himself.

However, he owned he had deserved it all, and began to make amends
by showing himself very obedient to his keeper. This man was almost
as great a brute as the animals he had charge of, and when he was in
ill-humour he used to beat them without rhyme or reason. One day,
while he was sleeping, a tiger broke loose and leaped upon him, eager
to devour him. Chéri at first felt a thrill of pleasure at the thought
of being revenged; then, seeing how helpless the man was, he wished
himself free, that he might defend him. Immediately the doors of his
cage opened.

The keeper, waking up, saw the strange beast leap out, and imagined,
of course, that he was going to be slain at once. Instead, he saw the
tiger lying dead, and the strange beast creeping up and laying itself
at his feet to be caressed. But as he lifted up his hand to stroke it,
a voice was heard saying, “Good actions never go unrewarded.” And,
instead of the frightful monster, there crouched on the ground nothing
but a pretty little dog.

Chéri, delighted to find himself thus transformed, caressed the keeper
in every possible way, till at last the man took him up into his
arms and carried him to the King, to whom he related this wonderful
story from beginning to end. The Queen wished to have the charming
little dog; and Chéri would have been exceedingly happy, could he have
forgotten that he was originally a man and a King. He was lodged most
elegantly, had the richest of collars to adorn his neck, and heard
himself praised continually. But his beauty rather brought him into
trouble, for the Queen, afraid lest he might grow too large for a pet,
took advice of dog-doctors, who ordered that he should be fed entirely
upon bread, and that very sparingly; so poor Chéri was sometimes nearly
starved.

One day, when they gave him his crust for breakfast, a fancy seized
him to go and eat it in the palace-garden; so he took the bread in his
mouth, and trotted away toward a stream which he knew, and where he
sometimes stopped to drink. But instead of the stream he saw a splendid
palace, glittering with gold and precious stones. Entering the doors
was a crowd of men and women, magnificently dressed; and within there
was singing and dancing, and good cheer of all sorts. Yet, however
grandly and gaily the people went in, Chéri noticed that those who
came out were pale, thin, ragged, half-naked, covered with wounds and
sores. Some of them dropped dead at once; others dragged themselves on
a little way and then lay down, dying of hunger, and vainly begged a
morsel of bread from others who were entering in--who never took the
least notice of them.

Chéri perceived one woman, who was trying feebly to gather and eat some
green herbs. “Poor thing!” said he to himself; “I know what it is to
be hungry, and I want my breakfast badly enough; but still it will not
kill me to wait till dinner-time, and my crust may save the life of
this poor woman.”

So the little dog ran up to her, and dropped his bread at her feet; she
picked it up, and ate it with avidity. Soon she looked quite recovered,
and Chéri, delighted, was trotting back again to his kennel, when he
heard loud cries, and saw a young girl dragged by four men to the door
of the palace, which they were trying to compel her to enter. Oh, how
he wished himself a monster again, as when he slew the tiger! For the
young girl was no other than his beloved Zelia. Alas! what could a
poor little dog do to defend her? But he ran forward and barked at the
men and bit their heels, until at last they chased him away with heavy
blows. And then he lay down outside the palace-door, determined to
watch and see what had become of Zelia.

Conscience pricked him now. “What!” he thought, “I am furious against
these wicked men, who are carrying her away; and did I not do the same
myself? Did I not cast her into prison, and intend to sell her as a
slave? Who knows how much more wickedness I might not have done to her
and others, if Heaven’s justice had not stopped me in time?”

While he lay thinking and repenting, he heard a window open, and saw
Zelia throw out of it a bit of dainty meat. Chéri, who felt hungry
enough by this time, was just about to eat it, when the woman to whom
he had given his crust snatched him up in her arms.

“Poor little beast!” cried she, patting him, “every bit of food in that
palace is poisoned; you shall not touch a morsel.”

And at the same time the voice in the air repeated again, “Good actions
never go unrewarded.” And Chéri found himself changed into a beautiful
little white pigeon. He remembered with joy that white was the colour
of the Fairy Candide, and began to hope that she was taking him into
favour again.

So he stretched his wings, delighted that he might now have a chance
of approaching his fair Zelia. He flew up to the palace windows, and,
finding one of them open, entered and sought everywhere, but he could
not find Zelia. Then, in despair, he flew out again, resolved to go
over the world until he beheld her once more.

He took flight at once, and traversed many countries, swiftly as a bird
can, but found no trace of his beloved. At length in a desert, sitting
beside an old hermit in his cave and partaking with him of his frugal
repast, Chéri saw a poor peasant girl and recognized Zelia. Transported
with joy, he flew in, perched on her shoulder, and expressed his
delight and affection by a thousand caresses.

She, charmed with the pretty little pigeon, caressed it in her turn,
and promised it that, if it would stay with her, she would love it
always.

“What have you done, Zelia?” said the hermit, smiling. And while he
spoke the white pigeon vanished, and there stood Prince Chéri in his
own natural form. “Your enchantment ended, Prince, when Zelia promised
to love you. Indeed, she has loved you always, but your many faults
constrained her to hide her love. These are now amended, and you may
both live happy if you will, because your union is founded upon mutual
esteem.”

Chéri and Zelia threw themselves at the feet of the hermit, whose form
also began to change. His soiled garments became of dazzling whiteness,
and his long beard and withered face grew into the flowing hair and
lovely countenance of Fairy Candide.

“Rise up, my children,” said she; “I must now transport you to your
palace, and restore to Prince Chéri his father’s crown, of which he is
now worthy.”

She had scarcely ceased speaking when they found themselves in the
chamber of Suliman, who, delighted to find again his beloved pupil and
master, willingly resigned the throne, and became the most faithful of
his subjects.

King Chéri and Queen Zelia reigned together for many years, and it is
said that the former was so blameless and strict in all his duties
that, though he constantly wore the ring which Candide had restored to
him, it never once pricked his finger enough to make it bleed.

                                          _Madame Le Prince de Beaumont_
                                                   (_After Miss Mulock_)



TOADS AND DIAMONDS


Once upon a time there was a widow who had two daughters. The elder was
so exactly like her mother in disposition and in face that whoever saw
one, saw the other. They were both so disagreeable and so proud that
nobody could endure them.

The younger was the image of her dead father. She was sweet and
kind-hearted, besides being very beautiful. While her mother loved the
elder daughter to distraction, she hated the younger. The poor child
had to eat in the kitchen, and work day and night. And twice every day
she had to walk several miles to a distant fountain to fetch home a
large pitcher of water.

One morning, while she was resting beside the fountain, a poor woman
passing by, stopped and asked her for a drink.

“Yes, indeed!” said the obliging young girl. And immediately dipping
her pitcher, she filled it where the water was coldest, and held it
carefully up so that the woman might easily drink from it.

When the woman had finished drinking, she said: “You are so beautiful,
so good, and so kind, that I must bestow a gift upon you. For every
word that you speak, there shall fall from your lips either a flower or
a jewel.”

Now the woman was not really a poor peasant, but a Fairy who had taken
that form in order to find how kind-hearted the young girl was. She
then vanished.

As soon as the daughter arrived at home, her mother scolded her for
being absent so long.

“I beg your pardon, my mother, for being gone such a long time,”
answered the girl. And as she spoke there fell from her lips three
roses, three lilies, three pearls, and three large diamonds.

“What do I see!” exclaimed her mother in amazement. “Where did you get
them, my child?” It was the first time in her life that she had ever
called her “my child.” “I do believe those jewels came from your mouth!”

The poor girl told her in a few words what had happened, and while she
was talking a shower of blossoms and gems fell to the ground.

“Truly!” exclaimed the mother; “I must send my darling there! Look!”
called she to the elder daughter; “see what comes out of your sister’s
mouth. Would you not be glad to have the same Fairy gifts? You have
only to go and draw some water from the fountain, and when a poor woman
asks for a drink to give it to her very politely.”

“It would certainly look fine for me to carry a great pitcher to the
fountain!” answered the elder daughter angrily.

“I wish you to go there at once,” said her mother.

So the girl went, but grumbling. She took the prettiest silver pitcher
that there was in the house; and she was no sooner arrived at the
fountain than she saw, stepping out of the wood, a magnificent lady
attired in rich robes. She approached the girl and asked her for a
drink. It was the same Fairy who had appeared to her sister, but who
had taken the form of a Princess in order to find how rude the girl
would be.

“Oh, indeed!” answered the insolent girl; “do you think that I am come
here on purpose to give you a drink? I suppose you think that I have
brought a silver pitcher expressly to draw water for you! Draw the
water yourself, my fine lady!”

“You are rude,” replied the Fairy without becoming in the least angry.
“Since you are so utterly disobliging, I bestow on you a gift. It is
this, for every word that you speak, there shall fall from your mouth
either a viper or a toad.”

Then the Fairy vanished.

When her mother saw the girl returning, she cried out: “Well, my
daughter!”

“Well, my mother!” snapped the hateful girl, and as she spoke there
sprang from her mouth two snakes and one toad.

“What do I see!” shrieked her mother. “Your sister is the cause of
this, and she shall pay for it!”

And she rushed to beat the poor child, who fled into the neighbouring
wood. The son of the King was returning from the chase, and met her as
she was running away. Seeing how beautiful she was, he asked her why
she was there alone, and why she wept.

“Ah, sir,” she said, “it is because my mother has driven me from home.”

The King’s son, seeing five or six pearls and as many diamonds fall
from her lips, begged her to explain how such a marvel could be. When
she told him about the Fairy’s gift, he thought that such a wedding
portion was more than he could expect with a Princess, so he led the
girl to his palace, and married her.

As for the sister, she made herself so hated, and so many vipers and
toads sprang from her mouth, that at last her mother drove her from
home. And, after having been refused shelter by all the neighbours, she
died in a dark corner of the wood.

                                                      _Charles Perrault_



BLANCHE AND ROSE


Once upon a time there was a poor widow, who had two charming
daughters. She named the elder Blanche, and the younger Rose, because
they had the most beautiful complexions in the world.

One day, while the mother sat spinning at the door of her cottage, she
saw a poor, bent, old woman hobbling by on a crutch. She pitied her,
and said:--

“You are very tired. Sit down a minute and rest.”

Then she called her daughters to fetch a chair. They both hastened, but
Rose ran faster than her sister and brought it.

“Will you not have a drink?” asked the mother kindly.

“Indeed, I will,” replied the old woman. “And it seems to me that I
could eat a morsel, too, if you will give me something to strengthen
me.”

“I will gladly give you all that I have,” said the mother, “but as I am
poor, it will not be much.”

Then she bade her daughters wait on the old woman, who had seated
herself at the table. She told Blanche to go and pick some plums from
the plum tree that Blanche herself had planted, and of which she was
very proud. But instead of obeying her mother pleasantly, she went away
grumbling, and thinking, “What a shame that I have taken such care of
my tree just for this greedy old woman!” However, she did not dare
refuse to fetch some plums, and she brought them with a very bad grace,
and evidently much against her will.

“And you, Rose,” said the mother, “you have no fruit to give this good
lady, for your grapes are not yet ripe!”

“That is true,” answered Rose, “but I hear my hen cackling. She has
just laid an egg, and I will give that with all my heart!”

And without allowing the old woman time to speak, Rose ran out to seek
the egg. But when she came back the old woman had disappeared, and in
her place stood the most beautiful lady--a Fairy.

“Good woman,” said she to the mother, “I am about to reward your two
daughters as they deserve. The elder shall become a great Queen, and
the younger shall be a farmer’s wife.”

Then the lady waved a wand and in a twinkling the little cottage was
changed into a pretty farmhouse surrounded by a flourishing farm.

“This is your wedding portion,” said she to Rose. “I know I am giving
to each of you what you like best.”

So saying the Fairy disappeared, leaving the mother and daughters
speechless with surprise and joy. They were delighted with the
spotlessness of all the furniture. The chairs were of wood, but they
were so well polished that they shone like mirrors. The beds were
covered with linen as white as snow. In the stables there were twenty
sheep, as many lambs, four oxen, four cows; and in the yard were
chickens, ducks, and pigeons. There was also a pretty garden full of
fruits and flowers.

Blanche saw without jealousy all that the Fairy had given her sister.
She was taken up with the thought of the delightful times she should
have when she became a Queen. Just then a party of royal hunters passed
by. And while she stood in the door to look at them, she appeared so
wonderfully beautiful in the eyes of the King that he determined to
marry her.

After she became Queen, she said to Rose: “I do not wish you to be a
farmer’s wife. Come with me, sister, and I will wed you to a great
lord.”

“I am much obliged to you, my sister,” answered Rose, “but I am used to
the country, and wish always to remain here.”

During the first months of her marriage Queen Blanche was so occupied
with fine clothes, balls, and the theatre, that she thought of nothing
else. But afterward she became accustomed to the gay doings of the
Court, and nothing amused her. On the contrary, she had many troubles.

At first the courtiers paid her great deference, but she knew that when
she was not present, they said to each other: “See how this little
peasant puts on the airs of a fine lady! The King must have very low
taste to choose such a wife!”

Talk like this came to the King, and he began to think that he had made
a mistake in marrying Blanche, so he ceased to love her, and neglected
her sadly. When the courtiers saw this, they no longer did her honour.
She had not one true friend to whom she might confide her sorrows.
She always had a doctor near her who examined her food and took away
everything she liked. They put no salt in her soups. She was forbidden
to walk when she wished to. In a word, she was interfered with from
morning to night. The King took her children from her, and gave them in
charge of governesses who brought them up badly. But the Queen dared
not say a word.

Poor Blanche! She was dying of grief. She became so thin that everybody
pitied her. She had not seen her sister for several years, because she
thought that it would disgrace a Queen to visit a farmer’s wife. But
now feeling herself so unhappy, she asked the King’s permission to
pass a few days in the country. He gladly gave his consent, for he was
delighted to be rid of her.

When she arrived in the evening at the home of Rose, a band of
shepherds and shepherdesses were dancing gaily on the grass. “There
was a time,” sighed Blanche, “when I amused myself like these simple
people! Then there was no one to prevent it!”

While she was thinking thus, her sister ran to embrace her, looking so
happy and plump that Blanche could not help weeping as she gazed at her.

Rose had married a young farmer, who loved her dearly; and together
they managed the farm that was the Fairy’s marriage portion. Rose had
not many servants, but those she had she treated so kindly that they
were as devoted to her as if they were her children. Her neighbours,
too, were so fond of her that they were always trying to show it. She
had not much money, but she had no need of it, for her farm produced
wheat, wine, and oil; her flocks furnished milk; and she made butter
and cheese. She spun the wool of her sheep into clothing for her
household, all of whom enjoyed the best of health. When the day’s work
was done, the whole family amused themselves with games, music, and
dancing.

“Alas!” cried Queen Blanche, “the Fairy made me but a sad gift when
she gave me a crown! People do not find happiness in magnificent
palaces, but in the simple joys and labour of the country!”

As she finished speaking, the Fairy herself appeared before her.

“I did not intend to reward you by making you a Queen,” she said, “but
to punish you because you gave your plums with such bad grace. In order
to be truly happy it is necessary to possess, like your sister, only
those things that are simple and joyful, and not to wish for more.”

“Ah, madame!” cried Blanche, “you are sufficiently avenged! Pray put an
end to my misery!”

“It is ended,” replied the Fairy. “Even now the King, who has ceased
to love you, is sending his officers to forbid your returning to the
palace.”

All happened as the Fairy had said. And Blanche passed the rest of her
life with Rose. She was happy and contented, never even thinking of the
royal Court, except when she thanked the Fairy for taking her from it,
and bringing her back to the pretty farm and to her dear sister.

                                          _Madame Le Prince de Beaumont_



THE ENCHANTED WATCH


There once lived a gay young girl named Fannie, who never knew what
time it was. Did she care? That I cannot say. And it is impossible for
me to tell you how often she kept her father waiting, and caused him
to be late for his appointments. And such a kind father as he was to
Fannie, for she was his only child and he loved her very much. Indeed,
he loved her so much that he overlooked her faults when he should have
reproved them. Whole half-hours she used to keep the carriage waiting
in front of the door, while she prinked before her mirror. And because
she was never prompt, every one called her “Miss Tardy.” Yet, after
keeping people waiting, she would excuse herself in the sweetest manner
possible, and blame herself for thoughtlessness.

One day her old Godmother wrote that she was coming the next morning
to lunch with Fannie at noon. She was a Fairy so celebrated for her
promptness that people called her “the Fairy Prompt,” of which name she
was very proud. With her, _noon_ was not ten minutes after twelve, nor
ten minutes before twelve, but it was _exactly twelve o’clock_.

So the next morning, at the first stroke of twelve, she set her foot
on the bottom step of Fannie’s house, and, as the last stroke died
away, she entered the dining-room. The table was beautifully laid,
and all was ready, but Fannie was not there. Indeed, Miss Tardy had
forgotten all about her Godmother, and was calling on a friend. She was
trying on her friend’s beautiful new clothes and having such a fine
time that the Godmother was utterly forgotten, as if she had never been
in the world.

But at last hunger reminded Fannie of luncheon, and she hurried home.
The servants informed her that her Godmother had arrived, but as
Fannie’s shoes pinched her, she rushed to her room and put on a pretty
little pair of slippers. Then, as her street clothes were not suitable
for slippers, she changed her dress for a becoming house-gown. By this
time it was two o’clock.

She found her Godmother asleep in a comfortable chair, such as is not
made any more; and, I think, she was snoring a little. She awoke as
Fannie opened the door hurriedly.

“My dear Godmother,” said she, “I am so sorry!--so ashamed!--I am
indeed a thoughtless creature to keep you waiting this way!”

“That is all right,” said the Godmother, who was very kind and
indulgent to Fannie. “I have slept a little, while waiting for you.
That will do me no harm. What time is it?”

“Oh, please do not ask me!” begged Fannie, “you will make me die with
shame!”

And like a playful child she ran and stood in front of the clock, but
her Fairy Godmother, who had good eyes, saw that the hand had passed
two o’clock.

The dinner, as you may well imagine, was overdone, but the Fairy,
who really loved her goddaughter, took it all as good-naturedly as
possible, and made many gay jokes as she tried to eat the burnt roasts
and the scorched creams.

It was soon four o’clock, and Fannie’s father hurriedly entered the
drawing-room, where she was chatting with her Godmother.

“Well, Fannie!” he cried. “Are you ready? Are you ready?” Then he
started back when he saw his daughter, in her pretty pink and blue
house-gown, stretched indolently on a sofa, her feet to the fire, while
she daintily sipped her coffee.

“What!” exclaimed her father. “Have you forgotten that you were to be
ready at four o’clock!”

“Do you not see my Godmother with me, Papa?” said Fannie reproachfully.

“Pardon me, madame,” said the father, turning to the Fairy and bowing,
although his face was red with anger. “Excuse my rudeness, but my
daughter will cause me to die with grief!”

“And what has the poor child done?” asked the Godmother.

“Judge for yourself,” said he. “Prince Pandolph has invited us to his
villa. Fannie is to sing for his guests. They are all assembled and
expecting her. The Prince has sent his carriage which is now waiting
before the door.”

“But, Papa,” said Fannie, “cannot you go without me?”

“You know that cannot be, child,” said her father sadly. “It is you who
are invited, and it is your fine voice that the Prince wishes for his
musicale. He will now be offended for ever, since you cannot go in this
dress.”

“Calm yourself, my good sir,” said the Godmother, seeing Fannie’s
confusion. “It is because of me that this dear little one has forgotten
you. It is for me to repair this evil.”

So saying she passed her hand over the unfortunate house-gown and it
was instantly transformed into the most ravishing robe embroidered with
gold and pearls. Fannie, who was naturally very pretty, shone like a
star in this brilliant costume.

“Wait a minute,” said the Fairy to the impatient father, who was
already leading his daughter away. “Let me finish my work.” And she put
around the neck of her goddaughter a magnificent golden chain at the
end of which hung an exquisite little watch the size of a locket, and
all of chased gold studded with diamonds.

“Now, little one,” said she, kissing the forehead of the spoilt child,
“here is something that will aid your naughty memory. With this you
will never again forget an engagement. Be sure to come home by ten
o’clock.”

“Oh, yes, indeed!” said Fannie, kissing her Godmother joyfully.

It is necessary to say here that it was the Fairy Prompt who invented
watches in her youth. But hers were not like those sold nowadays in the
shops. There was a magic virtue in each watch, for when the hour of an
engagement arrived, it made so loud a ticking that the owner of it had
no peace until he kept his engagement.

So it happened that while Fannie was listening to the praises of the
Prince and his guests, who were saying that she had the most delightful
voice in the world, she heard a gentle sound, but very distinct:--

“_Tic! Tic! Tic!_”

“It is ten o’clock!” exclaimed Fannie joyously to her father. “Oh! my
dear, good, little watch, that my Godmother gave me, it has told me so!
We must hurry home.”

Her father, who was very much pleased because she had charmed the
Prince and his guests with her sweet voice, said as they drove away:--

“My dear child, to-morrow I am going to take you to the finest jeweller
in town, and buy for you the bracelet of antique cameos that you have
been begging me for. At what time do you wish to go? At ten o’clock?”

“Oh, no!” cried Fannie, her eyes sparkling with delight, “at nine
o’clock, please! Ever since I saw the bracelet I have been dying to
possess it!”

“Very good! At nine o’clock, then. And what shall we do with the rest
of our morning?”

“At exactly ten I am to go to the dressmaker’s to order some new
gowns,” said Fannie, “but may we not lunch together at eleven?”

“Just as you say, dear little nightingale,” answered her father
affectionately. “And order all the gowns and furbelows you wish, for
the plumage should match the warbling. And since it suits you, I will
meet you promptly at eleven, for at twelve I have an important business
engagement.”

“At eleven o’clock, then, dear Papa,” said Fannie, “but do not forget
to return in time this evening to escort me to the Baron’s ball!”

“Don’t worry!” said her father, smiling, “for nothing in the world
would I make a pearl of a daughter like you wait for an escort!”

The next morning Fannie rose early and dressed more rapidly than
usual, and was ready waiting for her father at nine. They drove to
the jeweller’s. How her eyes sparkled as her father clasped the cameo
bracelet on her arm! But the jeweller, who hoped to sell Fannie a
necklace as well, took from his showcase such beautiful collars of
pearls, rubies, amethysts, and other gems and precious stones that she
forgot how the time was flying.

“_Tic! Tic! Tic! Tic!_”

“Thank you, dear watch, for warning me!” said Fannie gaily, “but the
dressmaker must wait!”

“_Tic! Tic! Tic! Tic! Tic!_”

“You insupportable thing!” cried she, and taking the watch from her
neck she handed it to her father, saying: “I beg you, dear Papa, to put
this in your pocket. It is very annoying!”

He took the watch, and seeing a friend on the street, went to the door
to speak with him.

“_Toc! Toc! Toc! Toc!_”

The watch raised its voice so that Fannie should hear it. The people
in the shop all asked where the noise came from. And her father,
mortified, said good-bye to his friend, gave back the watch to Fannie,
and hurried her into the carriage.

She was soon at the dressmaker’s, and her ill-humour passed as she
ordered a dress of pink brocade trimmed with rich lace, and a robe of
garnet velvet embroidered with gold threads, and a cloak of silver
cloth trimmed with pearls. She was not yet through when she glanced at
the clock, and saw that it was eleven.

“Oh!” thought she, “that horrid watch is going to disturb me again! But
I’ll finish my ordering!”

“_Toc! Toc! Toc! Toc!_”

The dressmaker turned her head. “What’s that, Miss?” she exclaimed with
fright.

“It is nothing, let us go on!” said Miss Tardy.

“_Toc! Toc! Toc! Toc!_” louder than before.

“It is thieves! It is thieves!” cried the dressmaker.

“It is nothing I tell you--unfold this gown.”

“_Toc!--Toc!--Toc!--Toc!_” louder and louder!

And the poor dressmaker, half dead with fright, was in such a state
that she could show no more clothes. And Fannie put on her hat and
coat, and hurried away to the restaurant where she found her father
walking nervously up and down.

“Ah! how thoughtful of you, dear child, to be prompt!” he said, as he
led her to a table. And the delicious food soon made her forget her
annoyance.

When Fannie returned home she was so fatigued that she put on a
charming wrapper, and lay down to rest. Then she remembered that she
had an engagement to see a poor man at two o’clock, whose want she had
promised to relieve. She took the fatal watch from her neck, and giving
it to the maid, said:--

“Take this, and carry it to the cellar, so that I may be rid of it!”

Two o’clock struck, and the poor old man, who had had nothing to eat
for three days, presented himself. The maid told him that Miss Fannie
was sleeping and would not see him. With tears streaming down his
cheeks, he bowed humbly and was turning away, when everybody in the
house jumped to the ceiling.

“_Paf! Paf! Paf! Paf!_” It was like so many shots from a pistol.

The neighbours commenced screaming. The servants ran frantically to and
fro.

Fannie sprang up from her couch.

“_Paf! Paf! Paf! Paf!_”

“It must be that wretched watch!” cried she.

“_Paf!--Paf!--Paf!--Paf!_”

“Yes! Yes! I am coming! I am coming!” And she hurried to the cellar
and, picking up the watch, returned to her room in silence.

Then she called the poor old man, fed him, and comforted him, and sent
him away with a full purse.

Evening arrived, and Fannie, all dressed for the Baron’s ball, shone
more beautifully than ever in her magnificent gown. And just as her
father was leading her to the carriage, a clumsy wagon drove up, and
an old countrywoman descended from it, crying out that she must see her
dear child--her Fannie--just once more before she died. It was Fannie’s
old nurse who had come all the way from her village miles distant to
hold her dear child in her arms. When she saw that Fannie was ready to
go out, she screamed loudly and would have made herself ill, if Fannie
had not embraced her tenderly, and promised to return before midnight.
On the strength of this promise the old woman grew calm, and Fannie and
her father went away to the ball.

But as the carriage drove through the streets, Fannie regretted her
promise, and slipping her little hand under her cloak, she loosened the
fatal watch, and flung it into a deep ditch.

“At last! At last!” she said to herself, with a sigh of relief.

Midnight sounded, and found her breathlessly twirling around in the
dance, her eyes sparkling and her cheeks glowing.

“_Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!_”

The orchestra stopped suddenly. The thunderclaps--for so they seemed to
be--continued to follow each other without interruption.

“_Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!_”

All the city was awake. Women cried out that the end of the world was
come.

The unfortunate Fannie knew in a minute what it was. Fright seized her,
and she lost her head. Instead of returning home quietly, which would
have put an end to the horrible racket, she ran out into the street,
and, wild with fright, hastened with all speed to the spot where she
had thrown the watch.

“_Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!_”

The houses were lighted. The amazed people thrust their heads out
the windows. All that they saw was a young girl running through the
streets, her neck and head bare, and her ball-gown flying in the wind.

“_Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom! Boom!_”--every stroke was
louder and more fearful.

The firemen came hurrying up to see if there was a fire, and one of
them held his lantern under Fannie’s nose, and cried out: “Why, it is
little Miss Tardy! She has doubtless lost the time, and is hunting for
it! Ha! Ha!”

Meanwhile Fannie ran on, and arrived breathlessly at the ditch into
which she had flung the watch. Guided by its thunderous blows, she
quickly laid her fingers on it. In a fury she was about to dash it
against a stone when she felt a hand on her arm.

It was her Fairy Godmother, who, in gentle tones of reproach, said:
“What are you doing, my child? You can never succeed!”

Then she took the watch from Fannie, which instantly became quiet, and
passed the chain around the neck of her goddaughter, who was trembling
with penitence and shame.

“Neither violence nor trickery,” said her Godmother, “have any power
over my gift to you. All you can do is to take it, and obey. And then
you will find yourself happy.”

At the same moment Miss Tardy felt herself being transported through
the air, and found herself once more in her own room, holding the hand
of her old nurse, who was weeping with tenderness and joy.

I have no need to tell you that Fannie never again attempted to disobey
the protecting tyrant that she wore around her neck. And as the watch
no longer had to warn her with its loud ticking, she learned in time to
enjoy sacrificing her whims to her duty.

                                                 _Jean Macé_ (_Adapted_)



QUEEN MAB


  A little Fairy comes at night;
    Her eyes are blue, her hair is brown,
  With silver spots upon her wings,
    And from the moon she flutters down.

  She has a little silver wand;
    And when a good child goes to bed,
  She waves her wand from right to left,
    And makes a circle round its head.

  And then it dreams of pleasant things,
    Of fountains filled with Fairy fish,
  And trees that bear delicious fruit,
    And bow their branches at a wish;

  Of arbours filled with dainty scents
    From lovely flowers that never fade;
  Bright flies that glitter in the sun
    And glow-worms shining in the shade;

  And talking birds with gifted tongues
    For singing songs and telling tales,
  And pretty Dwarfs to show the way
    Through Fairy hills and Fairy dales.

  But when a bad child goes to bed,
    From left to right she weaves her rings,
  And then it dreams all through the night
    Of only ugly horrid things!

  Then wicked children wake and weep,
    And wish the long black gloom away;
  But good ones love the dark, and find
    The night as pleasant as the day.

                _Thomas Hood_ (_Condensed_)



FAIRY ADVENTURES



  _A little knight and little maid
    Met on the rim of Fairyland;
  A rippling stream betwixt them played;
    The little knight reached out his hand,_

  _And said: “Now, may I cross to you,
    Or will you come across to me?”
  Out spoke the little maiden true:
    “Sir knight, nor this nor that can be:_

  _“For I am here white flowers to sow,
    That little maidens far behind,
  Or wandering on the plains below,
    Their pathway up the hill may find._

  _“And you are there good work to do;
    To clear the brambles from the way,
  That little knights who follow you
    May not upon the mountains stray.”_

                               LUCY LARCOM



FAIRY DO-NOTHING AND GIANT SNAP-’EM-UP


In the days of yore there lived a very idle, greedy, naughty boy such
as we never hear of in these times. His name was Master No-Book. The
young gentleman hated lessons like mustard, both of which brought
tears to his eyes. And during school hours he sat gazing at his books,
pretending to be busy, while he considered where he could get the
nicest pies, pastries, ices, and jellies. He smacked his lips at the
very thought of them.

Whenever Master No-Book spoke, it was to ask for a piece of cake, or
an apple, or a bit of plum pudding. Indeed, very frequently when he
did not get permission to eat the goodies, this naughty glutton helped
himself without leave.

One afternoon Master No-Book, having played truant from school, was
lolling on his mamma’s best sofa, with his leather boots tucked up on
the satin cushions, and nothing to do but to suck a few oranges, and
nothing to think of but how much sugar to put into them, when suddenly
an event took place which filled him with astonishment.

A sound of soft music stole into the room, becoming louder and louder,
the longer he listened, till at length a large hole burst open in the
wall of the room. Then there stepped into his presence two magnificent
Fairies, just arrived from their castles in the air, to pay him a
visit. They had travelled all the way on purpose to talk with Master
No-Book.

The Fairy Do-Nothing was gorgeously dressed with a wreath of flames
round her head, a robe of gold tissue, a necklace of rubies, and a
bouquet of glittering diamonds in her hand. Her teeth were gold, her
hair was of the most brilliant purple, and her eyes were green. In fact
she was a most fine and fashionable Fairy.

The Fairy Teach-All, who followed next, was simply dressed in white
muslin, with bunches of natural flowers in her brown hair; and she
carried a few, neat, small books, which made Master No-Book shudder.

The two Fairies now informed him that they very often invited large
parties of children to spend some time at their palaces. Therefore they
had now come to invite Master No-Book, but as they lived in opposite
directions, he would have to choose which he would visit first.

“In my house,” said the Fairy Teach-All, speaking with a very sweet
smile, and a soft, pleasing voice, “my young friends rise at seven
every morning, and amuse themselves with working in a beautiful garden
of flowers, raising fruits of all kinds, visiting the poor, playing
together, and learning to know the world they live in and how to
fulfill the purposes for which they have been brought into it. In
short, all our amusements tend to some useful object; and you will
grow wiser, better, and happier every day you remain in the Palace of
Knowledge.”

“But in the Castle Needless, where I live,” interrupted the Fairy
Do-Nothing, rudely pushing her companion aside, “we never think of
working. No one is ever asked a question. We lead the most fashionable
life imaginable. Each of my visitors sits with his back to as many
of the company as possible, and whenever he can, he sits in the most
comfortable chair. If he takes the trouble to wish for anything, he
gets it. Clothes are provided of the most magnificent kinds, which
go on by themselves without buttons or strings. Delicious dishes are
served smoking hot under his nose, at all hours, while any rain that
falls is of lemonade, chocolate, and cider. And in Winter it generally
snows ice-cream and tutti-frutti, for an hour during the forenoon.”

Nobody need be told which Fairy Master No-Book preferred. And quite
charmed at his good fortune in receiving such a delightful invitation,
he eagerly gave his hand to his splendid new acquaintance, who promised
him so much pleasure and ease. He gladly proceeded with her in a
carriage lined with velvet, stuffed with downy pillows, and drawn by
milk-white swans, to that magnificent residence, Castle Needless, which
was lighted by a thousand windows during the day and by a million lamps
at night.

Here Master No-Book enjoyed a constant holiday and a continual feast. A
beautiful lady, covered with jewels, was ready to tell him stories from
morning till night. Servants waited to pick up his playthings if they
fell, and to draw out his purse or pocket handkerchief when he wished
to use them.

Thus Master No-Book lay dozing for hours and days on richly embroidered
cushions, never stirring from his place in the garden, but admiring
the view of trees covered with the richest burnt almonds, the grottoes
of sugar-candy, a fountain of lemonade, and a bright clear pond filled
with goldfish that let themselves be caught.

Nothing could be more complete, yet strange to say Master No-Book did
not seem particularly happy. Every day he became more peevish. No
sweetmeats were worth the trouble of eating, no game was pleasant to
play, and he wished that it were possible to sleep all day as well as
night.

Not a hundred miles from the Fairy Do-Nothing’s palace, there lived a
cruel monster called the Giant Snap-’Em-Up. When he stood erect, he
looked like the tall steeple of a great church. He raised his head so
high that he could peep over the loftiest mountains; and he was obliged
to climb a ladder to comb his own hair.

Every morning this prodigiously great Giant walked round the world
before breakfast, looking for something to eat. He lived in fine style,
and his dinners were most magnificent, consisting of an elephant
roasted whole, ostrich patties, a tiger smothered in onions, stewed
lions, and whale soup. But for a side dish, his favourite of all
consisted of little boys, as fat as possible, fried in crumbs of bread
with plenty of pepper and salt.

No children were so well-fed or in such good condition for eating as
those in the Fairy Do-Nothing’s garden, who was a particular friend of
the Giant Snap-’Em-Up. She oftentimes laughingly said that she gave
him permission to help himself, whenever he pleased, to as many of her
visitors as he chose. And in return for such civility the Giant often
invited her to dinner.

One day, when Master No-Book felt even more lazy, more idle, more
miserable than ever, he lay beside a perfect mountain of toys and
cakes, wondering what to wish for next, and hating the very sight of
everything and everybody. At last he gave so loud a yawn of weariness
and disgust, and he sighed so deeply, that the Giant Snap-’Em-Up heard
the sounds as he passed along the road before breakfast.

Instantly he stepped into the garden to see what was the matter. On
observing a large, fat, overgrown boy, as round as a dumpling, lying on
a bed of roses, he gave a cry of delight, followed by a gigantic peal
of laughter which was heard three miles off.

Picking up Master No-Book between his finger and thumb, with a pinch
that nearly broke his ribs, he carried him rapidly toward his own
castle; while the Fairy Do-Nothing laughingly shook her head as he
passed, saying:--

“That little man does me great credit! He has been fed only for a week,
and is as fat already as a prize ox! What a dainty morsel he will be!
When do you dine, my friend Snap-’Em-Up, in case I should have time to
look in upon you?”

On reaching home the Giant immediately hung up Master No-Book by the
hair of his head on a prodigious hook in the larder. Then he went away
to look for more little boys.

There, in torture of mind and body--like a fish on a hook--the wretched
Master No-Book began to reflect seriously on his former ways, and to
consider what a happy home he might have had if he had been satisfied
to go to school and study with the other boys.

In the midst of these sad reflections, Master No-Book’s attention was
attracted by the sound of many voices laughing, talking, and singing,
which caused him to turn his eyes and look out of the larder window.
For the first time he observed that the Fairy Teach-All’s garden lay
upon a beautiful sloping bank not far away.

There a crowd of merry, noisy, rosy-cheeked boys were busily employed,
and seemed happier than the day was long. Poor Master No-Book watched
them, envying the enjoyment with which they raked the flower-borders,
gathered fruit, carried baskets of vegetables to the poor, worked with
carpenters’ tools, drew pictures, shot with bows and arrows, and played
ball. Then they sat in sunny arbours learning their lessons, till,
the dinner-bell having been rung, the whole party sat down to a feast
of roast meat, apple-pie, and other good wholesome things. The Fairy
Teach-All presided, and helped her guests to as much as was good for
them.

Large tears rolled down the cheeks of Master No-Book while watching
this scene, and remembering that if he had known what was best for him,
he might have been as happy as the happiest of these excellent boys,
instead of being about to suffer a most miserable death.

Now, as the Giant Snap-’Em-Up wished a nice dish of fried boys for
dinner, and as there was plenty of time, he seized a large basket in
his hand, and set off at a rapid pace toward the Fairy Teach-All’s
garden. It was very seldom that Snap-’Em-Up ventured to forage there,
as he had never once succeeded in carrying off a single captive from
that garden, it was so well fortified and so bravely defended. But on
this occasion, being desperately hungry, he felt bold as a lion, and
walked with outstretched hands straight toward the Fairy Teach-All’s
dinner-table, taking such huge strides that he seemed almost to trample
on himself.

A cry of consternation arose the minute this tremendous Giant appeared.
And as usual, as when on such occasions he had made the same attempt
before, a dreadful battle took place. Fifty active little boys flew
upon the enemy with their dinner knives, and like a nest of hornets,
stung him in every direction, till he roared with pain, and would have
run away; but the Fairy Teach-All rushed forward, and cut off his head
with the carving-knife.

If a great mountain had fallen to the earth, it would have seemed like
nothing in comparison with the Giant Snap-’Em-Up, who crushed houses to
powder under him. But the greatest event which occurred was the death
of the Fairy Do-Nothing, who had been looking on at this battle, and
who was too lazy to run away. When the Giant fell, his sword came with
so violent a stroke on her head that she instantly expired.

The Fairy Teach-All, seeing the enemy dead, hastened to the Giant’s
Castle, and lost no time in liberating Master No-Book from his hook in
the larder.

From this very hour, Master No-Book became the most diligent, active,
happy boy in the Fairy Teach-All’s garden. And on returning home a
few months afterward, he astonished all his teachers at school by his
wisdom and studiousness. He scarcely ever stirred without a book in his
hand, never lay on a sofa again, and preferred a three-legged stool to
a comfortable chair with a back. He detested holidays, and never ate a
morsel of food till he had worked very hard and got an appetite.

When he grew up, he was known as Sir Timothy Bluestocking. And
though generally very good-natured and agreeable, Sir Timothy was
occasionally to be seen in a violent passion, laying around him with
his walking-stick, and beating little boys within an inch of their
lives. It invariably appeared that he had found them to be lazy, idle,
or greedy.

                                        _Catherine Sinclair_ (_Adapted_)



TIMOTHY TUTTLE AND THE LITTLE IMPS


Timothy Tuttle, Esquire, was reclining on his soft, comfortable sofa.
The gas-light flashed brilliantly over the rich rug and rosewood
furniture, and fell softly on the velvet-seated chairs and heavy
curtains. It was a mild evening in June, and the cool air came
refreshingly in, while the bright light flashed gaily out the windows.

Timothy Tuttle, Esquire, one of the richest merchants in the city,
was reposing after the fatigues of the day. He was thinking how very
good and respectable he was, and of his success in life, of his great
wealth, and especially of his ships now in the China seas, which were
bringing him even more wealth. Then he thought of his plans for a fine
new mansion, and how he would now be able to purchase many costly
things for his home. Very soon he grew weary, and fell asleep.

Suddenly he awoke and heard something moving over the rug, and turning
his head to see what it was, beheld a dozen or more of the strangest
little creatures capering about. They were like little Imps in human
form, but winged and not higher than Timothy’s knee. They were
coal-black from head to foot, and were moving around with grace and
agility.

Timothy Tuttle was a brave man, but he was very much startled to see
this unexpected sight. For as soon as the little Imps perceived that he
was awake, they began to bow to him in quick succession, more and more
rapidly, and all the time grinning and showing their white teeth from
ear to ear.

Then Timothy Tuttle heard something squeak close to his head, and saw
one of the little creatures sitting on the arm of the sofa and mowing
at him.

“Don’t be afraid, Timothy, it’s only I!” it squeaked.

“Who on earth are you,” asked Timothy, “and what do you want?”

This question seemed to amuse all the little fellows hugely, for they
began to bow again, grinning and capering in fine style, and crying
out:--

“How do you do, Timothy?”

“We are very glad to see you, Timothy!”

“Don’t be afraid, Timothy, we’re all here!”

“I am glad of that!” exclaimed Timothy; “I’m glad that there are no
more of you!”

“Plenty more! Plenty more, Timothy!” they cried, laughing and holding
their sides. “But we’ll do, Timothy! We’ll do! Oh, yes, we’ll do!
We’ll do!”

Timothy Tuttle was no coward, but he could not help feeling somewhat
frightened as he looked at their antics; and he gazed around to see
where they could have come in. The door was locked, and only the window
was open.

“What do you want? Go away! Go away!” he cried, in a husky voice.

The little Imps grinned all the more.

“Dee-lighted to see you, Timothy!”

“Flattering reception, Timothy!”

“We’ll be happy to stay, Timothy!”

And with that they began to bow again with great politeness.

Timothy looked about for some weapon of defence, but saw nothing within
reach.

“What do you want?” he demanded again.

“Want you, Timothy!”

“Must come with us, Timothy!”

“Where to?” he demanded.

At that all the little Imps pointed over their shoulders with their
thumbs, to the open window.

Timothy reflected that, as he was in the second story of the house, any
attempt to go out by the window, without wings, would be preposterous.
He drew his hand across his eyes to make sure that he was not asleep;
then he looked again, and there were all the little Imps bowing more
politely than ever. He seized a pillow, and was about to throw it at
them, when they flew at him, dragged the pillow out of his hands,
overpowered him, and picking him up by the arms and legs, flew out of
the window, carrying him off bodily.

How far he was carried Timothy Tuttle never knew, but it seemed to him
a very long distance. When he found himself again at liberty, he was
lying on the bare ground in the cold moonlight. He sprang up, and saw
all the little Imps standing in a circle around him, bowing and nodding
with great good-humour.

He looked about. He found himself on an open plain, surrounded by
forests. Nothing was in sight except a very large Gothic building in
the centre of the plain. It was old, but a larger and more magnificent
building Timothy had never seen. Its pointed roof rose to the skies,
and stained-glass windows adorned its gray stone walls. The turrets and
towers were beautifully carved, and the walls were hung here and there
with green ivy. But the building was falling into decay. Some of the
windows were broken, and some of the stones crumbling to ruin. A few of
the arches were fallen, and the roof threatened to cave in.

Timothy Tuttle turned from surveying this building, to look at his
grinning companions.

“You’re wanted, Timothy!” cried one.

“Where?” he asked hoarsely.

They all pointed over their shoulders with their thumbs at the great
door of the building.

“But what if I will not go?” he asked, in as cool and determined a
voice as he could assume.

At this all the little Imps began to caper about in great glee,
singing:--

  “_Mortals rash
  Who disobey,
  Little Imps
  Will bear away!
  If they still
  Refuse to go,
  If they dare
  To answer, ‘No!’
  Take a pin,
  And stick it in!_”

At that instant Timothy Tuttle felt a sharp pain in one of his legs,
and he could not help crying out. He knew that there was nothing to do
but to obey, so he turned and walked toward the building, while the
quick patter of tiny feet and the flutter of wings told him that the
little Imps were close behind.

Only once did he turn his head, and his ears were greeted with:--

“Oh, yes, Timothy! We’re all here!”

When Timothy had entered the door, he found that the interior of the
building was one great room. Around its sides were galleries rising
tier above tier, and under the galleries were recesses and alcoves;
still, it was all one room.

From the centre of the arched ceiling hung a splendid chandelier, with
a thousand lamps. But most of the lights were extinguished, and the few
that were burning, flickered and smoked so badly that the building was
dimly lighted.

When Timothy first entered, his ears were filled with a hissing and
fluttering sound, and after he had been there long enough to become
used to the dim light, he saw that the whole building was full of just
such little Imps as had brought him hither. They were flying up and
down, and flitting to and fro, and seemed very busy. Looking up, he saw
four or five large windows through which some appeared to fly away,
while others would dart through into the building with great swiftness,
just as bees come and go from the hive. But the most astonishing part
of it all was their extraordinary politeness to Timothy, and the
grinning that showed on all sides as he entered.

Now, as we have said before, Timothy Tuttle was no coward, and,
stepping up to one of the little Imps who had just flown in, he said:--

“You seem to know me.”

“Oh, yes, Timothy!” replied the little fellow, nodding violently. “Yes!
I know you! I know you!”

“Well, where do you all go to out those windows? And where do you come
from?”

“Oh, I’ve just been to China!”

Timothy looked as if he did not believe him.

“Yes, I’ve just been to the China seas, on board your ships, and I
have been counting your wealth.” And the little wretch winked fast and
knowingly.

Timothy was dumb. He remembered what he had been thinking when he fell
asleep.

His grinning companion left him, and he wandered about the great
edifice, where he saw a large number of little Imps busily at work.
Some were painting the wall with small brushes. It was amazing to see
how rapidly they could sketch a picture.

Timothy watched them for a moment, and fairly held his breath when he
saw one by one past scenes of his own life start out upon the wall.
Many of the scenes he had thought that no one knew of but himself. But
here one or another of his deeds, good and bad, was drawn to the very
life upon the wall! And as they worked, the little fellows grinned and
sang, but Timothy could not understand what they said.

Timothy turned away from these grinning little creatures, and moved to
where another group were sketching other pictures. He was almost afraid
to look at the pictures, but when he did so, he saw that the painters
were making designs too ugly and horrid to look at. But Timothy was
perplexed, for of all the pictures there was none that he did not
think he had seen _somewhere_ before. And these little Imps were
singing the same song that the others were singing, and Timothy thought
that he caught the refrain:--

  “_Bad little,
  Sad little,
  Mad little
      Thoughts!_”

Here he turned to look into the recesses and alcoves under the
galleries. Not all the inhabitants of the edifice were like the little
creatures who had brought him hither. Oh, no! In the shadows of the
great pillars there lurked and crawled great slimy things that made
one shudder to see. Enormous spiders, larger than any Timothy had ever
dreamed of, ran swiftly across the floor. Centipedes and lizards clung
to the mouldy walls, and cold, slippery serpents glided noiselessly
along. Occasionally he came upon huge shapeless creatures who lay
curled upon the floor, staring at him with watery eyes.

Timothy hastily picked his way out into the light again. Here he found
other groups of painters. One group was using brighter colours and
blending them beautifully. But he could scarcely believe his own eyes
when he saw the picture of the fine mansion he was planning, and the
images of a thousand other things he had wished and hoped for.

But the painters in the next group were acting very strangely. They
touched their brushes to the wall hastily and tremblingly, glancing
over their shoulders as if in terror. And though their pictures did not
assume any definite form, Timothy felt most uneasy. There he saw the
dim outline of another world of which he had heard, but had forgotten
to think of for many years.

Meanwhile Timothy had reached the upper end of the room, and found
himself close to a great curtain tightly drawn. On either side of it
he beheld a marble basin. One of the basins had evidently contained a
fountain, but it was now half choked with mud, and only a little water
oozed out of it. On looking into the other, he was astonished to find
it full of liquid fire.

Just then he heard behind the curtain the sound as of a mighty rushing
wind, and at the same moment the two fountains boiled up and cast out
their dirt, and this they continued to do until each basin was brimming
full, one of pure water and the other of pure fire.

The little Imps, too, heard the sound. At first they were awed and
hushed; then they began to fly about in confusion until Timothy was
bewildered by the noise and movement.

Suddenly the curtain was parted, and Timothy saw a stately Lady seated
upon a throne in a noble arched recess. Her head was thrown back, her
eyes flashed, and in her hand she held a scourge every thong of which
seemed to writhe and twist and end in little snappers of fire.

At the sight of this scourge and the frown on the Lady’s face, all the
little Imps began to howl dismally. The Lady arose, and came down from
her throne into the centre of the room, and the little Imps fled before
her. But they could not escape. Seizing the first one she met, she
plunged him several times into the basin of water. Then taking him out,
she carried him kicking and quivering to the other basin, and plunged
him into the fire. Timothy stood horror-stricken. He leaned against a
pillar to support himself, but what was his astonishment to see the
Lady take the little fellow out of the basin, and release him; and he
ran away unharmed. But a strange thing had happened. The little Imp was
no longer so black, and instead of grinning maliciously, he was now
smiling as pleasantly as possible.

The Lady seized every little Imp in the room, in the same manner, and
plunged him into both basins. Then she collected troops of the Imps,
and drove them before her with the fiery scourge. She made them begin
to scrape the dirt off the floor, and down from the walls, to repair
the broken places in the roof, and to polish the rusty and musty spots.
And all the rubbish she made them throw into the basin full of pure
fire. Sometimes two or three little Imps would carry one of the great
slimy reptiles, and drop him in, and all those thus dropped into the
fire never came out again.

And as the little Imps worked, they broke into a song:--

  “_All the rubbish
  Thither take!
  Little whip
  Will make us ache!
  Tug! Tug!
  The big bug,
  Spider foul,
  And slimy thing,
  In the fire,
  Lightly fling!_

  “_Rub! Rub!
  Off the rust!
  Sweep! Sweep!
  Away the dust!
  Sparkle! Sparkle!
  Precious stone,
  Pearly roof,
  And ivory throne!_

  “_Oh, dear! dear! dear!
  Hear the fiery lashes crack!
  On each little lazy back!
  Hear the glowing basin boil!
  Little Imps must burn or toil!_”

Timothy watched and listened until he became very weary; then he
stretched himself out on the floor and fell asleep.

When he awoke, he found himself lying in a dazzling light. How long he
had been asleep he did not know. He sprang to his feet with an agility
and ease that he had never felt before. He looked about him. There was
still the same great room, the same chandelier with its thousand lamps,
the same pattering of little feet and rustling of wings! But, oh, how
changed! How changed!

The arched roof was composed of transparent pearl, delicately carved,
and fretted with lines of brilliant rose-diamonds. Pendants hung from
the arches, formed of great diamonds and pearls cut into exquisite
shapes. The walls were of ruby and topaz, and sparkled with mosaics of
precious gems, representing scenes more beautiful than any ever seen on
earth. The huge pillars were of jasper and around them was twined the
graceful immortal amaranth. The floor was of coloured marble, inlaid
with onyx and amethyst.

In the noble recess at the end of the room, sat the Lady on a throne
carved from ivory and studded with diamonds. Her scourge and frown had
disappeared, and from her smiling countenance shone a divine beauty.

The chandelier, every lamp of which was now pouring out a silver light,
sent a glowing radiance into the farthest corners and recesses under
the galleries, and revealed no signs of stain or shadow. The basins
threw high their spray of sparkling water and pure fire, looking like
fountains of liquid light, which fell back again with the softest music.

But the greatest change of all was in the little Imps. They were each
and all of a purer transparency of white than anything Timothy had
ever conceived. And there was not one upon whose face did not play a
smile of joy. Some of them were working harder than ever, while others
were bathing in the fountains, darting and fluttering in and out of
the spray. They looked as light and brilliant as soap-bubbles in the
sun, and flashing from their wings were all the colours of the rainbow.
Indeed, the little Imps shone so brightly that Timothy could scarcely
look at them.

But while he was examining all these wonderful changes with admiration,
he heard a silver trumpet ring through the edifice. And as its sweet
notes died away among the pearl arches, the little Imps with myriad
voices, as sweet and clear as the trumpet-call, sang:--

  “_Lightly we rise
  In the azure shies!
  Lightly we dart away!
  Lightly we roam
  Through the boundless dome!
  Or in pathless depths we stray!
    Bright little,
    White little,
    Light little
          Thoughts!_

  “_When we would try
  How high we can fly,
  When we would gaze
  On His brightest rays,
  When through glory we range,
  In colours strange,
  Lightly we turn to God!
    There hide!
    There abide!
    Bright little,
    White little,
    Light little
          Thoughts!_”

Then the most amazing thing of all happened. Timothy Tuttle, Esquire,
suddenly found himself lying once more on the soft, comfortable sofa
in his own home. The gas-light was flashing over the rich rug and
rosewood furniture, just as it had done when he had last seen the room.
He raised himself on his elbow and looked around, but not one of the
little Imps was there. Indeed, he could find no traces of them except
the marks of their tiny black feet on the rug.

But from that day forward Timothy was a changed man. His face was no
longer hard and selfish, but it beamed with good and kind thoughts. He
no longer preferred wealth to everything else in the world. He gave
up the plan for his fine new mansion--indeed, he no longer wished for
one--and he spent the remainder of his days making his family and
friends happy, and relieving the poor and needy.

                                             _Dr. John Todd_ (_Adapted_)



BUTTERFLY’S DIAMOND


Once upon a time there was a little Fairy who was remarkable for her
impatience and laziness. She was called Fairy Butterfly because she had
such splendid green wings with silver spots on them. She loved dearly
to be dressed in gorgeous colours, and to sleep in the rich chambers
of the Foxgloves, or to flutter over beds of fragrant Mignonette. In
truth, she was as luxurious a little Fairy as the sun ever shone on. So
much did she like her ease that she would not gather a single dew-drop
to bathe her face, nor would she pick a fresh rose-petal for a napkin.
She played all day long, or slept curled up in the heart of a flower.
Oh, she was a lazy Fairy!

When the Queen of the Fairies observed the faults of Butterfly, she
resolved to help her to correct them. One day she summoned the lazy one
to Court, and said:--

“Fairy Butterfly, we command you to go at once to the Green Cavern
in the Island of Ceylon, and remain there until you have fashioned a
diamond more pure and brilliant than any that has ever rested on the
brow of mortal or Elf.”

Little Butterfly bowed in silence and withdrew. As soon as she was
outside the green mound in which the Fairy Queen held her Court, she
burst into a passionate flood of tears.

“I shall have to watch that diamond for months and months and years and
years,” sobbed she, “and every day I must turn it over with my wand so
that the crystals will form evenly! Oh, it is an endless labour to make
a diamond! Oh, I am a most wretched Fairy!”

So she sat, and sobbed, and murmured for several minutes. Then she
jumped up and stamped her little feet on the ground so furiously that
the blue-eyed grasses trembled.

“I won’t bear it!” she exclaimed. “I’ll run away to the Fairies of the
Air. I am sure they will be so pleased with my beauty that they will
feed me, and I shall never need to work again! As for the diamond, why,
it is just impossible for a little Fairy like me to make it!”

Then she peeped into a fountain to admire herself, and saw, alas! that
the splendid green of her wings had faded, and the silver spots were
dim. For, if Fairies have naughty thoughts, their wings always droop
and their beauty fades. At this sight, little Butterfly wept aloud with
vexation and shame.

“I suppose the old tyrant, our Queen, thinks that now I am so ugly,
I’ll hide myself in the Green Cavern in the Island of Ceylon! But I’ll
let her see that I do not care about her!” And, alas! as Butterfly
spoke thus, the silver spots disappeared entirely, and her wings became
a dirty brown.

Trembling with anger, the little one waved her wand, and called:--

  “_Hummingbird! Hummingbird!
  Come nigh! Come nigh!
  And carry me off
  To the far Blue Sky!_”

In an instant a tiny hummingbird, shining like a jewel, alighted at her
feet. She sprang on his back, and away they flew to the golden clouds
in the West where the Queen of the Air Fairies held her Court. And when
the Queen and all her Fairies saw Butterfly’s dirty brown wings, they
waved their wands and vanished. And little Butterfly was left alone in
the Palace of the Air.

But such a beautiful palace as it was! The clouds hung around it like
transparent curtains of opal. The floor was paved with a rainbow.
Thousands of gorgeous birds fluttered in the sunlight, and a multitude
of voices filled the place with sweet sounds. Butterfly, fatigued by
her flight through the sky and lulled by the voices, lay down on a rosy
cloud, and fell into a gentle slumber.

When she awoke, she saw that a tiny bird, smaller than the hummingbird,
was building a nest beside her. Straw after straw, shred after shred,
the patient little creature brought in her bill and wove together. And
then she flew away over hills and fields to find soft down with which
to line the nest.

“She is a foolish thing!” murmured Butterfly. “How hard she works, and
I don’t believe that she will finish it after all!”

But soon the bird came back with her bill full of down, and lined the
soft warm nest so that it was fit for a Fairy to sleep in. Butterfly
peeped into it, and exclaimed, “Oh, what a pretty thing!”

Immediately she heard the tinkling of a lute, and a clear voice
singing:--

  “_Bit by bit the bird builds her nest!_”

She started up, and the Queen of the Air Fairies stood before her, clad
in a robe of azure gossamer, embroidered with rainbow lights.

“Foolish Butterfly,” said she, “we allow no idlers here. Obey your
Queen, and go at once to the Green Cavern in the Island of Ceylon. Time
and patience will accomplish all things. Go and make your diamond, and
then you shall be welcome here.” Butterfly tried to tell her how very
hard it was to make a diamond, but the Queen of the Air Fairies flew
away, touching her lute, and singing:--

  “_Bit by bit the bird builds her nest!_”

Butterfly leaned her head upon her hands for a minute. She began to be
ashamed of being so lazy, but she did not yet wish to go to the lonely
Green Cavern, and work hard. So she waved her wand, and called again:--

  “_Hummingbird! Hummingbird!
  Come nigh! Come nigh!
  And carry me back
  Through the clear Blue Sky!_”

Immediately the little hummingbird returned, and she sprang on his
back. He flew down with her, and she alighted near the green mound
inside of which the Fairy Queen held her Court.

Close by the mound Butterfly saw some bees working in a crystal hive.
Wearily and sadly she watched them. They left the hive, dipped into
flowers, and carried their loads of sweet pollen back to the hive, and
there they built their wax combs filled with golden honey. “I wish,”
thought she, “that I loved to work as hard as the bees do! But as for
that diamond, it is useless to think about it! I should never finish
it!”

Just then she heard strains of delightful music coming from the mound,
and a chorus of Fairy voices singing:--

  “_Little by little the bee builds its cell!_”

Butterfly could have wept when she heard those familiar voices, for she
longed to be with her Fairy sisters dancing hand-in-hand. “I will make
the diamond,” murmured she. “I shall surely get it done sometime! And I
can fly home every night and dance in the Fairy Ring, or sleep in the
flowers!”

Immediately a joyful strain of music rose on the air, and she heard her
sisters’ voices singing:--

  “_To the Green Cavern haste away!
  Sleep by night, and work by day!
  Little by little the gem will grow,
  Till pure as sunshine it will glow!_”

Alas! when Butterfly heard this, instead of flying at once to the Green
Cavern, she began to think how hard she should have to work, and how
many times she must turn the diamond. “I never can do it!” thought she.
“I will go to the Queen of the Ocean Fairies. I am sure she will let me
live in her Sea-Palace; and I need never work again!”

Mournful notes came from the mound, as Butterfly turned toward the
seashore. When she reached the beach, she waved her wand, and called:--

  “_Nautilus! Nautilus!
  Come to me
  And carry me through
  The cold green Sea!_”

Immediately the delicate pearly boat of the nautilus came floating over
the Ocean, and a wave landed it at Butterfly’s feet. She stepped in,
and down, down, under the waves she went, down to the bed of the Ocean,
to a coral grove. And there was the magnificent palace of the Queen of
the Ocean Fairies. Its pink coral pillars were twisted into a thousand
beautiful forms. Pearls hung in deep festoons from the arches. The
fan-coral and the sea-moss were formed into deep, cool bowers. And the
hard, sandy floor was covered with many-coloured shells.

But as it had been in the Air, so it was in the Sea! When the Queen of
the Ocean Fairies saw Butterfly’s dirty brown wings, she and all her
Court waved their wands and disappeared. And Butterfly was left alone
in the Sea-Palace.

“How beautiful it is!” cried she. “Giants must have made these coral
pillars!” As she spoke her eyes were nearly blinded by a swarm of tiny
insects, and she saw them rest on an unfinished coral pillar. While she
looked and wondered, she heard a thousand shell-trumpets being blown,
and many voices singing:--

  “_Mite by mite the insect builds the coral bower!_”

The sounds drew nearer and nearer, and a hundred Fairies, standing in
beautiful shells, came floating through the water. In the largest shell
of all was their Queen in a robe of wave-coloured silk spun by the
Ocean silkworm. It was as thin as a spider’s web, and the border was
gracefully wrought with seed pearls.

“Foolish Butterfly,” said the Queen, “learn to be industrious. We allow
no idlers at our Court. Look at the coral pillars of my palace. They
were made by these swarms of little creatures. Labour and patience did
it all.”

And she waved her wand, and the hundred shells floated away, while all
the Fairies sang:--

  “_Mite by mite the insect builds the coral bower!_”

“Well!” said Butterfly, sighing. “All creatures are busy, on the earth,
in the air, and under the water. All things seem happy at their work.
Perhaps I can learn to be so, too. I will make the diamond. And it
shall be as pure and brilliant as a sunbeam in a water-drop!”

So Butterfly sought the Green Cavern in the Island of Ceylon. Day by
day she worked as busily as the coral insects. She grew cheerful and
happy. Her wings once more became a splendid green, and the silver
spots were so bright that they seemed like sparks of fire. Never had
she been so beautiful, never so much loved by the little birds and
flowers.

After seven years had passed by, Butterfly knelt at the feet of her
Queen and offered her diamond. It gave light like a star, and the whole
Fairy Mound shone with its rays. And to this day the Fairies call it
“Butterfly’s Diamond.”

                                         _Lydia Maria Child_ (_Adapted_)



LITTLE NIEBLA


Have you seen the white mist over the River Yi in the morning--a light
white mist that flies away when the sun gets hot? Yes? Then I will tell
you a story about the white mist and a little girl named Alma.

Little Alma lived close to the River Yi, but far, far from here, beyond
the trees and beyond the blue hills, for the Yi is a very long river.
She lived with her grandmother and with six uncles, all big, tall men
with long beards, and they always talked about wars, and cattle, and a
great many other important things that Alma could not understand. There
was no one to talk to Alma and for Alma to talk to or to play with. And
when she went out of the house where all the big people were talking,
she heard the cocks crowing, the dogs barking, the birds singing, the
sheep bleating, and the trees rustling their leaves over her head, and
she could not understand one word of all they said. At last, having no
one to play with or talk to, she sat down and began to cry.

Now, it happened that near the spot where she sat there was an old
black woman wearing a red shawl, who was gathering sticks for the fire,
and she asked Alma why she cried.

“Because I have no one to talk to and play with,” said Alma.

Then the old black woman drew a long brass pin out of her shawl, and
pricked Alma’s tongue with it, for she made Alma hold it out to be
pricked.

“Now,” said the old woman, “you can go and play and talk with the dogs,
cats, birds, and trees, for you will understand all they say, and they
will understand all you say.”

Alma was very glad, and ran home as fast as she could to talk to the
cat.

“Come, cat, let us talk and play together,” she said.

“Oh, no,” said the cat. “I am very busy watching a little bird, so you
must go away and play with little Niebla down by the river.”

Then the cat ran away among the weeds and left her. The dogs also
refused to play when she went to them, for they had to watch the house
and bark at strangers. Then they also told her to go and play with
little Niebla down by the river.

Then Alma ran out, and caught a little duckling, a soft little thing,
that looked like a ball of yellow cotton, and said: “Now, little duck,
let us talk and play.”

But the duckling only struggled to get away, and screamed: “Oh, Mamma!
Mamma! Come and take me away from Alma!”

Then the old duck came rushing up, and said: “Alma, let my child alone;
and if you want to play, go and play with Niebla down by the river. A
nice thing to catch my duckie in your hands--what next, I wonder!”

So she let the duckling go, and at last she said, “Yes, I will go and
play with Niebla down by the river.”

She waited till she saw the white mist, and then ran all the way to the
Yi, and stood still on the green bank close by the water with the white
mist all round her.

By and by she saw a beautiful little child come flying toward her in
the white mist. The child came and stood on the green bank, and looked
at Alma. Very, very pretty she was; and she wore a white dress--whiter
than milk, whiter than foam, and all embroidered with purple flowers.
She had also white silk stockings and scarlet shoes, bright as scarlet
verbenas. Her hair was long and fluffy, and shone like gold, and round
her neck she had a string of big, gold beads.

Then Alma said, “Oh, beautiful little girl, what is your name?”

To which the little girl answered: “Niebla.”

“Will you talk to me, and play with me?” said Alma.

“Oh, no,” said Niebla; “how can I play with a little girl dressed as
you are, and with bare feet?”

For, you know, poor Alma only wore a little old frock that came down to
her knees, and she had no shoes and stockings on.

Then little Niebla rose up and floated away, away from the bank and
down the river. And at last, when she was quite out of sight in the
white mist, Alma began to cry. When it got very hot, she went and sat
down, still crying, under the trees. There were two very big willow
trees growing near the river. By and by the leaves rustled in the
wind, and the trees began talking to each other, and Alma understood
everything they said.

“Have you got any nests in your branches?” said one tree.

“Yes, one,” said the other tree. “It was made by a little yellow bird,
and there are five speckled eggs in it.”

Then the first tree said: “There is little Alma sitting in our shade.
Do you know why she is crying, Neighbour?”

The other tree answered: “Yes, it is because she has no one to play
with. Little Niebla by the river refused to play with her because she
is not beautifully dressed.”

Then the first tree said: “Ah, she ought to go and ask the fox for
some pretty clothes to wear. The fox always keeps a great store of
pretty things in her hole.”

Alma had listened to every word of this conversation. She remembered
that a fox lived on the hillside not far off; for she had often seen
it sitting in the sunshine, with its little ones playing round it and
pulling their mother’s tail in fun.

So Alma got up, and ran till she found the hole, and putting her head
down it, she cried out: “Fox! Fox!”

But the fox seemed cross, and only answered, without coming out, “Go
away, Alma, and talk to little Niebla. I am busy getting dinner for my
children, and have no time to talk to you now.”

Then Alma cried: “Oh, Fox, Niebla will not play with me because I have
no pretty things to wear! Oh, Fox, will you give me a nice dress, and
shoes and stockings, and a string of beads?”

After a little while the fox came out of its hole with a big bundle
done up in a red cotton handkerchief, and said: “Here are the things,
Alma, and I hope they will fit you. But, you know, Alma, you really
ought not to come at this time of day, for I am very busy just now
cooking the dinner--an armadillo roasted and a couple of partridges
stewed with rice, and a little omelette of turkeys’ eggs--I mean
plovers’ eggs, of course; I never touch turkeys’ eggs.”

Alma said she was very sorry to give so much trouble.

“Oh, never mind,” said the fox. “How is your grandmother?”

“She is very well, thank you,” said Alma, “but she has a bad headache.”

“I am very sorry to hear it,” said the fox. “Tell her to stick two
fresh dock-leaves on her temples, and on no account to go out in the
hot sun. Give her my best respects. And now, run home, Alma, and try on
the things, and when you are passing this way, you can bring me back
the handkerchief, as I always tie my face up in it when I have the
toothache.”

Alma thanked the fox very much, and ran home as fast as she could;
and when the bundle was opened she found in it a beautiful white
dress embroidered with purple flowers, a pair of scarlet shoes, silk
stockings, and a string of great golden beads.

They all fitted her very well; and next day, when the white mist was
on the Yi, she dressed herself in her beautiful clothes, and went down
to the river. By and by little Niebla came flying along; and when she
saw Alma, she came and kissed her, and took her by the hand. All the
morning they played and talked together, gathering flowers and running
races over the green sward. And, at last, Niebla bade her good-bye,
and flew away, for all the white mist was floating off down the river.

But every day after that, Alma found her little companion by the Yi,
and was very happy, for now she had some one to talk to and to play
with.

                                            _W. H. Hudson_ (_Condensed_)



LITTLE TINY


There was once a woman who wished very much to have a little child; so
she went to a Fairy, and said: “I should so very much like to have a
little child. Can you tell me where I may find one?”

“Oh, that is easily managed,” said the Fairy. “Here is a barley-corn of
a different kind to those which grow in the farmers’ fields, and which
the chickens eat. Put it into a flower-pot, and see what will happen.”

“Thank you,” said the woman, and she gave the Fairy twelve shillings,
which was the price of the barley-corn. Then she went home and planted
it, and immediately there grew up a large handsome flower, something
like a tulip in appearance, but with its leaves tightly closed as if it
was still a bud.

“It is a beautiful flower,” said the woman, and she kissed the red and
golden-coloured leaves, and while she did so the flower opened, and she
could see that it was a real tulip.

Within the flower, upon the green velvet stamens, sat a very delicate
and graceful little maiden. She was scarcely half as long as a thumb,
and they gave her the name of “Little Thumb,” or Tiny, because she
was so small. A walnut-shell, elegantly polished, served her for a
cradle. Her bed was formed of blue violet-leaves, with a rose-leaf for
a counterpane.

Here she slept at night, but during the day she amused herself on a
table, where the woman had placed a plateful of water. Round this
plate were wreaths of flowers with their stems in the water, and upon
it floated a large tulip-leaf, which served Tiny for a boat. Here the
little maiden sat and rowed herself from side to side, with two oars
made of white horse-hair. It really was a very pretty sight. Tiny
could, also, sing so softly and sweetly that nothing like her singing
had ever before been heard.

One night, while she lay in her pretty bed, a large, ugly, wet toad
crept through a broken pane of glass in the window, and leaped right up
on the table where Tiny lay sleeping under her rose-leaf quilt.

“What a pretty little wife this would make for my son!” said the toad,
and she took up the walnut-shell in which little Tiny lay asleep, and
jumped through the window with it into the garden.

In the swampy margin of a broad stream in the garden lived the toad,
with her son. He was uglier even than his mother, and when he saw the
pretty little maiden in her elegant bed, he could only cry: “_Croak,
croak, croak_.”

“Don’t speak so loud, or she will wake,” said the toad, “and then she
might run away, for she is as light as swan’s down. We will place her
on one of the water-lily leaves out in the stream. It will be like an
island to her, she is so light and small, and then she cannot escape.
And, while she is away, we will make haste and prepare the state-room
under the marsh, in which you are to live when you are married.”

Far out in the stream grew a number of water-lilies, with broad green
leaves, which seemed to float on the top of the water. The largest of
these leaves appeared farther off than the rest, and the old toad swam
out to it with the walnut-shell, in which little Tiny lay still asleep.

The little creature woke very early in the morning, and began to cry
bitterly when she found where she was, for she could see nothing but
water on every side of the large green leaf, and no way of reaching the
land.

Meanwhile the old toad was very busy under the marsh, decking her room
with rushes and wild yellow flowers, to make it look pretty for her new
daughter-in-law. Then she swam out with her ugly son to the leaf on
which she had placed poor little Tiny. She wanted to fetch the pretty
bed, that she might put it in the bridal chamber to be ready for her.

The old toad bowed low to her in the water, and said: “Here is my son.
He will be your husband, and you will live happily together in the
marsh by the stream.”

“_Croak, croak, croak_,” was all her son could say for himself. So the
toad took up the elegant little bed, and swam away with it, leaving
Tiny all alone on the green leaf, where she sat and wept. She could not
bear to think of living with the old toad, and having her ugly son for
a husband.

The little fishes, who swam about in the water, had seen the toad, and
heard what she said, so they lifted their heads above the water to look
at the little maiden. As soon as they caught sight of her, they saw she
was very pretty, and it made them sorry to think that she must go and
live with the ugly toads. “No, it must never be!” so they assembled
together in the water, round the green stalk which held the leaf on
which the little maiden stood, and gnawed it away at the root with
their teeth. Then the leaf floated down the stream, carrying Tiny far
away.

Tiny sailed past many towns, and the little birds in the bushes saw
her, and sang: “What a lovely little creature!” So the leaf swam away
with her farther and farther, till it brought her to other lands. A
graceful little white butterfly constantly fluttered round her, and at
last alighted on the leaf. Tiny pleased him, and she was glad of it,
for now the toad could not possibly reach her, and the country through
which she sailed was beautiful, and the sun shone upon the water, till
it glittered like liquid gold. She took off her girdle and tied one end
of it round the butterfly, and the other end of the ribbon she fastened
to the leaf, which now glided on much faster than ever, taking little
Tiny with it as she stood.

Presently a large cockchafer flew by. The moment he caught sight of
her, he seized her round her delicate waist with his claws, and flew
with her into a tree. The green leaf floated away on the brook, and the
butterfly flew with it, for he was fastened to it, and could not get
away.

Oh, how frightened little Tiny felt when the cockchafer flew with her
to the tree! But especially was she sorry for the beautiful white
butterfly which she had fastened to the leaf, for if he could not free
himself he would die of hunger. But the cockchafer did not trouble
himself at all about the matter. He seated himself by her side on a
large green leaf, gave her some honey from the flowers to eat, and told
her she was very pretty, though not in the least like a cockchafer.
After a time, all the cockchafers who lived in the tree came to visit
her. They stared at Tiny, and then the young lady-cockchafers turned up
their feelers, and said: “She has only two legs! how ugly that looks.”
“She has no feelers,” said another. “Her waist is quite slim. Pooh! she
is like a human being.”

“Oh! she is ugly!” said all the lady-cockchafers, although Tiny was
very pretty. Then the cockchafer who had run away with her, believed
all the others when they said she was ugly, and would have nothing more
to say to her, and told her she might go where she liked. Then he flew
down with her from the tree, and placed her on a daisy, and she wept at
the thought that she was so ugly that even the cockchafers would have
nothing to say to her. And all the while she was really the loveliest
creature that one could imagine, and as tender and delicate as a
beautiful rose-leaf!

During the whole summer poor little Tiny lived quite alone in the wide
forest. She wove herself a bed with blades of grass, and hung it up
under a broad leaf, to protect herself from the rain. She sucked the
honey from the flowers for food, and drank the dew from their leaves
every morning. So passed away the Summer and the Autumn, and then came
the Winter,--the long, cold Winter.

All the birds who had sung to her so sweetly were flown away, and the
trees and the flowers had withered. The large clover leaf under the
shelter of which she had lived, was now rolled together and shrivelled
up, nothing remained but a yellow withered stalk. She felt dreadfully
cold, for her clothes were torn, and she was herself so frail and
delicate, that, poor little thing, she was nearly frozen to death! It
began to snow too; and the snow-flakes, as they fell upon her, were
like a whole shovelful falling upon one of us, for we are tall, but she
was only an inch high. Then she wrapped herself up in a dry leaf, but
it cracked in the middle and could not keep her warm, and she shivered
with cold.

Near the wood in which she had been living lay a large corn-field,
but the corn had been cut a long time; nothing remained but the bare
dry stubble standing up out of the frozen ground. It was to her like
struggling through a large wood. Oh! how she shivered with the cold.
She came at last to the door of a field-mouse, who had a little den
under the corn-stubble. There dwelt the field-mouse in warmth and
comfort, with a whole roomful of corn, a kitchen, and a beautiful
dining-room. Poor little Tiny stood before the door just like a little
beggar-girl, and begged for a small piece of barley-corn, for she had
been without a morsel to eat for two days.

“You poor little creature,” said the field-mouse, who was really a
good old field-mouse, “come into my warm room and dine with me.” She
was very pleased with Tiny, so she said: “You are quite welcome to
stay with me all the Winter, if you like; but you must keep my rooms
clean and neat, and tell me stories, for I shall like to hear them very
much.” And Tiny did all the field-mouse asked her, and found herself
very comfortable.

“We shall have a visitor soon,” said the field-mouse one day. “My
neighbour pays me a visit once a week. He is better off than I am. He
has large rooms, and wears a beautiful black velvet coat. If you could
only have him for a husband, you would be well provided for indeed! But
he is blind, so you must tell him some of your prettiest stories.”

But Tiny did not feel at all interested about this neighbour, for he
was a mole. However, he came and paid his visit, dressed in his black
velvet coat.

“He is very rich and learned, and his house is twenty times larger than
mine,” said the field-mouse.

He was rich and learned, no doubt, but he always spoke slightingly of
the sun and the pretty flowers, because he had never seen them. Tiny
was obliged to sing to him: “Lady-bird, lady-bird, fly away home,” and
many other pretty songs. And the mole fell in love with her because
she had such a sweet voice. But he said nothing yet, for he was very
cautious.

A short time before, the mole had dug a long passage under the earth,
which led from the dwelling of the field-mouse to his own, and here she
had permission to walk with Tiny whenever she liked. But he warned them
not to be alarmed at the sight of a dead bird which lay in the passage.
It was a perfect bird, with a beak and feathers, and could not have
been dead long, and was lying just where the mole had made his passage.

The mole took a piece of phosphorescent wood in his mouth, and it
glittered like fire in the dark. Then he went before them to light them
through the long, dark passage. When they came to the spot where lay
the dead bird, the mole pushed his broad nose through the ceiling, the
earth gave way, so that there was a large hole, and the daylight shone
into the passage.

In the middle of the floor lay the dead swallow, his beautiful wings
pulled close to his sides, his feet and his head drawn up under his
feathers. The poor bird had evidently died of the cold. It made little
Tiny very sad to see it, she did so love the little birds. All the
Summer they had sung and twittered for her so beautifully.

But the mole pushed it aside with his crooked legs, and said: “He will
sing no more now. How miserable it must be to be born a little bird! I
am thankful that none of my children will ever be birds, for they can
do nothing but cry, ‘Tweet, tweet,’ and always die of hunger in the
Winter.”

“Yes, you may well say that, you clever man!” exclaimed the
field-mouse. “What is the use of his twittering, for when Winter comes
he must either starve or be frozen to death. Still, birds are very
high-bred.”

Tiny said nothing; but when the others had turned their backs on the
bird, she stooped down and stroked aside the soft feathers which
covered the head, and kissed the closed eyelids. “Perhaps this was the
one who sang to me so sweetly in the Summer,” she said; “and how much
pleasure it gave me, you dear, pretty bird.”

The mole now stopped up the hole through which the daylight shone, and
then accompanied Tiny and the field-mouse home.

But during the night Tiny could not sleep; so she got out of bed and
wove a large, beautiful carpet of hay. Then she carried it to the dead
bird, and spread it over him, with some down from the flowers which she
had found in the field-mouse’s room. The down was as soft as wool, and
she spread some of it on each side of the bird, so that he might lie
warmly in the cold earth.

“Farewell, you pretty little bird!” said she, “farewell! Thank you
for your delightful singing during the Summer, when all the trees were
green, and the warm sun shone upon us.”

Then she laid her head on the bird’s breast, but she was alarmed
immediately, for it seemed as if something inside the bird went
“_thump, thump_.” It was the bird’s heart! He was not really dead,
only benumbed with the cold, and the warmth had restored him to life.
In Autumn all the swallows fly away into warm countries, but if one
happens to linger, the cold seizes it, it becomes frozen, and falls
down as if dead. It remains where it fell, and the cold snow covers it.
Tiny trembled very much. She was quite frightened, for the bird was
large, a great deal larger than herself--she was only an inch high. But
she took courage, laid the wool more thickly over the poor swallow, and
then took a leaf which she had used for her own counterpane, and laid
it over the head of the poor bird.

The next morning she again stole out to see him. He was alive but very
weak. He could only open his eyes for a moment to look at Tiny, who
stood by holding a piece of decayed wood in her hand, for she had no
other lantern.

“Thank you, pretty little maiden,” said the sick swallow; “I have been
so nicely warmed, that I shall soon regain my strength, and be able to
fly about in the warm sunshine.”

“Oh,” said she, “it is cold out of doors now. It snows and freezes.
Stay in your warm bed. I will take care of you.”

Then she brought the swallow some water in a flower-leaf, and after
he had drunk, he told her that he had wounded one of his wings in a
thorn-bush, and could not fly so fast as the other birds, who were soon
far away on their journey to warm countries. Then at last he had fallen
to the earth, and could remember no more nor how he came to be where
she had found him.

The whole Winter the swallow remained underground, and Tiny nursed him
with care and love. Neither the mole nor the field-mouse knew anything
about it, for they did not like swallows. Very soon the Spring-time
came, and the sun warmed the earth. Then the swallow bade farewell to
Tiny, and she opened the hole in the ceiling which the mole had made.
The sun shone in upon them so beautifully that the swallow asked her if
she would go with him. She could sit on his back, he said, and he would
fly away with her into the green woods. But Tiny knew it would make the
field-mouse very grieved if she left her in that manner, so she said:
“No, I cannot.”

“Farewell, then, farewell, you good, pretty, little maiden!” said the
swallow. And he flew out into the sunshine.

Tiny looked after him, and the tears rose in her eyes. She was very
fond of the poor swallow.

“Tweet! Tweet!” sang the bird, as he flew out into the green woods,
and Tiny felt sad. She was not allowed to go out into the warm
sunshine. The corn which had been sown in the field over the house of
the field-mouse had grown up high into the air, and formed a thick wood
to Tiny, who was only an inch high.

“You are going to be married, Tiny,” said the field-mouse. “My
neighbour has asked for you. What good fortune for a poor child like
you! Now we will prepare your wedding clothes. They must be both
woollen and linen. Nothing must be wanting when you are the mole’s
wife.”

Tiny had to turn the spindle; and the field-mouse hired four spiders,
who were to weave day and night. Every evening the mole visited her,
and was continually speaking of the time when the Summer would be over.
Then he would keep his wedding-day with Tiny. But now the heat of the
sun was so great that it burned the earth, and made it quite hard, like
a stone. As soon as the Summer was over, the wedding should take place.

But Tiny was not at all pleased; for she did not like the tiresome
mole. Every morning when the sun rose, and every evening when it went
down, she would creep out at the door, and as the wind blew aside the
ears of corn, so that she could see the blue sky, she thought how
beautiful and bright it seemed out there, and wished so much to see
her dear swallow again. But he never returned; for by this time he had
flown far away into the lovely green forest.

When Autumn arrived, Tiny had her outfit quite ready; and the
field-mouse said to her: “In four weeks the wedding must take place.”

Then Tiny wept, and said she would not marry the disagreeable mole.

“Nonsense,” replied the field-mouse. “Now, don’t be obstinate, or I
shall bite you with my white teeth. He is a very handsome mole. The
Queen herself does not wear more beautiful velvets and furs. His
kitchen and cellars are quite full. You ought to be very thankful for
such good fortune.”

So the wedding-day was fixed, on which the mole was to fetch Tiny away
to live with him, deep under the earth, and never again to see the warm
sun, because _he_ did not like it. The poor child was most unhappy
at the thought of saying farewell to the beautiful sun; and, as the
field-mouse had given her permission to stand at the door, she went to
look at it once more.

“Farewell, bright sun!” she cried, stretching out her arm toward it.
And then she walked a short distance from the house; for the corn had
been cut, and only the dry stubble remained in the fields. “Farewell!
Farewell!” she repeated, twining her arm round a little red flower
that grew just by her side. “Greet the little swallow from me, if you
should see him again.”

“Tweet! Tweet!” sounded over her head suddenly. She looked up, and
there was the swallow himself flying close by. As soon as he spied
Tiny, he was delighted; and then she told him how unwilling she felt to
marry the ugly mole, and to live always beneath the earth, and never to
see the bright sun any more. And as she told him she wept.

“Cold Winter is coming,” said the swallow, “and I am going to fly away
into warmer countries. Will you go with me? You can sit on my back, and
fasten yourself on with your sash. Then we can fly away from the ugly
mole and his gloomy rooms--far away, over the mountains, into warmer
countries, where the sun shines more brightly than here; where it is
always Summer, and the flowers bloom in greater beauty. Fly now with
me, dear little Tiny! You saved my life when I lay frozen in that dark,
dreary passage.”

“Yes, I will go with you,” said Tiny. And she seated herself on the
bird’s back, with her feet on his outstretched wings, and tied her
girdle to one of his strongest feathers.

Then the swallow rose in the air, and flew over forest and over sea,
high above the highest mountains, covered with eternal snow. Tiny
would have been frozen in the cold air, but she crept under the bird’s
warm feathers, keeping her little head uncovered, so that she might
admire the beautiful lands over which they passed.

At length they reached the warm countries, where the sun shines
brightly, and the sky seems so much higher above the earth. Here, on
the hedges, and by the wayside, grew purple, green, and white grapes;
lemons and oranges hung from trees in the woods; and the air was
fragrant with myrtles and orange blossoms. Beautiful children ran
along the country lanes, playing with large gay butterflies. And, as
the swallow flew farther and farther, every place appeared still more
lovely.

At last they came to a blue lake, and by the side of it, shaded by
trees of the deepest green, stood a palace of dazzling white marble,
built in the olden times. Vines clustered round its lofty pillars, and
at the top were many swallows’ nests, and one of these was the home of
the swallow who carried Tiny.

“This is my house,” said the swallow; “but it would not do for you to
live there--you would not be comfortable. You must choose for yourself
one of those lovely flowers, and I will put you down upon it, and then
you shall have everything that you can wish to make you happy.”

“That will be delightful!” she said, and clapped her little hands for
joy.

A large marble pillar lay on the ground, which, in falling, had been
broken into three pieces. Between these pieces grew the most beautiful
large white flowers; so the swallow flew down with Tiny, and placed
her on one of the broad leaves. But how surprised she was to see, in
the middle of the flowers, a tiny little man, as white and transparent
as if he had been made of crystal! He had a gold crown on his head,
and delicate wings at his shoulders, and was not much larger than Tiny
herself. He was the Fairy of the flower; for a tiny man and a tiny
woman dwell in every flower; and this was the King of them all.

“Oh, how beautiful he is!” whispered Tiny to the swallow.

The little King was at first quite frightened at the bird, who was
like a giant compared to such a delicate little creature as himself.
But when he saw Tiny, he was delighted, and thought her the prettiest
little maiden he had ever seen. He took the gold crown from his head,
and placed it on hers, and asked her name, and if she would be his
wife, and Queen over all the flowers.

This certainly was a very different sort of husband to the son of the
toad, or the mole, with his black velvet and fur; so she said “Yes,” to
the handsome King.

Then all the flowers opened, and out of each came a little lady or
a tiny lord, all so pretty it was quite a pleasure to look at them.
Each of them brought Tiny a present. But the best gift was a pair of
beautiful wings, which had belonged to a large white fly, and they
fastened them to Tiny’s shoulders, so that she might fly from flower to
flower.

Then there was much rejoicing, and the little swallow, who sat above
them, in his nest, was asked to sing a wedding song, which he did as
well as he could; but in his heart he felt sad, for he was very fond of
Tiny, and would have liked never to part from her again.

“You must not be called Tiny any more,” said the Fairy of the flowers
to her. “It is an ugly name, and you are so very pretty. We will call
you Maia.”

“Farewell! Farewell!” said the swallow, with a heavy heart as he left
the warm countries, to fly back into Denmark. There he had a nest over
the window of a house in which dwelt the writer of Fairy tales. The
swallow sang, “Tweet! Tweet!” And from his song came this whole story.

                                               _Hans Christian Andersen_



THE IMMORTAL FOUNTAIN


In ancient times two little Princesses lived in Scotland, one of whom
was extremely beautiful, and the other dwarfish, dark-coloured, and
deformed. One was named Rose, and the other Marion.

The sisters did not live happily together. Marion hated Rose because
the latter was handsome and everybody praised her. So Marion scowled
and her face grew absolutely black when anybody asked her how her
pretty little sister was. And once she was so wicked and jealous that
she cut off all Rose’s glossy golden hair, and threw it in the fire.
Poor Rose cried bitterly about it, but she did not scold or strike her
sister, for she was an amiable and gentle little being.

No wonder, then, that all the family and all the neighbours disliked
Marion; and no wonder that her face grew uglier and uglier every day.
But the neighbours used to say that Rose had been blessed by the
Fairies, to whom she owed her extraordinary beauty and goodness.

Not far from the castle where the Princesses resided was a deep grotto,
said to lead to the Palace of Beauty where the Queen of the Fairies
held her Court. Some said that Rose had fallen asleep there one day
when she was tired of chasing a butterfly, and that the Queen had
dipped her in an Immortal Fountain, from which she had risen with the
beauty of an angel. Marion often asked Rose about this story, but
the child always replied that she was forbidden to speak of it. When
Rose saw any uncommon bird or butterfly, she would exclaim: “Oh, how
much that looks like Fairyland!” But when asked what she knew about
Fairyland, she blushed and would not answer.

Marion thought a great deal about this. “Why can I not go to the Palace
of Beauty?” thought she. “And why may I not bathe in the Immortal
Fountain?”

One Summer’s noon, when all was still save the faint twitterings of
birds and the lazy hum of bees, Marion entered the deep grotto. She sat
down on a bank of moss. The air around her was as fragrant as if it
came from a bed of violets. And with the far-off sound of music in her
ears, she fell into a gentle slumber.

When she awoke it was evening, and she found herself in a small hall,
where opal pillars supported a rainbow roof, the bright reflection
of which rested on crystal walls and on a golden floor inlaid with
pearls. All around, between the opal pillars, stood the tiniest vases
of pure alabaster, in which grew a multitude of brilliant and fragrant
flowers; some of which, twining around the pillars, were lost in the
floating rainbow above. This scene of beauty was lighted by millions of
fireflies glittering in the air like wandering stars.

While Marion was gazing in amazement at all this, a little lady of
rare loveliness stood before her. Her robe was of green and gold. Her
flowing gossamer mantle was caught upon one shoulder with a pearl, and
in her hair was a solitary star composed of five diamonds, each no
bigger than a pin point. She smiled at Marion and sang:--

        “_The Fairy Queen
        Hath rarely seen
  Creature of earthly mould
        Within her door
        On pearly floor
  Inlaid with shining gold!
  Mortal, all thou seest is fair!
  Quick! Thy purposes declare!_”

As she concluded, the song was taken up and thrice repeated by a
multitude of soft voices in the distance. It seemed as if birds and
insects joined in the chorus; and ever and anon between the pauses, the
sound of a cascade was heard, whose waters fell in music.

All these delightful sounds died away, and the Queen of the Fairies
stood patiently awaiting Marion’s answer. Curtsying low, and with a
trembling voice, the little maiden said:--

“Will it please Your Majesty to make me as handsome as my sister Rose?”

The Queen smiled again. “I will grant your request,” said she, “if you
will promise to fulfil all the conditions I propose.”

Marion eagerly promised that she would.

“The Immortal Fountain,” continued the Queen, “is on the top of a high,
steep hill. At four different places Fairies are stationed around it,
who guard it with their wands. None can pass except those who obey
my orders. Go home now. For one week speak no ungentle word to your
sister. At the end of that time come again to the grotto.”

Marion went home light of heart. Rose was in the garden, watering
flowers. And the first thing Marion observed was that her sister’s
sunny hair had grown as long and beautiful as before it was cut
off. The sight made her angry, and she was just about to snatch the
watering-pot from Rose’s hand with cross words, when she remembered the
Fairy, and passed into the castle in silence.

The end of the week arrived, and Marion had faithfully kept her
promise. Again she entered the grotto. The Queen was feasting when
Marion reached the hall with opal pillars. The bees had brought, as a
gift, golden honey, and placed it on small rose-coloured shells which
adorned a crystal table. Bright butterflies floated about the head of
the Queen, and fanned her with their wings. Fireflies flew near to give
her light. And a large diamond beetle formed her footstool. After she
had supped, a dew-drop on a violet petal was brought her to bathe her
royal fingers.

Behind the Queen’s chair hovered numerous bright Fairies, but when
Marion entered the diamond sparkles on their wings faded as they always
do in the presence of anything bad. And in a second all the Queen’s
attendants vanished, singing as they went:--

        “_The Fairy Queen
        Hath rarely seen
  Creature of mortal mould
        Within her door
        On pearly floor
  Inlaid with shining gold!_”

“Mortal, have you fulfilled your promise?” asked the Queen.

“I have,” replied the maiden.

“Then follow me.”

Marion did as she was directed, and away they hastened over beds of
Violets and Mignonette. Birds sang, butterflies fluttered, and the
voices of many fountains came on the breeze.

Presently they reached the hill on the top of which was the Immortal
Fountain. The foot of the hill was surrounded by a band of Fairies
clothed in green gossamer, and with their ivory wands crossed to bar
the ascent. The Queen waved her wand over them, and immediately they
stretched their transparent wings and flew away.

The hill was steep, and far, far up climbed the Queen and Marion. The
air became more and more fragrant; and more and more distinctly they
heard the sound of waters falling in music. At length they were stopped
by another band of Fairies, clothed in blue gossamer, with silver wands
crossed.

“Here,” said the Queen, “our journey must end. You can go no farther
until you have fulfilled the orders I shall give you. Go home now. For
one month do by your sister as you would wish her to do by you, if you
were Rose and she Marion.”

Marion promised and departed. She found the task harder than the first
had been. When Rose asked her for playthings, she found it hard to give
them gently and affectionately. When Rose talked to her, she wanted to
go away in silence. And when a pocket mirror was found in her sister’s
room, broken into a thousand pieces, she felt sorely tempted to conceal
that she had done the mischief. But she was so anxious to be made
beautiful that she did as she wished to be done by·

All the household remarked how Marion had changed.

“I love her dearly!” said Rose; “she is so good and amiable.”

“So do I!” said a dozen voices.

Marion blushed deeply, and her eyes sparkled with pleasure. “How
pleasant it is to be loved!” thought she.

At the end of the month she went to the grotto again. Again the Fairy
Queen conducted her up the hill, and this time the Fairies in blue
lowered their silver wands and flew away. The two travelled on, higher
and higher. The path grew steeper and steeper, but the fragrant air
became more delicious, and more distinctly was heard the sound of
waters falling in music.

At length their course was stayed by a troop of Fairies clothed in
rainbow robes, and holding silver wands tipped with gold. In face and
form they were far more beautiful than anything Marion had yet seen.

“Here we must pause,” said the Queen. “This boundary you cannot yet
pass.”

“Why not?” asked the impatient Marion.

“Because those who pass the Rainbow Fairies must be very pure,” replied
the Queen.

“Am I not very pure?” asked the maiden. “All the people in the castle
tell me how good I have grown.”

“Mortal eyes see only the outside,” answered the Queen. “But those who
pass the Rainbow Fairies must be pure in thought as well as action.
Go home now. For three months never indulge in a wicked or envious
thought. You shall then have a glimpse of the Immortal Fountain.”

Marion returned home. At the end of three months she again visited the
hall with opal pillars. The Queen did not smile when she saw her; but
in silence led the way up the hill toward the Immortal Fountain. The
Green Fairies and the Blue Fairies flew away as they approached; but
the Rainbow Fairies bowed low to the Queen, and kept their gold-tipped
wands firmly crossed.

Marion saw that the silver specks on the Fairies’ wings began to grow
dim, and she burst into tears.

“I knew,” said the Queen, “that you could not pass this boundary. Envy
has been in your heart. But be not discouraged, for years you have been
indulging in wrong feelings; and you must not wonder if it takes many
months to drive them out. Go home and try once more.”

So poor Marion went sadly away. And when she visited the hall again,
the Queen smiled, and touched her playfully with her wand. She then led
her up the hill to the Immortal Fountain. The silver specks on the
wings of the Rainbow Fairies shone bright as Marion approached, and the
Fairies lowered their wings and flew away.

And now every footstep was on flowers that yielded beneath the feet
like a pathway of clouds. The delicious fragrance could almost be felt,
and loud and clear and sweet came the sound of waters falling in music.
And now Marion could see a cascade leaping and sparkling over crystal
rocks. Above it rested a rainbow. The spray fell in pearls forming
delicate foliage around the margin of the Fountain. And deep and silent
below the foam of the cascade was the Immortal Fountain of Beauty. Its
amber-coloured waves flowed over a golden bed, and many Fairies were
bathing in its waves, the diamonds in their hair gleaming like sunbeams
on the water.

“Oh, let me bathe in the Fountain!” cried Marion, clapping her hands in
delight.

“Not yet,” said the Queen. “Behold the Purple Fairies with golden wands
that guard its brink.”

Marion looked, and saw Beings lovelier than any her eye had ever rested
on.

“You cannot pass them yet,” said the Queen. “Go home. For one year
drive from your heart all evil feelings, not for the sake of bathing in
this Fountain, but because goodness is lovely and desirable for its own
sake. Then your work is done.”

Marion returned home. This was the hardest task of all. For she had
been willing to be good, not because it was right, but because she
wished to be beautiful. Three times she sought the grotto, and three
times she left in tears, for the golden specks on the wings of the
Purple Fairies grew dim as she approached, and the golden wands were
still crossed to shut her from the Immortal Fountain.

But the fourth time the Purple Fairies lowered their wands, singing:--

  “_Thou hast scaled the mountain,
  Go, bathe in the Fountain;
    Rise fair to the sight,
    As an angel of light;
  Go bathe in the Fountain!_”

Marion, full of joy, was about to plunge in, but the Queen touched her,
saying:--

“Look in the mirror of the water. Art thou not already as beautiful as
heart can wish?”

Marion looked at herself, and saw that her eyes sparkled with new
lustre, a bright colour shone in her cheeks, her hair waved softly
about her face, and dimples played sweetly around her mouth.

“But I have not touched the Immortal Fountain!” cried she, turning in
surprise to the Queen.

“True,” replied the Queen. “But its waters have been within your soul.
Know that a pure and happy heart, and gentleness toward others, are the
only Immortal Fountains of Beauty!”

Marion thanked the Queen, and joyfully returned home.

Rose ran to meet her, and clasped her to her bosom fervently.

“I know all,” she said; “I have been in Fairyland. Disguised as a bird,
I have watched all your steps. When you first went to the grotto, I
begged the Queen to grant your wish.”

Ever after the sisters lived lovingly together. It was the remark of
every one: “How handsome Marion has grown! The ugly scowl has departed
from her face, her eyes are so clear and gentle, her mouth is so pretty
and smiling. To my taste she is as handsome as Rose.”

                                         _Lydia Maria Child_ (_Adapted_)



THE STORY OF CHILDE CHARITY


Once upon a time there lived in the west country a little girl who had
neither father nor mother; they both died when she was very young,
and left their daughter to the care of her uncle, who was the richest
farmer in all that country. He had houses and lands, flocks and herds,
many servants to work about his house and fields, a wife who had
brought him a great dowry, and two fair daughters.

All their neighbours, being poor, looked up to the family--insomuch
that they imagined themselves great people. The father and mother were
as proud as peacocks; the daughters thought themselves the greatest
beauties in the world, and not one of the family would speak civilly to
anybody they thought low.

Now it happened that though she was their near relation, they had this
opinion of the orphan girl, partly because she had no fortune, and
partly because of her humble, kindly disposition. It was said that the
more needy and despised any creature was, the more ready was she to
befriend it: on which account the people of the west country called her
Childe Charity, and if she had any other name, I never heard it.

Childe Charity was thought very mean in that proud house. Her uncle
would not own her for his niece; her cousins would not keep her
company; and her aunt sent her to work in the dairy, and to sleep in
the back garret, where they kept all sorts of lumber and dry herbs for
the winter. The servants learned the same tune, and Childe Charity had
more work than rest among them. All the day she scoured pails, scrubbed
dishes, and washed crockeryware. But every night she slept in the back
garret as sound as a Princess could in her palace chamber.

Her uncle’s house was large and white, and stood among green meadows by
a river’s side. In front it had a porch covered with a vine; behind, it
had a farmyard and high granaries. Within, there were two parlours for
the rich, and two kitchens for the poor, which the neighbours thought
wonderfully grand. And one day in the harvest season, when this rich
farmer’s corn had been all cut down and housed, he condescended so far
as to invite his neighborhood to a harvest supper. The west country
people came in their holiday clothes and best behaviour. Such heaps of
cakes and cheese, such baskets of apples and barrels of ale, had never
been at feast before.

They were making merry in kitchen and parlour, when a poor old woman
came to the back door, begging for broken victuals and a night’s
lodging. Her clothes were coarse and ragged; her hair was scanty and
grey; her back was bent; her teeth were gone. She had a squinting eye,
a clubbed foot, and crooked fingers. In short, she was the poorest and
ugliest old woman that ever came begging.

The first who saw her was the kitchen-maid, and she ordered her to be
gone for an ugly witch. The next was the herd-boy, and he threw her a
bone over his shoulder. But Childe Charity, hearing the noise, came out
from her seat at the foot of the lowest table, and asked the old woman
to take her share of the supper, and sleep that night in her bed in the
back garret.

The old woman sat down without a word of thanks. All the company
laughed at Childe Charity for giving her bed and her supper to a
beggar. Her proud cousins said it was just like her mean spirit, but
Childe Charity did not mind them. She scraped the pots for her supper
that night and slept on a sack among the lumber, while the old woman
rested in her warm bed.

And next morning, before the little girl awoke, the old woman was up
and gone, without so much as saying “Thank you,” or “Good morning.”

[Illustration: “CHILDE CHARITY CAME OUT AND ASKED THE OLD WOMAN TO TAKE
HER SHARE OF THE SUPPER”]

That day all the servants were sick after the feast, and mostly cross
too--so you may judge how civil they were; when, at supper time, who
should come to the back door but the old woman, again asking for broken
victuals and a night’s lodging.

No one would listen to her or give her a morsel, till Childe Charity
rose from her seat at the foot of the lowest table, and kindly asked
her to take her supper, and sleep in her bed in the back garret. Again
the old woman sat down without a word. Childe Charity scraped the pots
for her supper, and slept on the sack.

In the morning the old woman was gone; but for six nights after, as
sure as the supper was spread, there was she at the back door, and the
little girl regularly asked her in.

Childe Charity’s aunt said she would let her get enough of beggars. Her
cousins made continual game of what they called her genteel visitor.
Sometimes the old woman said: “Child, why don’t you make this bed
softer? and why are your blankets so thin?” but she never gave her a
word of thanks, nor a civil good morning.

At last, on the ninth night from her first coming, when Childe Charity
was getting used to scrape the pots and sleep on the sack, her
accustomed knock came at the door, and there she stood with an ugly
ashy-coloured dog, so stupid-looking and clumsy that no herd-boy would
keep him.

“Good evening, my little girl,” she said when Childe Charity opened
the door. “I will not have your supper and bed to-night--I am going on
a long journey to see a friend. But here is a dog of mine, whom nobody
in all the west country will keep for me. He is a little cross, and not
very handsome; but I leave him to your care till the shortest day in
all the year. Then you and I will count for his keeping.”

When the old woman had said the last word, she set off with such speed
that Childe Charity lost sight of her in a minute. The ugly dog began
to fawn upon her, but he snarled at everybody else. The servants said
he was a disgrace to the house. The proud cousins wanted him drowned,
and it was with great trouble that Childe Charity got leave to keep him
in an old ruined cow-house.

Ugly and cross as the dog was, he fawned on her, and the old woman
had left him to her care. So the little girl gave him part of all her
meals, and when the hard frost came, took him privately to her own back
garret, because the cow-house was damp and cold in the long nights.
The dog lay quietly on some straw in a corner. Childe Charity slept
soundly, but every morning the servants would say to her:--

“What great light and fine talking was that in your back garret?”

“There was no light, but the moon shining in through the shutterless
window, and no talk that I heard,” said Childe Charity.

And she thought they must have been dreaming. But night after night,
when any of them awoke in the dark and silent hour that comes before
the morning, they saw a light brighter and clearer than the Christmas
fire, and heard voices like those of lords and ladies in the back
garret.

Partly from fear, and partly from laziness, none of the servants would
rise to see what might be there. At length, when the winter nights
were at the longest, the little parlour-maid, who did least work and
got most favour, because she gathered news for her mistress, crept out
of bed when all the rest were sleeping, and set herself to watch at a
crevice of the door.

She saw the dog lying quietly in the corner, Childe Charity sleeping
soundly in her bed, and the moon shining through the shutterless
window. But an hour before daybreak there came a glare of lights, and
a sound of far-off bugles. The window opened, and in marched a troop
of little men clothed in crimson and gold, and bearing every man a
torch, till the room looked bright as day. They marched up with great
reverence to the dog, where he lay on the straw, and the most richly
clothed among them said:--

“Royal Prince, we have prepared the banquet hall. What will Your
Highness please that we do next?”

“Ye have done well,” said the dog. “Now, prepare the feast, and see
that all things be in our first fashion: for the Princess and I mean to
bring a stranger who never feasted in our halls before.”

“Your Highness’s commands shall be obeyed,” said the little man, making
another reverence; and he and his company passed out of the window.

By and by there was another glare of lights, and a sound like far-off
flutes. The window opened, and there came in a company of little ladies
clad in rose-coloured velvet, and carrying each a crystal lamp. They
also walked with great reverence up to the dog, and the gayest among
them said:--

“Royal Prince, we have prepared the tapestry. What will Your Highness
please that we do next?”

“Ye have done well,” said the dog. “Now, prepare the robes, and let all
things be in our first fashion: for the Princess and I will bring with
us a stranger who never feasted in our halls before.”

“Your Highness’s commands shall be obeyed,” said the little lady,
making a low curtsy; and she and her company passed out through the
window, which closed quietly behind them.

The dog stretched himself out upon the straw, the little girl turned in
her sleep, and the moon shone in on the back garret.

The parlour-maid was so much amazed, and so eager to tell this great
story to her mistress, that she could not close her eyes that night,
and was up before cock-crow. But when she told it, her mistress called
her a silly wench to have such foolish dreams, and scolded her so that
the parlour-maid durst not mention what she had seen to the servants.

Nevertheless Childe Charity’s aunt thought there might be something in
it worth knowing; so next night, when all the house were asleep, she
crept out of bed, and set herself to watch at the back garret door.

There she saw exactly what the maid told her--the little men with the
torches, and the little ladies with the crystal lamps, come in making
great reverence to the dog, and the same words pass, only he said to
the one, “Now prepare the presents,” and to the other, “Prepare the
jewels.”

And when they were gone the dog stretched himself on the straw, Childe
Charity turned in her sleep, and the moon shone in on the back garret.

The mistress could not close her eyes any more than the maid from
eagerness to tell the story. She woke up Childe Charity’s rich uncle
before cock-crow. But when he heard it, he laughed at her for a foolish
woman, and advised her not to repeat the like before the neighbours,
lest they should think she had lost her senses.

The mistress could say no more, and the day passed. But that night the
master thought he would like to see what went on in the back garret: so
when all the house were asleep, he slipped out of bed, and set himself
to watch at the crevice in the door.

The same thing happened again that the maid and the mistress saw: the
little men in crimson with their torches, and the little ladies in
rose-coloured velvet with their lamps, came in at the window, and made
an humble reverence to the ugly dog, the one saying, “Royal Prince,
we have prepared the presents,” and the other, “Royal Prince, we have
prepared the jewels.”

And the dog said to them all: “Ye have done well. To-morrow come and
meet me and the Princess with horses and chariots, and let all things
be in our first fashion: for we will bring a stranger from this house
who has never travelled with us, nor feasted in our halls before.”

The little men and the little ladies said: “Your Highness’s commands
shall be obeyed.”

When they had gone out through the window the ugly dog stretched
himself out on the straw, Childe Charity turned in her sleep, and the
moon shone in on the back garret.

The master could not close his eyes any more than the maid or the
mistress, for thinking of this strange sight. He remembered to have
heard his grandfather say, that somewhere near his meadows there lay
a path leading to the Fairies’ country, and the haymakers used to see
it shining through the grey Summer morning as the Fairy bands went
home. Nobody had heard or seen the like for many years; but the master
concluded that the doings in his back garret must be a Fairy business,
and the ugly dog a person of great account. His chief wonder was,
however, what visitor the Fairies intended to take from his house;
and after thinking the matter over he was sure it must be one of his
daughters--they were so handsome, and had such fine clothes.

Accordingly, Childe Charity’s rich uncle made it his first business
that morning to get ready a breakfast of roast mutton for the ugly dog,
and carry it to him in the old cow-house. But not a morsel would the
dog taste. On the contrary, he snarled at the master, and would have
bitten him if he had not run away with his mutton.

“The Fairies have strange ways,” said the master to himself. But he
called his daughters privately, bidding them dress themselves in their
best, for he could not say which of them might be called into great
company before nightfall.

Childe Charity’s proud cousins, hearing this, put on the richest of
their silks and laces, and strutted like peacocks from kitchen to
parlour all day, waiting for the call their father spoke of, while the
little girl scoured and scrubbed in the dairy.

They were in very bad humour when night fell, and nobody had come.
But just as the family were sitting down to supper the ugly dog began
to bark, and the old woman’s knock was heard at the back door. Childe
Charity opened it, and was going to offer her bed and supper as usual,
when the old woman said:--

“This is the shortest day in all the year, and I am going home to hold
a feast after my travels. I see you have taken good care of my dog, and
now if you will come with me to my house, he and I will do our best to
entertain you. Here is our company.”

As the old woman spoke there was a sound of far-off flutes and bugles,
then a glare of lights; and a great company, clad so grandly that
they shone with gold and jewels, came in open chariots, covered with
gilding, and drawn by snow-white horses.

The first and finest of the chariots was empty. The old woman led
Childe Charity to it by the hand, and the ugly dog jumped in before
her. The proud cousins, in all their finery, had by this time come to
the door, but nobody wanted them. And no sooner was the old woman and
her dog within the chariot than a marvellous change passed over them,
for the ugly old woman turned at once to a beautiful young Princess,
with long yellow curls and a robe of green and gold, while the ugly dog
at her side started up a fair young Prince, with nut-brown hair, and a
robe of purple and silver.

“We are,” said they, as the chariots drove on, and the little girl sat
astonished, “a Prince and Princess of Fairyland, and there was a wager
between us whether or not there were good people still to be found
in these false and greedy times. One said ‘Yes,’ and the other said
‘No’; and I have lost,” said the Prince, “and must pay the feast and
presents.”

Some of the farmer’s household, who were looking after them through the
moonlight night, said the chariots had gone one way across the meadows,
some said they had gone another, and till this day they cannot agree
upon the direction.

But Childe Charity went with that noble company into a country such
as she had never seen--for Primroses covered all the ground, and the
light was always like that of a Summer evening. They took her to a
royal palace, where there was nothing but feasting and dancing for
seven days. She had robes of pale green velvet to wear, and slept in a
chamber inlaid with ivory.

When the feast was done, the Prince and Princess gave her such heaps
of gold and jewels that she could not carry them, but they gave her a
chariot to go home in, drawn by six white horses. And on the seventh
night, which happened to be Christmas time, when the farmer’s family
had settled in their own minds that she would never come back, and were
sitting down to supper, they heard the sound of her coachman’s bugle,
and saw her alight with all the jewels and gold at the very back door
where she had brought in the ugly old woman.

The Fairy chariot drove away, and never came back to that farmhouse
after. But Childe Charity scrubbed and scoured no more, for she grew a
great lady, even in the eyes of her proud cousins.

                                                        _Frances Browne_



THE SHINING CHILD AND THE WICKED MOUCHE


HOW THE RICH COUSINS CAME

Once upon a time a noble but poor Count lived in the lovely land of
Alsace. He dwelt in a charming little house on a hill. All around the
house the graceful trees stretched out their leafy branches like arms,
as if they were saying: “Welcome! Welcome among us!” Not far from the
house was a thick green wood filled with birds and flowers and scented
grasses. The good Count did not live alone in this delightful spot; no
indeed, his wife and his two children, Fanchon and Frederic, lived with
him, happy and contented.

Now, one Summer the news arrived that a wealthy and distinguished
nobleman, cousin of the Count, was coming the next day, with his
family, to call upon his poor relatives.

The following morning the Countess got up very early, and baked a cake
into which she put more almonds and raisins than she ever put into her
Easter cakes, so that its delicious fragrance filled the house. The
Count dusted and brushed his old green waistcoat; while Fanchon and
Frederic, dressed in their best clothes, sat waiting for the guests to
come.

“You must not run about in the wood, as you usually do,” said the Count
to them, “but sit very still so that you will look clean and neat when
your cousins arrive.”

So the poor children were forced to stay in the house. The morning sun
was peeping bright and smiling from behind a cloud, and was darting his
rays in at the window. Out in the wood the breeze was blowing sweet
and fresh, and the robins, the thrushes, the goldfinches, and the
nightingales, were all warbling their loveliest songs. Poor Fanchon sat
still and listened, sometimes smoothing the bow on her pink sash, and
sometimes knitting a bit, and all the while longing to run away to the
wood. As for Frederic, he was looking at a picture book, but he kept
jumping up every minute to gaze out at the window; for the big house
dog Pepin was barking and bounding before the window, as if to say:
“Aren’t you coming out? What in the world are you doing in that stuffy
room?”

And so Fanchon and Frederic had to remain in the house; and this was
all the more painful, because the company-cake, which was on the table,
gave out the most delicious spicy odours, yet might not be cut until
the cousins came. “Oh! that they would only come!--would only come!”
the children cried, and almost wept with impatience.

At last the loud tramping of horses was heard, and the rumble of
wheels, then a carriage approached, so brilliant and so covered with
golden ornaments that the children were amazed, for they had never seen
anything like it. The carriage stopped before the house, and a very
tall, thin gentleman glided out with the help of a footman, and fell
into the arms of the Count, to whose cheek he gently pressed his lips.
Then the footman aided a stout, red-faced woman to alight, while two
children, a boy and a girl, stepped languidly down after her.

When they were all safely in the house, Fanchon and Frederic came
forward and curtsied politely, as their father had told them to do.
Then each seized a hand of the tall gentleman, saying: “We are glad you
are come, noble Cousin!” After which they permitted the red-faced lady
to embrace them; then they went up to the children, but stood before
them silent and amazed. Indeed, these rich children were wonderfully
dressed! The boy wore a little jacket of scarlet cloth, embroidered
with gold and ornamented with gold tassels. A bright little sword hung
at his side. On his head was a curious red cap with a white feather,
from under which peeped his yellow face and bleared eyes.

The little girl had on a white dress all ribbons, lace, and bows, and
her hair was frizzled and curled into a knot, on top of which was a
shining coronet. Fanchon plucked up courage, and was going to take the
little girl’s hand, but she snatched it away in such a hurry and looked
so tearful and angry, that Fanchon was frightened and let her alone.

Frederic wished to have a closer look at the boy’s sword, and put out
his hand to touch it, when the youngster began to shout and cry: “My
sword! My sword! He is going to take my sword!” and ran to his father
and hid behind him.

After that Fanchon and Frederic stood back quietly, while their mother
cut the cake, and the older people talked. The two rich children sat
munching dry crackers, for their parents said that cake was not good
for them. But Fanchon and Frederic each had a large slice, which their
dear mother gave them.

After they had finished eating, the guests arose to say good-bye,
and the glittering carriage was driven to the door. The footman took
from it two large bandboxes. These, the rich children handed with
condescending pride, to Fanchon and Frederic. And just as the guests
were about to take their leave, the dog Pepin, Frederic’s faithful
friend and darling, came dancing and barking around them. The rich
children screamed, and had to be lifted, kicking with fright, into the
carriage, which immediately drove away.

So ended the visit of these wealthy, distinguished, and noble cousins.


THE NEW PLAYTHINGS

After the carriage containing the wealthy cousins had rolled down the
hill, the Count threw off his green waistcoat, and put on his loose
jacket, and ran his fingers through his hair. The children, too,
quickly got out of their best clothes, and felt light and happy.

“To the wood! To the wood!” shouted Frederic, jumping as high as he
could for joy.

“But don’t you wish to see what is in these handsome bandboxes your
cousins gave you?” asked his mother.

And Fanchon, who had been gazing at the bandboxes with longing eyes,
cried out: “Can’t we open them first, and go to the wood afterward?”

But Frederic was hard to convince. “Surely that stupid boy could not
have brought anything worth while,” said he scornfully, “nor his
ribbony sister! He talked so boldly about bears and lions, but when my
dear Pepin barked, he forgot his sword and hid under the table! A brave
sportsman he!”

“Oh, dear, good brother!” cried Fanchon, “just let us take one peep at
what is in the boxes!”

So Frederic, who always did what he could to please his sister, gave
up the idea of being off to the wood at once, and sat down patiently
beside the table where the bandboxes were.

The mother opened them--and then--oh, my dear readers, if you could
have seen what lay within! The loveliest toys were in those boxes! and
candies, and sweet cakes, and nuts! The children clapped their hands
again and again, crying: “Oh, how nice! Oh, how delicious!”

They took them all out of the boxes, and piled them on the table. None
of the toys caused Frederic such satisfaction as did a little hunter
who, when a string that stuck out from his jacket was pulled, put a
gun to his shoulder, and fired at a target. Next to him in Frederic’s
affections, was a little fellow who bowed, and twanged on a harp,
whenever Frederic turned a tiny handle. And, what pleased him nearly as
much, was a shotgun of wood and a hunting pouch and belt.

Fanchon was equally delighted with a beautiful doll, a trunk filled
with doll’s dresses, tiny shoes, hats, and other lovely clothes, and a
set of charming doll’s furniture.

The two children forgot all about the wood, and enjoyed themselves
with their playthings until quite late in the evening. They then went
to bed and slept soundly.


WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLAYTHINGS IN THE WOOD

The next morning, the children got their boxes and took out the
playthings, and began to play. Then, just as on the day before, the sun
shone brightly in at the window, the trees rustled in the breeze, and
the birds sang their loveliest songs. At last Frederic cried out:--

“Why do we sit here in this stuffy room? I’ll tell you what we’ll do!
Come, Fanchon, let us be off to the wood!”

Fanchon had just undressed her doll, and was going to put it to bed.
“Why can’t we stay here?” she begged, “and play a little longer,
Frederic?”

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” he replied. “We’ll take our toys out to
the wood. I’ll put on my pouch and belt, and carry my gun. I’ll be a
real sportsman! The hunter and the harper may come, too. And you may
take your doll. Come along! Let’s be off!”

Fanchon hastened to dress her doll, then they both ran out of the
house, and off to the wood. There they sat down on a nice grassy spot.
And after they had played a while, Fanchon said:--

“Do you know, Frederic, that harper of yours does not play very well.
Just listen how funny his harp sounds out here in the wood--with that
eternal _ting! ting! ping! ping!_”

Frederic turned the handle more violently. “You’re right, Fanchon,”
said he. “What the little fellow plays sounds quite horrible. He must
make a better job of it!”

And with that he unscrewed the handle with such force, that--_crack!
crack!_--the box on which the harper stood flew into a thousand
splinters, and the arms of the little fellow were broken and hung
useless at his sides.

“Oh! Oh!” cried Frederic.

“Ah, the poor little harper!” sighed Fanchon.

“Well, he was a stupid creature!” said Frederic. “He played very poor
music, and bowed, and made faces like our yellow-faced cousin who gave
him to us.” And as Frederic spoke, he threw the harper into a thicket.

“What I like, is my hunter,” he continued. “He hits the bull’s eye
every time he fires.” And with that Frederic jerked the string so
violently that--_twang! twang!_--the target was broken and the little
man’s arms hung limp and motionless.

“Ah! Ah!” cried Frederic. “You could shoot at your target in-doors, but
out here, you can’t shoot at all!” And so saying, Frederic, with all
his might, shied the hunter after the harper into the thicket.

“Come, let us run about a bit,” said he to Fanchon.

“Ah, yes! let us,” said she. “This lovely doll of mine shall run with
us. It will be great fun!”

So Fanchon and Frederic took each an arm of the doll, and off they ran
through the bushes, on and on, until they came to a small lake. There
they stopped, and Frederic said:--

“Suppose we wait a minute. I have a gun now, and perhaps I may hit a
duck among the rushes.”

At that moment, Fanchon screamed out: “Oh! just look at my doll! What’s
the matter with her?”

Indeed, the poor thing was in a miserable condition. Neither Fanchon
nor Frederic had been paying any attention to her, and the bushes had
torn all the clothes off her back; both her legs were broken; while
her pretty waxen face was covered with so many scratches that it was
hideous to look at.

“Oh! my beautiful, beautiful child!” sobbed Fanchon.

“There, you see what a stupid creature that doll of yours is!” cried
Frederic. “She can’t even take a little run, but she must tear and
spoil her clothes! Give her to me!”

And before Fanchon could say a word, or cry: “Oh! Oh!” Frederic
snatched the doll, and flung her into the lake.

“Never mind, Fanchon!” said he consolingly. “Never mind, if I can shoot
a duck, you shall have the most beautiful wing-feathers.”

Just then a noise was heard among the rushes, and Frederic instantly
took aim with his wooden gun. But he dropped it quickly from his
shoulder, saying:--

“Am I not an idiot! How can a fellow shoot a duck without powder and
shot? What’s the use of this stupid wooden thing, anyway?” With that he
flung the gun and his pouch and belt into the lake.

But poor Fanchon was weeping at the loss of her doll, and Frederic was
annoyed at the way things had turned out, so they both crept back sadly
to the house. And when their mother asked them what had become of the
playthings, Frederic truthfully related how they had been deceived by
the harper, the hunter, the doll, and all.

“Ah! you foolish children!” cried their mother half in anger, “you do
not deserve to have nice toys!”

But the Count, who had been listening to Frederic’s tale, said: “Let
the children alone. I am really glad that they are fairly rid of those
playthings. There was something queer about them.”

But neither the children nor their mother understood what the Count
meant.


THE STRANGER CHILD

Soon after these events very early one morning Fanchon and Frederic ran
off to the wood. They were feeling sad, for their mother had told them
that they must return home soon to study, so as to be ready for the
tutor that their rich cousin had promised to send them. For the tutor
was expected shortly.

“Let us run and jump as much as we can now,” said Frederic, when they
reached the wood, “for in a little while we shall not be allowed to
stay out here at all!”

So they began to play hide-and-seek, but everything went wrong. The
wind carried Frederic’s hat into the bushes. He stumbled and fell
on his nose as he was running. Fanchon found herself hanging by her
clothes on a thorn-tree, and she banged her foot against a sharp
stone so that she shrieked with pain. In fact the children could not
understand what was the matter with them on this particular day;
and they gave up their game, and slunk dejectedly through the wood.
Frederic threw himself down under a shady tree, and Fanchon followed
his example. And there the two children lay gloomy and wretched, gazing
on the ground.

“Ah!” said Fanchon, “if we only had our playthings!”

“Nonsense!” said Frederic, “what should we do with them? I’ll tell you
what it is, Fanchon, Mother is right, I suspect. The toys were good
enough, but we didn’t know how to play with them. If we were as learned
as our rich cousins, we should be so wise that all our toys would now
be whole; and we should know how to play with them rightly.”

And at that Fanchon began to sob and cry bitterly, and Frederic joined
her; and they both howled and lamented until the wood rang again and
again: “Oh! poor, unfortunate children that we are! Oh! that we were as
wise as our cousins!”

But suddenly they both stopped crying, and asked each other in
amazement:--

“Do you hear anything, Fanchon?”

“Do you hear anything, Frederic?”

For out of the deepest shade of the dark thicket in front of the
children, a wonderful brightness began to shine, playing like moonlight
over the leaves that trembled as if in joy. Then through the whispering
trees came a sweet musical note, like the sound of a harp. The children
lay motionless with awe. All their sorrow passed away from them, and
tender, happy tears rose into their eyes.

As the radiance streamed brighter and brighter through the bushes, and
the marvellous music grew louder and louder, the children’s hearts beat
high. They gazed eagerly at the brightness. Then they saw, smiling at
them from the thicket, the most beautiful face of a child, with the sun
beaming on it in splendour.

“Oh! come to us!--Come to us!--darling Shining Child!” cried Fanchon
and Frederic, stretching out their arms; and their hearts were filled
with an indescribable longing.

“I am coming! I am coming!” a sweet voice cried from the bushes.

And then, as if borne on the wings of the breeze, the Stranger Child
seemed to float hovering toward Fanchon and Frederic.


HOW THE SHINING CHILD PLAYED WITH FANCHON AND FREDERIC

“What is the matter, dear children?” asked the Stranger Child. “I heard
you crying and lamenting, and I was very sorry for you! What do you
want?”

“Ah!” said Frederic, “we did not know what we wanted; but now I see
that we wanted _you_--just you yourself!”

“That’s it!” chimed in Fanchon. “Now that you are with us, we are happy
again! Why were you so long in coming?”

In fact both children felt as if they had known and played with the
Stranger Child all their lives, and that their unhappiness had been
because their beloved playmate was not with them.

“You see,” Frederic added, “we have no toys left, for I, like a stupid
dolt, broke all our fine things, and shied them into the thicket.”

At this the Stranger Child laughed merrily, and cried: “Why, Fanchon
and Frederic, you are lying this minute among the loveliest playthings
that ever were seen!”

“Where?--Where are they?” Fanchon and Frederic both cried.

“Look around you,” said the Stranger Child.

Then Fanchon and Frederic saw how out of the thick grass and moss all
sorts of glorious flowers were peeping, with bright eyes gleaming.
And between them many coloured stones and crystal shells sparkled and
shone. While little golden insects danced up and down humming gentle
songs.

“Now we will build a palace!” said the Stranger Child. “Help me to get
the stones together.” And it stooped down and began to pick up stones
of many pretty colours.

Fanchon and Frederic helped, and the Stranger Child placed the
beautiful stones one upon another, and soon there rose tall pillars
shining in the sun, while an airy golden roof stretched itself from
pillar to pillar. Then the Stranger Child kissed the flowers that were
peeping from the grass, and whispered to them lovingly, and they shot
up higher and higher, and, twining together, formed sweet-scented
arbours and covered walks in which the children danced about, full of
delight and gladness.

The Stranger Child clapped its hands, and immediately the golden roof,
that was made of insects’ golden wings, fell to pieces with a hum, and
the pillars melted away into a splashing silver stream, on whose banks
flowers grew and peeped into the water.

Then the Stranger Child plucked little blades of grass and gathered
twigs from trees, strewing them on the ground before Fanchon and
Frederic. The blades of grass turned into the prettiest little live
dolls ever seen, and the twigs became gay little huntsmen.

The dolls danced around Fanchon, and let her take them in her lap, and
they whispered in such delicate little voices: “Be kind to us! Love us,
dear Fanchon.”

The huntsmen shouted: “Halloa! Halloa! the hunt’s up!” and blew their
horns, and bustled about. Then tiny hares came darting out of the
bushes, with tiny dogs after them, and the huntsmen pursued them with
shouts. This was delightful!

Then suddenly these wonders disappeared. And Fanchon and Frederic cried
out: “What has become of the dolls? Where are the huntsmen?”

The Stranger Child answered: “Oh, they are always here waiting for you!
They are close beside you, so you may have them at any minute. But just
now would you not rather go with me through the wood?”

“Oh, yes! yes!” cried Fanchon and Frederic.

The Stranger Child took hold of their hands, crying: “Come! Come!”

And with that off they went! The children felt themselves floating
along lightly and easily, through the trees; while all the birds flew
fluttering beside them, singing and warbling their sweetest songs. Then
suddenly up they soared into the air. Higher and higher they mounted
like birds, skimming above the tops of the trees. Frederic shouted with
delight, but Fanchon was frightened.

“Oh, my breath is going! I shall tumble!” she cried.

And just at that moment the Stranger Child let them down gently to the
ground, and said: “Now I shall sound my Forest-Song. Then good-bye for
to-day.”

And the Stranger Child took out a little horn of wreathed gold,
and began to sound it so beautifully that the whole wood reëchoed
wondrously with its lovely music; while a host of nightingales came
flocking to the branches above the children’s heads, and sang their
most melodious songs.

But all at once the music grew fainter and fainter, and only a soft
whispering seemed to come from the thicket into which the Stranger
Child had vanished.

“To-morrow! To-morrow! I will come again!” the children heard breathed
gently as if from a distance. Then they sighed with joy, for, though
they could not understand it, never had they known such happiness in
all their lives.

“Oh! I wish it was to-morrow, now!” they both cried, as they hastened
home to their parents.


HOW THE FOREST TALKED TO FANCHON AND FREDERIC

“I should fancy that the children had dreamed all this,” said the Count
to his wife, when Fanchon and Frederic, who could think of nothing else
but the Stranger Child, and the wonderful events, and the exquisite
music, had told all that had happened. “I should fancy that they had
dreamed all this, if they had not both seen the same things! I cannot
get to the bottom of it all!”

“Don’t bother your head about it, my dear,” answered his wife. “I think
this Stranger Child was nobody but the schoolmaster’s son from the
village. We must take care that he is not allowed to put any more such
nonsense into the children’s heads.”

But the Count could not agree with her, for he called the children
to him again, to tell how the Stranger Child was dressed and looked.
Fanchon and Frederic both agreed that its face was fair as lilies, that
it had cheeks like roses, cherry lips, bright blue eyes, and locks of
gold; and that it was more beautiful than words could tell.

But what they said about its dress sounded absurd. For Fanchon said
that its dress was wondrous beautiful, shining and gleaming, as if made
of the petals of flowers; while Frederic insisted that its garments
were of sparkling golden-green, like spring-leaves in the sunshine.

And Frederic thought that the Stranger Child was a boy; while Fanchon
was sure that it was a girl. And these contradictions confused their
parents; and the Count shook his head wonderingly.

The next day, Fanchon and Frederic hastened to the wood, and found the
Stranger Child waiting for them. If their play had been glorious the
day before, it was ten times more glorious to-day; for the Stranger
Child did such marvellous things that Fanchon and Frederic shouted for
joy.

While they played, the Stranger Child talked sweetly to the trees,
flowers, and birds, and to the brook that ran through the wood; and
they all answered so clearly that Fanchon and Frederic understood
everything they said.

“Dear children!” cried the Alder-thicket, “why were you not here early,
when my friend the Morning Breeze came rustling over the blue hills,
and brought us thousands of greetings and kisses from the Golden Queen
of the Dawn, and plenty of wing-waftings full of sweet perfumes!”

“Oh silence!” the flowers broke in. “Do not mention that robber, the
Morning Breeze! Does he not steal our perfumes! Never mind the Alders,
children, let them lisp and whisper. Listen to us! We love you so! We
dress ourselves in the loveliest colours just for you!”

“And do we not love _you_, you beautiful flowers!” said the Stranger
Child tenderly.

But Fanchon knelt down on the grass, and stretched out her arms, as if
she would take all the bright flowers to her heart, and cried: “Ah! I
love you! I love you every one!”

Then came a sighing out of the tall dark firtrees, and they said: “We
shade the flowers from the hot sun, and shelter human children when the
storm comes rushing through the woods, but who loves us in return?”

“Groan and sigh,” cried Frederic, “and murmur as much as you like, you
green giants that you are! It is then that the real woodsman’s heart
rejoices in you! I love all, the green bushes, the flowers, and you
trees!”

“You are quite right!” splashed the brook as it sparkled over its
stones. “Come sit down among this moss, dear children, and listen to
me. I come from afar; out of a deep, cool, dark rock I gush. Look
into my waves, and I will show you the loveliest pictures in my clear
mirror, the blue of the sky, the fleecy clouds, bushes, trees, and
blossoms; and your very selves, dear children, I draw tenderly into my
transparent bosom!”

“Fanchon and Frederic,” said the Stranger Child, looking around with
wondrous blissfulness. “Only listen how they all love us! But the
redness of evening is rising behind the hills, and the nightingale is
calling me home!”

“Oh, but first let us fly a little, as we did yesterday!” begged
Frederic.

“Yes,” said Fanchon, “but not quite so high. It makes my head giddy.”

Then the Stranger Child took them each by the hand again, and they went
soaring up into the golden purple of the evening sky, while the birds
crowded and sang around them.

Among the shining clouds, Frederic saw, as if in wavering flame,
beautiful castles all of rubies and other precious stones.

“Look! Look! Fanchon!” he cried, full of rapture. “Look at those
splendid palaces! Let us fly along as fast as we can, and we shall soon
get to them.”

Fanchon, too, saw the castles, and forgot her fear, and kept looking
upward.

“Those are my beloved castles-in-the-air,” the Stranger Child said.
“But we must go no farther to-day!”

Fanchon and Frederic seemed to be in a dream, and could not make out
how they suddenly came to find themselves with their father and mother.


THE PALACE OF THE FAIRY QUEEN

It was the next day. In the most beautiful part of the wood beside
the brook, between whispering bushes, the Stranger Child had set up a
glorious tent made of tall slender lilies, glowing roses, and tulips of
every hue. And beneath this tent, Fanchon and Frederic were seated with
the Stranger Child, listening to the forest brook as it whirled, and
rippled, and sang its wonderful stories.

“Tell us,” said Fanchon, “darling Shining Child, where your home is,
and all about your father and mother.”

The Stranger Child looked sorrowfully at the sky. “Ah, my dear,” it
said with a sigh, “is it not enough that I come to you each day? Why
must you then ask about my home? Though you were to travel day after
day, forever and ever, even to beyond the utmost range of the purple
hills, you could not reach it!”

“Ah me!” sighed Fanchon. “Then you must live hundreds and hundreds of
miles away from us! Is it only on a visit that you are here?”

“Fanchon, beloved,” said the Stranger Child, “whenever you long for me
with all your heart, I am with you immediately, bringing you all those
plays and wonders. Is that not as good as being in my home?”

“Not at all,” said Frederic, “for I believe that you live in a most
glorious place. I do not care how hard the road is to your home, I mean
to set out this minute for it.”

“And so you shall!” said the Stranger Child smiling; “for when you see
all this so clearly before you, and make up your mind to be there, it
is as good as done! The land where I live, in truth, is so beautiful
and glorious that I can give you no description of it. It is my mother
who reigns over that land,--all glory and loveliness--as Queen.”

“Ah! you are a Prince!” cried Frederic.

“Ah! you are a Princess!” cried Fanchon.

“I certainly am,” said the Stranger Child. “My mother’s palace is far
more beautiful than those glittering castles you saw in the evening
clouds. For the gleaming pillars of her palace are of the purest
crystal, and they soar slender and tall into the blue of heaven. Upon
them rests a great, wide blue canopy. Beneath the canopy sail the
shining white clouds, hither and thither on golden wings. And the red
of the evening and the morning rises and falls, and the sparkling stars
dance in a singing circle around her palace.

“You have heard of the Fairies who can bring about great wonders. My
mother is Queen of the Fairies. Very often she holds a feast for little
children. It is then that the Elves, belonging to my mother’s Kingdom,
fly through the air weaving shining rainbows from one end of her palace
to the other. Under these rainbows they build my mother’s diamond
throne,--that in appearance and perfume is like lilies, roses, and
carnations.

“My mother takes her place upon the throne, and the Elves sing, and
play on golden harps. As soon as their music begins, everything in the
palace and in the woods and gardens, moves and sings. And all around
there are thousands of beautiful little children in charming dresses,
shouting with delight.

“The children chase each other among the golden trees, and throw
blossoms at each other. They climb the trees where the wind swings and
rocks them. They gather gold-glittering fruit, and they play with tame
deer and other gentle wild creatures, that come bounding up to them
and lick their hands. Then the children run up and down the rainbows;
or they ride on the backs of great Purple Birds that fly up among the
gleaming clouds.

“How delightful that must be!” cried Fanchon and Frederic, with
rapture. “Oh! take us with you to your home, beautiful Shining Child!
We want to stay there always!”

“That may not be,” said the Stranger Child.

And Fanchon and Frederic cast down their eyes sadly to the ground.


THE WICKED MOUCHE

“Ah,” said the Stranger Child, “you might not be so happy at my
mother’s Court. Indeed, it would be a great misfortune for you to try
to go to her Kingdom. There are many children who cannot bear the
singing of the Purple Birds, and, if they hear their songs, they die.
Then too, destruction might overtake you before you could reach my
mother’s Court. Even I am not safe on my way thither.

“There was a time when I was safe anywhere. But now a bitter enemy of
my mother, whom she banished from her Kingdom, goes raging about the
world; and I cannot be safe from being watched, pursued, and molested.
Powerless as this bitter enemy is when I am at home, nothing can
protect me from him, when I am flying abroad.”

“What sort of a hateful creature is it,” asked Fanchon, “that can do
you so much harm?”

“I have told you,” said the Stranger Child, “that my mother is the
Fairy Queen. Among her many Elves are some who hover in the sky, or
dwell in the waters, and others who serve at the Fairy Court. Once, a
long while ago, there came among those that served at Court, a stranger
who called himself Papillon. He said that he was learned in all the
sciences of the world, and could accomplish great things among us. My
mother made him prime minister.

“Papillon soon showed his natural spite and wickedness. He pretended to
the Queen that he loved children and could make them very happy. But
instead of doing so, he hung himself like a weight of lead on the tails
of the Purple Birds, so that they could not fly aloft. And when the
children climbed the rose-trees, he dragged them down by the legs. Then
he knocked their noses on the ground, and made them bleed. When the
children sang, he crammed all sorts of nasty stuff down their throats;
for sweet and happy singing he could not abide. And worst of all, he
had a way of smearing the sparkling precious stones of the palace, and
the lilies and roses, and even the shining rainbows, with a horrible
black juice, so that everything beautiful became sorrowful or dead.

“And when he had done all this, he gave a loud hissing laugh, and said
that everything was now as he wished it to be. Then, shouting that he
was greater than my mother, he went flying up into the air, in the
shape of an enormous fly with flashing eyes, and a long snout. After
which he went humming and buzzing around my mother’s throne, in a most
abominable fashion.

“When the Queen my mother and her Elves saw this, they knew that he had
come among them under a false name, and that he was none other than
Mouche, the gloomy King of the Gnomes. The entire Fairy Court thereupon
rushed against him beating him with their wings, while the Purple Birds
seized him with their glittering beaks and gripped him so tightly
that he screamed with agony and rage. After which the birds shook him
violently, and threw him down to the earth. He fell straight onto the
back of his old Aunt, who was a great blue toad. And she carried him
off to her hole.

“But five hundred of the children in the Fairy Court armed themselves
with fly-flappers, to defend themselves against Mouche if he should
ever venture to return. Now after he was gone, all the black juice
disappeared, and everything became as shining and glorious as before.

“So you see, dear Children,” continued the Stranger Child, “what kind
of a creature I have to fear. This horrible Mouche follows me about,
and, if I did not hide myself quickly, he would injure me. And I assure
you that if I were to take you with me to my home, Mouche would lie in
wait for us, and kill us.”

Fanchon wept bitterly at the danger to which the Stranger Child was
exposed. But Frederic said: “If that horrible Mouche is nothing but a
great fly, I’ll soon hit him with father’s big fly-flapper! And if once
I give him a good crack on his nose, Aunty Blue Toad will have a job
carrying him to her hole again!”


HOW TUTOR INK ARRIVED TO TEACH THE CHILDREN

Fanchon and Frederic ran home as fast as they could, shouting as they
went:--

“Oh! the Shining Child is a beautiful Princess!”

“Oh! the Shining Child is a beautiful Prince!”

They wanted, in their delight, to tell this to their parents, but their
father came to meet them with a most extraordinary man walking by his
side. This stranger kept muttering to himself:--

“What a nice pair of stupids these are! Ah! Ah!”

The Count took him by the hand, and said to the children: “This
gentleman is the tutor whom your kind Cousin has sent to teach you. So
now shake hands with him, and bid him welcome.”

But the children looked sidewise at him, and could move neither hand
nor foot. This was because they had never seen such an extraordinary
being. He was no taller than Frederic. His body was round and bloated,
and his little weazen legs could hardly support its weight. His head
was queer and square, and his face too ugly for anything, for not only
was his nose long and pointed, but his little bulging eyes glittered,
and his wide mouth was opened in a ferocious way. He was clad in black
from top to toe, and his name was Tutor Ink.

Now, as the children stood staring like stone images, their mother
cried out angrily: “You rude children, what are you thinking of? Come!
come! give the tutor your hands.”

The children, taking heart, did as their mother bade them. But as soon
as Tutor Ink took hold of their hands, they jumped back, screaming:
“Oh! Oh! It hurts!”

The tutor laughed aloud, and showed a needle, which he had hidden in
his hand to prick the children with. Fanchon was weeping; but Frederic
growled. “Just try that again, little Big-Body, if you dare!”

“Why did you do that, Tutor Ink?” asked the Count, somewhat annoyed.

“Well, it’s just my way!” answered Tutor Ink; “I can’t alter it!” and
with that he stuck his hands to his sides, and went on laughing until
his voice sounded like the noise of a broken rattle.

Alas! after that there was no more running about in the wood! Instead
the children, day after day, had to sit in the house, repeating
after Tutor Ink strange gibberish, not one word of which they could
understand.

With what longing eyes they looked at the wood! Often they thought
they heard, amidst the happy songs of the birds and the rustling of
the trees, the voice of the Stranger Child, calling, and calling:
“Fanchon! Frederic! Are you not coming to play with me? Oh, come! I
have made you a palace all of flowers! We will play there, and I will
give you all sorts of beautiful stones! And then we’ll fly through the
air, and build cloud-castles! Come! Oh, come!”

At this the children’s thoughts were so drawn to the wood, that they
neither heard nor saw their tutor any longer; although he thumped on
the table with both his fists, and hummed, and growled, and snarled.

At last one day the Count perceived how pale the children were getting,
and bade Tutor Ink take them for a walk. The Tutor did not like the
idea at all. And the children did not like it either, saying:--

“What business has Tutor Ink in our darling wood?”


WHAT HAPPENED WHEN TUTOR INK TOOK THE CHILDREN TO THE WOOD

“Well, Tutor Ink, is it not delightful here in our wood?” asked
Frederic.

Tutor Ink made a face, and muttered: “Stupid nonsense! All one does is
to tear his stockings! One can’t hear a word because of the abominable
screeching of the birds!”

“But surely you love the flowers?” Fanchon chimed in.

At this Tutor Ink’s face became a deep cherry-colour, and he beat his
hands about him, crying: “Stupid nonsense! Ridiculous nonsense! There
are no decent flowers in this wood!”

“But don’t you see those dear little Lilies-of-the-valley peeping up at
you with such bright loving eyes?” asked Fanchon.

“What! What!” the Tutor screamed. “Flowers!--eyes?--Ha! Ha!--Nice
eyes!--Useless things!” And with that he stooped, and plucking up a
handful of the lilies, roots and all, threw them into the thicket.

Fanchon could not help shedding bitter tears, and Frederic gnashed his
teeth in anger. Just then a little Robin alighted on a branch near the
Tutor’s head, and began to sing sweetly. The Tutor, picking up a stone,
threw it, and the bird fell dying to the ground.

Frederic could restrain himself no longer. “You horrible Tutor Ink!” he
cried, “what did the little bird do to you, that you should strike it
dead?” And looking toward the thicket, he called sadly: “Oh! where are
you, beautiful Shining Child? Oh, come! Only come! Let us fly far, far
away! I cannot stay beside this horrible creature any longer.”

And Fanchon, stretching out her hands, sobbed and wept bitterly. “Oh,
you darling Shining Child,” she cried. “Come to us! Come to us! Save
us! Save us! Tutor Ink is killing us, as he is killing the flowers and
birds!”

“What do you mean by the Shining Child?” snarled Tutor Ink.

But at that instant there was a loud whispering, and a rustling, in
the thicket, and a sound as of muffled drums tolling in the distance.
Then the children saw, in a shining cloud that floated above them, the
beautiful face of the Stranger Child, and tears like glittering pearls
were rolling down its rosy cheeks.

“Ah! darling playmates!” it cried. “I cannot come to you any more!
Farewell! Farewell! The Gnome Mouche has you in his power! Oh! you poor
children, good-bye! good-bye!”

And then the Stranger Child soared up far into the clouds. And the
most marvellous thing happened! Behind the children there began a most
horrid, fearsome buzzing and humming, snarling and growling, and, lo!
Tutor Ink had changed into an enormous frightful-looking fly. And he
began to fly upward heavily, following the Stranger Child.

Fanchon and Frederic, overpowered with terror, ran out of the wood, and
did not dare to look up at the sky until they had got some distance
away. And, then, when they did so, all that they could see, was a
shining speck in the clouds, glittering like a star, and coming nearer
and downward.

The star grew bigger and bigger, and the children could hear, as if it
were, the call of a trumpet; and presently they saw that the star was
really a splendid bird with shining purple plumage. It came dropping
down to the wood, clapping its mighty wings, and singing loud and clear.

“Hurrah! Hurrah!” shouted Frederic. “That is a Purple Bird from the
Fairy Court! He will bite Tutor Ink to death! The Shining Child is
saved!--and so are we! Come, Fanchon, let us get home as fast as we
can, and tell our father about it.”


WHAT THE COUNT DID TO TUTOR INK

The children burst into the house where their parents were sitting.

“Hurrah! Hurrah!” Frederic shouted. “The Purple Bird has bitten Tutor
Ink to death!”

“Oh, Father dear, Mother dear!” cried Fanchon. “Tutor Ink is not Tutor
Ink at all! He is really the wicked Mouche, King of the Gnomes; a
monstrous fly, but a fly with clothes and shoes and stockings on!”

“Who on earth has been putting such nonsense into your heads?” asked
the Countess.

And the parents gazed at the children in utter amazement, while they
went oh to tell about the Stranger Child whose mother was a great
Fairy Queen, and about the Gnome King, Mouche, and the Purple Bird.

The Count grew very grave and thoughtful. “Frederic,” said he, “you
are really a sensible boy, and I must admit that Tutor Ink has always
seemed to me a strange mysterious creature. Your mother and I are by
no means satisfied with him, particularly your mother. He has such a
terrible sweet-tooth, that there’s no way of keeping him from the sugar
and jams. And, then, he hums and buzzes in such a distressing manner.
But in spite of all this, my dear boy, just think calmly for a minute.
Even if there are such things as Gnomes in the world, do you really
mean to say that your Tutor has become a fly?”

Frederic looked his father steadily in the face with his clear blue
eyes, then said:--

“I should not have believed it myself, if the Stranger Child had
not said so, and if I had not seen with my own eyes that he is only
a horrible fly, and pretends to be Tutor Ink. And then,” continued
Frederic, while his father shook his head in wonder, “see what Mother
says about him. Is he not ravenous for sweet things? Is that not just
like a fly? And then his hummings and buzzings.”

“Silence,” cried the Count. “Whatever Tutor Ink is, one thing is
certain, the Purple Bird has not bitten him to death! for there he
comes out of the wood!”

At this the children uttered loud screams, and rushed behind the door.
In truth, Tutor Ink was approaching, but he was wild-looking and
bewildered. He was buzzing and humming, and springing high in the air,
first to one side, then to the other, and banging his head against
the trees. He tumbled into the house, and dashed at the milk-jug, and
popped his head into it so that the milk ran over the sides. Then he
gulped and gulped, making a horrid noise of swallowing.

“What ails you, Tutor Ink?” cried the Countess. “What are you about?”

“Are you out of your senses?” asked the Count. “Is the foul fiend after
you?”

But without making any answer, Tutor Ink, taking his mouth from the
milk-jug, threw himself down on the dish of butter, and began to lick
it with his pointed tongue. Then, with a loud buzzing, he sprang off
the table and began to stagger hither and thither about the room, as
though he was drunk.

“This is pretty behaviour!” cried the Count, as he tried to seize Tutor
Ink by the coat tails; but Tutor Ink managed to elude him deftly.

Just then Frederic came running up with his father’s big fly-flapper in
his hand, and gave it to the Count, crying:--

“Here you are, Father! Knock the terrible Mouche to death!”

The Count took the fly-flapper; and then they all set to work to drive
away Tutor Ink. Fanchon and Frederic and their mother took table
napkins, and made sweeps with them in the air, driving the Tutor
backward and forward, here and there, while the Count kept striking at
him with the fly-flapper.

Wilder and wilder grew the chase. “_Hum! Hum!_” and “_Sum! Sum!_” went
the Tutor, storming hither and thither. “_Flip! Flap!_” and “_Clip!
Clap!_” went the table napkins and fly-flapper.

At last the Count managed to hit the Tutor’s coat tails. Then just as
the Count was going to strike a second time, up bounced the Tutor into
the air, and, with renewed strength, stormed, humming and buzzing, out
of the door, and away among the trees.

“Well done!” exclaimed the Count. “We are rid of that abominable Tutor
Ink! Never shall he cross my threshold again!”


HOW THE NAUGHTY PLAYTHINGS BECAME ALIVE

Fanchon and Frederic now breathed freely once more. A great weight
was taken off their hearts. They rejoiced that now, since the wicked
Mouche was gone, the Stranger Child might come back. They hurried
to the wood. Everything was silent and deserted. Not a merry note of
a single bird was there. Instead of the joyous singing of the brook,
and the gladsome rustling of the leaves, they seemed to hear sighs
and moans that passed through the air. Just then, close behind them,
snarling voices cried out:--

“Stupid creatures! Senseless creatures! You despised us! You did not
know how to treat us! We are come back to punish you!”

Fanchon and Frederic looked around, and saw the little hunter and the
harper rise out of the thicket. The harper twanged his tiny harp, while
the hunter took aim at Frederic; and both cried out:--

“Wait, you boy and girl! We are obedient servants of Tutor Ink! He will
be here in a moment, and then we’ll pay you well for despising us!”

Terrified, the children turned to run away, when the doll rose up out
of the thicket, and squeaked out:--

“Stupid creatures! Senseless creatures! I am an obedient servant of
Tutor Ink! He will be here in a moment, and then I’ll pay you well for
despising me!” And with that the naughty creature sent great splashes
of muddy water flying at Fanchon and Frederic, so that they were quite
wet.

Then the children fell on their knees sobbing: “Oh, how unfortunate we
are! Will no one take pity on us!”

Scarcely had they said thus, when the playthings disappeared. The
rushing of the brook turned to the sweetest music. All the wood
streamed with a wonderful sparkling light. And, lo! the Stranger Child
came forth from the thicket, surrounded by such brilliant rays that
Fanchon and Frederic had to shut their eyes for a minute.

Then they felt themselves touched gently, and the Stranger Child’s
sweet voice said:--

“Oh, do not mourn for me, dear playmates! Though you will not see
me again, still I shall be near you. Neither the wicked Mouche nor
any other Gnome shall have power to harm you. Only go on loving me
faithfully.”

“That we shall! that we shall! dear Shining Child!” the children cried.
“We love you with all our hearts!”

And at last when they could open their eyes, the Stranger Child had
vanished; and all their grief and fear were gone, too. Delight beamed
in their eyes and shone in their cheeks.

And what the Stranger Child had said, came to pass. Nothing ever
harmed Fanchon and Frederic. They grew up handsome, clever, and
sweet-tempered; and all that they undertook prospered. And as the
years went on, they still, in their dreams, played with the Stranger
Child, who never ceased to bring them the loveliest things from its
Fairy Home.

                                                               _Adapted_



MABEL ON MIDSUMMER DAY

A STORY OF THE OLDEN TIME


PART I

  “Arise! my maiden, Mabel,”
    The mother said: “arise!
  For the golden sun of Midsummer
    Is shining in the skies.

  “Arise! my little maiden,
    For thou must speed away,
  To wait upon thy grandmother
    This live-long Summer Day.

  “And thou must carry with thee
    This wheaten cake so fine,
  This new-made pat of butter,
    This little flask of wine.

  “And tell the dear old body,
    This day I cannot come,
  For the goodman went out yestermorn,
    And he is not come home.

  “And more than this, poor Amy
    Upon my knee doth lie;
  I fear me, with this fever-pain
    The little child will die!

  “And thou canst help thy grandmother;
    The table thou canst spread,
  Canst feed the little dog and bird,
    And thou canst make her bed.

  “And thou canst fetch the water
    From the Lady-well hard by,
  And thou canst gather from the wood
    The fagots brown and dry;

  “Canst go down to the lonesome glen,
    To milk the mother-ewe;
  This is the work, my Mabel,
    That thou wilt have to do.

  “But listen now, my Mabel:
    This is Midsummer Day,
  When all the Fairy people
    From Elfland come away.

  “And when thou’rt in the lonesome glen,
    Keep by the running burn,
  And do not pluck the strawberry flower,
    Nor break the lady-fern.

  “But think not of the Fairy folk,
    Lest mischief should befall;
  Think only of poor Amy,
    And how thou lov’st us all.

  “Yet keep good heart, my Mabel,
    If thou the Fairies see,
  And give them kindly answer
    If they should speak to thee.

  “And when into the fir-wood
    Thou goest for fagots brown,
  Do not, like idle children,
    Go wandering up and down;

  “But fill thy little apron,
    My child, with earnest speed;
  And that thou break no living bough
    Within the wood, take heed.

  “For they are spiteful Brownies
    Who in the wood abide;
  So be thou careful of this thing,
    Lest evil should betide.

  “But think not, little Mabel,
    Whilst thou art in the wood,
  Of dwarfish, wilful Brownies,
    But of the Father good.

  “And when thou goest to the spring,
    To fetch the water thence,
  Do not disturb the little stream,
    Lest this should give offence.

  “For the Queen of all the Fairies
    She loves that water bright;
  I’ve seen her drinking there, myself,
    On many a Summer night.

  “But she’s a gracious lady,
    And her thou need’st not fear;
  Only disturb thou not the stream,
    Nor spill the water clear.”

  “Now all this I will heed, mother,
    Will no word disobey,
  And wait upon the grandmother
    This live-long Summer Day.”


PART II

  Away tripped little Mabel,
    With the wheaten cake so fine,
  With the new-made pat of butter,
    And the little flask of wine.

  And long before the sun was hot,
    And the Summer mist had cleared,
  Beside the good old grandmother
    The willing child appeared.

  And all her mother’s message
    She told with right good-will
  How that the father was away,
    And the little child was ill.

  And then she swept the hearth up clean,
    And then the table spread,
  And next she fed the dog and bird,
    And then she made the bed.

  “And go now,” said the grandmother,
    “Ten paces down the dell,
  And bring in water for the day--
    Thou know’st the Lady-well.”

  The first time that good Mabel went,
    Nothing at all saw she,
  Except a bird, a sky-blue bird,
    That sat upon a tree.

  The next time that good Mabel went,
    There sat a lady bright
  Beside the well,--a lady small,
    All clothed in green and white.

  A curtsey low made Mabel,
    And then she stooped to fill
  Her pitcher at the sparkling spring,
    But no drop did she spill.

  “Thou art a handy maiden,”
    The Fairy lady said;
  “Thou hast not spilt a drop, nor yet
    The Fairy Spring troublèd.

  “And for this thing which thou hast done,
    Yet may’st not understand,
  I give to thee a better gift
    Than houses or than land.

  “Thou shalt do well whate’er thou dost,
    As thou hast done this day--
  Shalt have the will and power to please,
    And shalt be loved alway.”

  Thus having said, she passed from sight,
    And naught could Mabel see,
  But the little bird, the sky-blue bird,
    Upon the leafy tree.


PART III

  “And now go,” said the grandmother,
    “And fetch in fagots dry;
  All in the neighbouring fir-wood,
    Beneath the trees they lie.”

  Away went kind, good Mabel,
    Into the fir-wood near,
  Where all the ground was dry and brown,
    And the grass grew thin and sear.

  She did not wander up and down,
    Nor yet a live branch pull,
  But steadily of the fallen boughs
    She picked her apron full.

  And when the wildwood Brownies
    Came sliding to her mind,
  She drove them thence, as she was told,
    With home-thoughts sweet and kind.

  But all that while the Brownies
    Within the fir-wood still,
  They watched her how she picked the wood,
    And strove to do no ill.

  “And oh! but she is small and neat!”
    Said one; “’twere shame to spite
  A creature so demure and meek,
    A creature harmless quite!”

  “Look only,” said another,
    “At her little gown of blue,
  At her kerchief pinned about her head,
    And at her little shoe!”

  “Oh! but she is a comely child,”
    Said a third; “and we will lay
  A good-luck penny in her path,
    A boon for her this day,--
  Seeing she broke no living wood,
    No live thing did affray!”

  With that the smallest penny,
    Of the finest silver ore,
  Upon the dry and slippery path,
    Lay Mabel’s feet before.

  With joy she picked the penny up,
    The Fairy penny good;
  And with her fagots dry and brown
    Went wandering from the wood.

  “Now she has that,” said the Brownies,
    “Let flax be ever so dear,
  ’Twill buy her clothes of the very best,
    For many and many a year.”


PART IV

  “And go now,” said the grandmother,
    “Since falling is the dew--
  Go down unto the lonesome glen,
    And milk the mother-ewe.”

  All down into the lonesome glen,
    Through copses thick and wild,
  Through moist, rank grass, by trickling streams,
    Went on the willing child.

  And when she came to the lonesome glen,
    She kept beside the burn,
  And neither plucked the strawberry-flower,
    Nor broke the lady-fern.

  And while she milked the mother-ewe
    Within this lonesome glen,
  She wished that little Amy
    Were strong and well again.

  And soon as she had thought this thought,
    She heard a coming sound,
  As if a thousand Fairy folk
    Were gathering all around.

  And then she heard a little voice,
    Shrill as the midge’s wing,
  That spake aloud: “A human child
    Is here, yet mark this thing!--

  “The lady-fern is all unbroke,
    The strawberry-flower unta’en!
  What shall be done for her who still
    From mischief can refrain?”

  “Give her a Fairy cake!” said one;
    “Grant her a wish!” said three;
  “The latest wish that she hath wished,”
    Said all, “whate’er it be!”

  Kind Mabel heard the words they spake,
    And from the lonesome glen
  Unto the good old grandmother
    Went gladly back again.

  Thus happened it to Mabel,
    On that Midsummer Day,
  And these three Fairy blessings
    She took with her away.

  ’Tis good to make all duty sweet,
    To be alert and kind;
  ’Tis good, like little Mabel,
    To have a willing mind.

                            _Mary Howitt_



FAREWELL! FAREWELL! DEAR FAIRIES



  _Oh! where do Fairies hide their heads,
    When snow lies on the hills--
  When frost has spoiled their mossy beds,
    And crystallized their rills?
  Beneath the moon they cannot trip
    In circles o’er the plain;
  And draughts of dew they cannot sip,
    Till green leaves come again._

    *       *       *       *       *

  _When they return there will be mirth,
    And music in the air,
  And Fairy wings upon the earth,
    And mischief everywhere.
  The maids, to keep the Elves aloof,
    Will bar the doors in vain;
  No keyhole will be Fairy-proof,
    When green leaves come again._

                         THOMAS HAYNES BAYLY



THE FAIRIES’ PASSAGE


I

  Tap, tap, tap, rap! “Get up, Gaffer Ferryman.”
    “Eh! who is there?” The clock strikes three.
  “Get up, do, Gaffer! You are the very man
    We have been long--long--longing to see.”
  The Ferryman rises, growling and grumbling,
  And goes fum-fumbling, and stumbling, and tumbling,
    Over the wares in his way to the door.
            But he sees no more
            Than he saw before,
    Till a voice is heard--“O Ferryman, dear!
    Here we are waiting, all of us here!
    We are a wee, wee colony, we;
    Some two hundred in all, or three.
    Ferry us over the river Lee
            Ere dawn of day,
            And we will pay
            The most we may,
            In our own wee way!”


II

  “Who are you? Whence came you? What place are you going to?”
    “Oh, we have dwelt over-long in this land;
  The people get cross, and are growing so knowing, too!
    Nothing at all but they now understand;
  We are daily vanishing under the thunder
    Of some huge engine or iron wonder;
    That iron, ah!--it has entered our souls!”
            “----Your souls? O gholes,
            You queer little drolls!
  Do you mean----?” “Good Gaffer, do aid us with speed,
  For our time, like our stature, is short indeed!
    And a very long way we have to go,
    Eight or ten thousand miles or so,
    Hither and thither, and to and fro;
            With our pots and pans,
            And little gold cans;
            But our light caravans
            Run swifter than man’s!”


III

  “Well, well, you may come!” said the Ferryman, affably;
    “Patrick, turn out, and get ready the barge!”
  Then again to the Little Folk--“Though you seem laughably
    Small, I don’t mind, if your coppers be large.”
  Oh, dear! what a rushing, what pushing, what crushing
  (The watermen making vain efforts at hushing
  The hubbub the while) there followed these words!
            What clapping of boards!
            What strapping of cords!
  What stowing away of children and wives,
  And platters, and mugs, and spoons, and knives!
  Till all had safely got into the boat,
  And the Ferryman, clad in his tip-top coat,
  And his wee little Fairies were safely afloat!
            Then ding! ding! ding!
            And kling! kling! kling!
            How the coppers did ring
            In the tin pitcherling!


IV

  Off, then, went the boat, at first very pleasantly,
    Smoothly, and so forth; but after a while
  It swayed and it swagged this and that way, and presently
    Chest after chest, and pile after pile,
  Of the Little Folks’ goods began tossing and rolling,
  And pitching like fun, beyond Fairy controlling!
    O Mab! if the hubbub were great before,
    It was now some two or three million times more;
    Crash! went the wee crocks, and the clocks, and the locks
  Of each little wee box were stove in by hard knocks;
  And then there were oaths, and prayers, and cries--
  “Take care!”--“See there!”--“Oh, dear! my eyes!”
  “I am killed!”--“I am drowned!”--with groans and sighs;
            Till to land they drew;
            “Yeo-ho! Pull to!
            Tiller-rope, thro’ and thro’!”
            And all’s right anew.


V

  “Now, jump upon shore, ye queer little oddities,
    Eh! what is this?--Where are they, at all?
  Where are they, and where are their tiny commodities?
    Well! as I live!” He looks blank as a wall,
      Poor Ferryman! Round him, and round him he gazes,
      But only gets deeplier lost in the mazes
      Of utter bewilderment! All, all are gone--
            And he stands alone,
            Like a statue of stone,
      In a doldrum of wonder. He turns to steer,
      And a tinkling laugh salutes his ear
      With other odd sounds--“Ha! ha! ha! ha!
      Fol, lol; zidziddel--quee, quee-bah! bah!
      Fizzigig--giggidy! phsee! sha! sha!”
  “O ye thieves, ye thieves! ye rascally thieves!”
    The good man cries. He turns to his pitcher,
  And there, alas! to his horror perceives,
    That the Little Folks’ mode of making him richer
  Has been to pay him with--withered leaves.

                                    _James Clarence Mangan_



OLD WINTER’S FAIRYLAND

TO WINTER


  Sooth ’tis, old Friend,
  Thou banishest
  The golden rest
  Of the hours;
  Dost cruelly send
  The birds off, and
  The twinkling band
  Of the flowers;
  Dost lash the shadows out of the woods,
  And kill the souls in the plunging floods.

  Thou chillest the green,
  And it departs
  Into the hearts
  Of the meas,
  And dreams of sheen,
  Grasses and leaves,
  Blossoms and sheaves,
  And of trees;
  Thou foldest all colours up in mould,
  And touchest the aching light with cold.

  There is no gloom
  Of vanished wold,
  Inlaid with gold,
  But glens,
  And heights in bloom,
  And shadowing woods,
  And tumbling floods,
  And plains,
  Of Summer in the core of the world,
  And golden skies are there unfurled.

  The Fairies keep
  A revel there,
  And banish care
  With mirth;
  When snows are deep,
  And woods are cross,
  Enjoy our loss
  In the Earth;
  The leaves and grass and water-springs,
  The glorious world with its living things,
  Each happy thought that goes on wings,
  And sings,
  Or thinks itself in blossomings
  Of red and gold,
  All bless the cold,
  That ruleth with an iron hand
  To build in the Earth a Fairyland.

  At Christmas tide,
  On country farms
  In games and charms
  Thou thrivest;
  By deep hearth side,
  When tales are told
  And songs are trolled,
  As through the mould
  Thou drivest
  The shuddering flowers, thou dost begin
  To gather us up, and drive us in.

  For all, whom care
  Or labour drew
  From old to new
  In the year,
  Thou dost prepare
  The roaring hearth,
  And garrulous mirth,
  And beer
  In massy cans, to season it,
  Nut-brown and livelier than thy wit.

  The Yule log sends
  Its light abroad
  O’er roof and board;
  And cheerily
  In shade ascends
  The cricket’s song;
  The winds are strong,
  And drearily
  Shrill past the rattling window panes, and down
  The wide-mouthed chimney shriek and moan.

  The hinds drop in
  From fold and pen,
  And graver men
  From labours;
  And maids who spin
  And catch perchance
  With smile and glance
  Their neighbours;
  The dame is there, and reverend sire,
  And children clustering round the fire.

  They quaff their ale,
  Their pipes they fill,
  And he, who has skill
  In numbers,
  Prolongs the tale;
  The wheel goes round
  With a drowsy sound
  And slumbers.
  The humming stoup goes round and round,
  Till their heads go round, as the wheel goes round;
  And sleep and silence go their round.
  And the Fairy Summer underground
  Blooms all night long in
  Sleep till morning,
  Buds and blossoms, without a sound.

                                         _Anonymous_


THE END



SUBJECT INDEX FOR STORY-TELLERS



SUBJECT INDEX FOR STORY-TELLERS


  ANIMAL FRIENDS: Judy and the Fairy Cat, 103;
    Kintaro, 161;
    Little Tiny, 319.


  BEARS: Kintaro, 161.

  BIRDS: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Kintaro, 161;
    Little Tiny, 319;
    Shining Child, 361.

  BOGGARTS: The Boggart, 105.

  BOTTLE IMPS: Legend of Bottle Hill, 44.

  BROTHERS AND SISTERS: Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Immortal Fountain, 337;
    Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400;
    Shining Child, 361;
    The Pixies, 138.

  BROWNIES: Brownie of Blednoch, 142;
    Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400.


  CAMELIAS: Flower Fairies, 166.

  CATS: Judy and the Fairy Cat, 103.

  CAVES: Echo the Cave Fairy, 179;
    Knockers’ Diamonds, 77.

  CHRISTMAS: Elsa and the Ten Elves, 145;
    Old Winter’s Fairyland, 418;
    One-Eyed Prying Joan’s Tale, 121.

  CLOVER: The Four-Leaved Clover, 171.

  CONSCIENCE: Timothy Tuttle and the Little Imps, 290.

  CORAL: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Isles of the Sea Fairies, 182.

  COURAGEOUS ADVENTURES: Brown Dwarf, 53;
    Milk-White Calf, 20;
    Sleeping Beauty, 231;
    The Smith and the Fairies, 194.

  COWS: Curmudgeon’s Skin, 97;
    Legend of Bottle Hill, 44;
    Milk-White Calf, 20;
    The Four-Leaved Clover, 171.

  CROCKS OF GOLD. _See_ TREASURE STORIES.

  CRUELTY: Bad Boy and the Leprechaun, 70;
    Prince Chéri, 239.

  CURIOSITY: Curmudgeon’s Skin, 97;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    One-Eyed Prying Joan’s Tale, 121;
    Piskey Fine! 149.


  DANCES OF FAIRIES. _See_ FAIRY RINGS.

  DEER: Kintaro, 161.

  DIAMONDS: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Knockers’ Diamonds, 77;
    Toads and Diamonds, 254.

  DISOBEDIENCE. _See_ OBEDIENCE AND DISOBEDIENCE.

  DOGS: Fairy’s Servants, 133.

  DUTY: Elsa and the Ten Elves, 145;
    Fairy’s Servants, 133;
    Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400;
    The Pixies, 138.


  ECHO: Echo the Cave Fairy, 179.

  ELFINLAND. _See_ FAIRYLAND.


  FAIRY CHILDREN: Coal-Black Steed, 198;
    Little Niebla, 312;
    Little Tiny, 319;
    Magic Ferns, 189;
    Ownself, 107;
    Skillywidden, 79;
    The Tomts, 155.

  FAIRY GOLD. _See_ TREASURE STORIES.

  FAIRYLAND: At the Court of Fairyland, 209;
    Coal-Black Steed, 198;
    But we that Live in Fairyland, 188;
    Elidore, 206;
    Fairy’s Servants, 133;
    Girl who Danced with the Fairies, 203;
    Girl who was Stolen by the Fairies, 201;
    Magic Ferns, 189;
    Shining Child, 361;
    Old Winter’s Fairyland, 418.

  FAIRY RINGS: Adventures of Robin Goodfellow, 9;
    Dance of the Fairies, 32;
    Girl who Danced with the Fairies, 203;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    In the Glowing Light of a Summer Sky, 8;
    Milk-White Calf, 20;
    Potato Supper, 15;
    Wood-Lady, 26.

  FARM STORIES: Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Brownie of Blednoch, 142;
    Elsa and the Ten Elves, 145;
    Old Winter’s Fairyland, 418;
    Piskey Fine! 149;
    The Four-Leaved Clover, 171;
    The Tomts, 155.

  FERNS: Magic Ferns, 189.

  FIELD MICE: Little Tiny, 319.

  FISH: How Kahukura Learned to Make Nets, 176;
    Potato Supper, 15.

  FLIES: Shining Child, 361.

  FLOWERS: Fairy Island, 169;
    Flower Fairies, 166;
    Little Tiny, 319;
    One-Eyed Prying Joan’s Tale, 121;
    Shining Child, 361.

  FORESTS. _See_ WOODS AND FORESTS.

  FOXES: Little Niebla, 312.

  FRIENDS AND HELPERS: At the Court of Fairyland, 209;
    Brownie of Blednoch, 142;
    Elsa and the Ten Elves, 145;
    Fairy Wedding, 151;
    Gillie Dhu, 174;
    Piskey Fine! 149;
    Shining Child, 361;
    Sick-Bed Elves, 109;
    The Pixies, 138;
    The Tomts, 155.


  GENEROUS AND UNGENEROUS: Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Tom and the Knockers, 73.

  GLASS SLIPPERS: Cinderella, 221.

  GNOMES: Shining Child, 361.

  GOBLINS: Greedy Old Man, 39.

  GOURMANDIZING: Fairy Do-Nothing, 281.

  GRAINS: Song of the Elfin Miller, 157;
    The Tomts, 155.

  GREED. _See_ SELFISHNESS AND GREED.


  HALLOWE’EN: Girl who Danced with the Fairies, 203;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    Judy and the Fairy Cat, 103;
    Milk-White Calf, 20.

  HILL STORIES: Brown Dwarf, 53;
    Elidore, 206;
    Greedy Old Man, 39;
    Legend of Bottle Hill, 44;
    Milk-White Calf, 20;
    Monday! Tuesday! 35;
    The Smith and the Fairies, 194;
    ’Tis the Midnight Hour, 34.

  HORSES: Coal-Black Steed, 198.

  HOSPITALITY: Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Childe Charity, 348.

  HUMOROUS STORIES: Curmudgeon’s Skin, 97;
    Fairy’s Servants, 133;
    Little Redcap, 91;
    Milk-White Calf, 20;
    Monday! Tuesday! 35;
    Ownself, 107;
    The Boggart, 105;
    The Ragweed, 66.


  IMPOLITENESS. _See_ POLITENESS AND IMPOLITENESS.

  IMPS: Coal-Black Steed, 198;
    Timothy Tuttle and the Little Imps, 290.

  INDUSTRY: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Elsa and the Ten Elves, 145.


  KELPIES: Come! Come! 3.

  KINDNESS AND GOODNESS: Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Childe Charity, 348;
    Cinderella, 221;
    Fairy Wedding, 151;
    Immortal Fountain, 337;
    Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400;
    Toads and Diamonds, 254.

  KING OF THE FAIRIES: Adventures of Robin Goodfellow, 9;
    At the Court of Fairyland, 209;
    Come! Come! 3;
    Elidore, 206;
    Magic Ferns, 189.

  KNOCKERS: Come! Come! 3;
    Knockers’ Diamonds, 77;
    Tom and the Knockers, 73.


  LAZINESS: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Elsa and the Ten Elves, 145;
    Fairy Do-Nothing, 281;
    The Pixies, 138.

  LEPRECHAUNS: Bad Boy and the Leprechaun, 70;
    Boy who Found the Pots of Gold, 63;
    Come! Come! 3;
    The Leprechaun, 84;
    The Ragweed, 66.


  MAB. _See_ QUEEN OF THE FAIRIES.

  MAGIC GIFTS: Enchanted Watch, 264;
    Legend of Bottle Hill, 44;
    Little Redcap, 91;
    Prince Chéri, 239;
    Toads and Diamonds, 254;
    Wood-Lady, 26.

  MAY DAY: Flower Fairies, 166;
    Girl who Danced with the Fairies, 203;
    Kintaro, 161;
    The Four-Leaved Clover, 171.

  MICE: Little Tiny, 319.

  MIDSUMMER DAY: Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400.

  MINES AND MINERS: Knockers’ Diamonds, 77;
    Tom and the Knockers, 73.

  MOLES: Little Tiny, 319.


  NAUGHTINESS: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Fairy Do-Nothing, 281.


  OBEDIENCE AND DISOBEDIENCE: Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400;
    Skillywidden, 79;
    Wood-Lady, 26.

  OBERON. _See_ KING OF THE FAIRIES.

  OINTMENT, FAIRY: Coal-Black Steed, 198;
    One-Eyed Prying Joan’s Tale, 121.


  PEONIES: Flower Fairies, 166.

  PERSEVERANCE: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Immortal Fountain, 337.

  PISKEYS: Come! Come! 3;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    Piskey Fine! 149.

  PIXIES: The Pixies, 138.

  POLITENESS AND IMPOLITENESS: Monday! Tuesday! 35;
    The Tomts, 155;
    Toads and Diamonds, 254;
    Tom and the Knockers, 73.

  POTATOES: Potato Supper, 15.

  POTS OF GOLD. _See_ TREASURE STORIES.

  PROMPTNESS: Enchanted Watch, 264.

  PRYING: How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    One-Eyed Prying Joan’s Tale, 121.


  QUEEN OF THE FAIRIES: At the Court of Fairyland, 209;
    Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Come! Come! 3;
    Dance of the Fairies, 32;
    Immortal Fountain, 337;
    Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400;
    Milk-White Calf, 20;
    Queen Mab, 276;
    Shining Child, 361.


  RAGWEEDS: The Ragweed, 66.

  REDCAPS: Curmudgeon’s Skin, 97;
    Little Redcap, 91;
    The Fairy Folk, 128.

  RETRIBUTION: Bad Boy and the Leprechaun, 70;
    Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Coal-Black Steed, 198;
    Elidore, 206;
    Enchanted Watch, 264;
    Fairy Do-Nothing, 281;
    Fairy Island, 169;
    Greedy Old Man, 39;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    One-eyed Prying Joan’s Tale, 121;
    Prince Chéri, 239;
    The Pixies, 138;
    Toads and Diamonds, 254;
    Tom and the Knockers, 73.

  REWARDS OF GOODNESS: Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Childe Charity, 348;
    Fairy’s Servants, 133;
    Immortal Fountain, 337;
    Judy and the Fairy Cat, 103;
    Knockers’ Diamonds, 77;
    Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400;
    The Pixies, 138;
    Toads and Diamonds, 254.

  ROBIN GOODFELLOW: Adventures of Robin Goodfellow, 9;
    At the Court of Fairyland, 209;
    Their Dwellings be, 132.


  SALMON: Potato Supper, 15.

  SEA FAIRIES. _See_ WATER FAIRIES.

  SELFISHNESS: Bad Boy and the Leprechaun, 70;
    Blanche and Rose, 258;
    Enchanted Watch, 264;
    Fairy Do-Nothing, 281;
    Greedy Old Man, 39;
    Timothy Tuttle, 290;
    Tom and the Knockers, 73.

  SHAMROCKS: Curmudgeon’s Skin, 97.

  SHOEMAKERS. _See_ LEPRECHAUNS.

  SPRIGGANS: Come! Come! 3;
    Greedy Old Man, 39;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    One-Eyed Prying Joan’s Tale, 121;
    Skillywidden, 79.

  SPRINGS AND WELLS: Girl who Danced with the Fairies, 203;
    Immortal Fountain, 337;
    Mabel on Midsummer Day, 400.

  STEALING: Elidore, 206;
    Fairy Island, 169;
    Greedy Old Man, 39;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111.

  SWALLOWS: Little Tiny, 319.


  TARDINESS: Enchanted Watch, 264.

  TENGUS: Kintaro, 161.

  THRESHING: Brownie of Blednoch, 142;
    How Peeping Kate was Piskey-Led, 111;
    Piskey Fine! 149;
    The Tomts, 155.

  THRIFT: Elsa and the Ten Elves, 145.

  TIN MINES: Knockers’ Diamonds, 77;
    Tom and the Knockers, 73.

  TOADS: Little Tiny, 319;
    Toads and Diamonds, 254.

  TOM THUMB: Adventures of Robin Goodfellow, 9.

  TOMTS: Fairy Wedding, 151;
    The Tomts, 155.

  TREASURE STORIES: And will you Come Away? 62;
    Bad Boy and the Leprechaun, 70;
    Boy who Found the Pots of Gold, 63;
    Elidore, 206;
    Greedy Old Man, 39;
    Skillywidden, 79;
    The Leprechaun, 84;
    The Ragweed, 66.

  TREES: Shining Child, 361.

  TYRANNY: Prince Chéri, 239.


  UNGENEROUS. _See_ GENEROUS AND UNGENEROUS.


  WAGES, FAIRY: Adventures of Robin Goodfellow, 9;
    Brownie of Blednoch, 142;
    Fairy’s Servants, 133;
    Piskey Fine! 149;
    The Fairies’ Passage, 413.

  WATER FAIRIES: Butterfly’s Diamond, 304;
    Come! Come! 3;
    Fairy Island, 169;
    How Kahukura Learned to Make Nets, 176;
    Isles of the Sea Fairies, 182;
    Little Niebla, 312.

  WINTER: Little Tiny, 319;
    Old Winter’s Fairyland, 418.

  WOODS AND FORESTS: Gillie Dhu, 174;
    Kintaro, 161;
    Shining Child, 361;
    Sleeping Beauty, 231;
    Wood-Lady, 26.


The Riverside Press

CAMBRIDGE . MASSACHUSETTS

U . S . A



TRANSCRIBER’S NOTES:


    Text in italics is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

    Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

    Inconsistencies in hyphenation have been standardized.

    This eBook is dedicated to the memory of Emmy Miller, beloved
      volunteer, mentor, and friend.





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