Part 2 - English Fairy Tales Audiobook by Joseph Jacobs (Chs 18-31)

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English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 18: The Story of rhe Three Bears
Once upon a time there were Three Bears, who lived together in a house of their own,
in a wood.
One of them was a Little, Small Wee Bear; and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and the
other was a Great, Huge Bear.
They had each a pot for their porridge, a little pot for the Little, Small, Wee Bear;
and a middle-sized pot for the Middle Bear, and a great pot for the Great, Huge Bear.
And they had each a chair to sit in; a little chair for the Little, Small, Wee
Bear; and a middle-sized chair for the Middle Bear; and a great chair for the
Great, Huge Bear.
And they had each a bed to sleep in; a little bed for the Little, Small, Wee Bear;
and a middle-sized bed for the Middle Bear; and a great bed for the Great, Huge Bear.
One day, after they had made the porridge for their breakfast, and poured it into
their porridge-pots, they walked out into the wood while the porridge was cooling,
that they might not burn their mouths, by beginning too soon to eat it.
And while they were walking, a little old Woman came to the house.
She could not have been a good, honest old Woman; for first she looked in at the
window, and then she peeped in at the keyhole; and seeing nobody in the house,
she lifted the latch.
The door was not fastened, because the Bears were good Bears, who did nobody any
harm, and never suspected that anybody would harm them.
So the little old Woman opened the door, and went in; and well pleased she was when
she saw the porridge on the table.
If she had been a good little old Woman, she would have waited till the Bears came
home, and then, perhaps, they would have asked her to breakfast; for they were good
Bears--a little rough or so, as the manner
of Bears is, but for all that very good- natured and hospitable.
But she was an impudent, bad old Woman, and set about helping herself.
So first she tasted the porridge of the Great, Huge Bear, and that was too hot for
her; and she said a bad word about that.
And then she tasted the porridge of the Middle Bear, and that was too cold for her;
and she said a bad word about that too.
And then she went to the porridge of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and tasted that;
and that was neither too hot, nor too cold, but just right; and she liked it so well,
that she ate it all up: but the naughty old
Woman said a bad word about the little porridge-pot, because it did not hold
enough for her.
Then the little old Woman sate down in the chair of the Great, Huge Bear, and that was
too hard for her. And then she sate down in the chair of the
Middle Bear, and that was too soft for her.
And then she sate down in the chair of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, and that was
neither too hard, nor too soft, but just right.
So she seated herself in it, and there she sate till the bottom of the chair came out,
and down she came, plump upon the ground. And the naughty old Woman said a wicked
word about that too.
Then the little old Woman went upstairs into the bed-chamber in which the three
Bears slept.
And first she lay down upon the bed of the Great, Huge Bear; but that was too high at
the head for her.
And next she lay down upon the bed of the Middle Bear; and that was too high at the
foot for her.
And then she lay down upon the bed of the Little, Small, Wee Bear; and that was
neither too high at the head, nor at the foot, but just right.
So she covered herself up comfortably, and lay there till she fell fast asleep.
By this time the Three Bears thought their porridge would be cool enough; so they came
home to breakfast.
Now the little old Woman had left the spoon of the Great, Huge Bear, standing in his
"Somebody has been at my porridge!" said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough,
gruff voice. And when the Middle Bear looked at his, he
saw that the spoon was standing in it too.
They were wooden spoons; if they had been silver ones, the naughty old Woman would
have put them in her pocket. "Somebody has been at my porridge!" said
the Middle Bear in his middle voice.
Then the Little, Small, Wee Bear looked at his, and there was the spoon in the
porridge-pot, but the porridge was all gone.
"Somebody has been at my porridge, and has eaten it all up!" said the Little, Small,
Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
Upon this the Three Bears, seeing that some one had entered their house, and eaten up
the Little, Small, Wee Bear's breakfast, began to look about them.
Now the little old Woman had not put the hard cushion straight when she rose from
the chair of the Great, Huge Bear.
"Somebody has been sitting in my chair!" said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great,
rough, gruff voice. And the little old Woman had squatted down
the soft cushion of the Middle Bear.
"Somebody has been sitting in my chair!" said the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.
And you know what the little old Woman had done to the third chair.
"Somebody has been sitting in my chair and has sate the bottom out of it!" said the
Little, Small, Wee Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
Then the Three Bears thought it necessary that they should make farther search; so
they went upstairs into their bedchamber.
Now the little old Woman had pulled the pillow of the Great, Huge Bear, out of its
"Somebody has been lying in my bed!" said the Great, Huge Bear, in his great, rough,
gruff voice.
And the little old Woman had pulled the bolster of the Middle Bear out of its
place. "Somebody has been lying in my bed!" said
the Middle Bear, in his middle voice.
And when the Little, Small, Wee Bear came to look at his bed, there was the bolster
in its place; and the pillow in its place upon the bolster; and upon the pillow was
the little old Woman's ugly, dirty head,--
which was not in its place, for she had no business there.
"Somebody has been lying in my bed,--and here she is!" said the Little, Small, Wee
Bear, in his little, small, wee voice.
The little old Woman had heard in her sleep the great, rough, gruff voice of the Great,
Huge Bear; but she was so fast asleep that it was no more to her than the roaring of
wind, or the rumbling of thunder.
And she had heard the middle voice, of the Middle Bear, but it was only as if she had
heard some one speaking in a dream.
But when she heard the little, small, wee voice of the Little, Small, Wee Bear, it
was so sharp, and so shrill, that it awakened her at once.
Up she started; and when she saw the Three Bears on one side of the bed, she tumbled
herself out at the other, and ran to the window.
Now the window was open, because the Bears, like good, tidy Bears, as they were, always
opened their bedchamber window when they got up in the morning.
Out the little old Woman jumped; and whether she broke her neck in the fall; or
ran into the wood and was lost there; or found her way out of the wood, and was
taken up by the constable and sent to the
House of Correction for a vagrant as she was, I cannot tell.
But the Three Bears never saw anything more of her.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 19: Jack the Giant-Killer
When good King Arthur reigned, there lived near the Land's End of England, in the
county of Cornwall, a farmer who had one only son called Jack.
He was brisk and of a ready lively wit, so that nobody or nothing could worst him.
In those days the Mount of Cornwall was kept by a huge giant named Cormoran.
He was eighteen feet in height, and about three yards round the waist, of a fierce
and grim countenance, the terror of all the neighbouring towns and villages.
He lived in a cave in the midst of the Mount, and whenever he wanted food he would
wade over to the main- land, where he would furnish himself with whatever came in his
Everybody at his approach ran out of their houses, while he seized on their cattle,
making nothing of carrying half-a-dozen oxen on his back at a time; and as for
their sheep and hogs, he would tie them
round his waist like a bunch of tallow- dips.
He had done this for many years, so that all Cornwall was in despair.
One day Jack happened to be at the town- hall when the magistrates were sitting in
council about the Giant. He asked: "What reward will be given to the
man who kills Cormoran?"
"The giant's treasure," they said, "will be the reward."
Quoth Jack: "Then let me undertake it."
So he got a horn, shovel, and pickaxe, and went over to the Mount in the beginning of
a dark winter's evening, when he fell to work, and before morning had dug a pit
twenty-two feet deep, and nearly as broad,
covering it over with long sticks and straw.
Then he strewed a little mould over it, so that it appeared like plain ground.
Jack then placed himself on the opposite side of the pit, farthest from the giant's
lodging, and, just at the break of day, he put the horn to his mouth, and blew,
Tantivy, Tantivy.
This noise roused the giant, who rushed from his cave, crying: "You incorrigible
villain, are you come here to disturb my rest?
You shall pay dearly for this.
Satisfaction I will have, and this it shall be, I will take you whole and broil you for
He had no sooner uttered this, than he tumbled into the pit, and made the very
foundations of the Mount to shake. "Oh, Giant," quoth Jack, "where are you
Oh, faith, you are gotten now into Lob's Pound, where I will surely plague you for
your threatening words: what do you think now of broiling me for your breakfast?
Will no other diet serve you but poor Jack?"
Then having tantalised the giant for a while, he gave him a most weighty knock
with his pickaxe on the very crown of his head, and killed him on the spot.
Jack then filled up the pit with earth, and went to search the cave, which he found
contained much treasure.
When the magistrates heard of this they made a declaration he should henceforth be
"JACK THE GIANT-KILLER" and presented him with a sword and a belt, on which were
written these words embroidered in letters of gold:
"Here's the right valiant Cornish man, Who slew the giant Cormoran."
The news of Jack's victory soon spread over all the West of England, so that another
giant, named Blunderbore, hearing of it, vowed to be revenged on Jack, if ever he
should light on him.
This giant was the lord of an enchanted castle situated in the midst of a lonesome
Now Jack, about four months afterwards, walking near this wood in his journey to
Wales, being weary, seated himself near a pleasant fountain and fell fast asleep.
While he was sleeping, the giant, coming there for water, discovered him, and knew
him to be the far-famed Jack the Giant- killer by the lines written on the belt.
Without ado, he took Jack on his shoulders and carried him towards his castle.
Now, as they passed through a thicket, the rustling of the boughs awakened Jack, who
was strangely surprised to find himself in the clutches of the giant.
His terror was only begun, for, on entering the castle, he saw the ground strewed with
human bones, and the giant told him his own would ere long be among them.
After this the giant locked poor Jack in an immense chamber, leaving him there while he
went to fetch another giant, his brother, living in the same wood, who might share in
the meal on Jack.
After waiting some time Jack, on going to the window beheld afar off the two giants
coming towards the castle. "Now," quoth Jack to himself, "my death or
my deliverance is at hand."
Now, there were strong cords in a corner of the room in which Jack was, and two of
these he took, and made a strong noose at the end; and while the giants were
unlocking the iron gate of the castle he threw the ropes over each of their heads.
Then he drew the other ends across a beam, and pulled with all his might, so that he
throttled them.
Then, when he saw they were black in the face, he slid down the rope, and drawing
his sword, slew them both.
Then, taking the giant's keys, and unlocking the rooms, he found three fair
ladies tied by the hair of their heads, almost starved to death.
"Sweet ladies," quoth Jack, "I have destroyed this monster and his brutish
brother, and obtained your liberties." This said he presented them with the keys,
and so proceeded on his journey to Wales.
Jack made the best of his way by travelling as fast as he could, but lost his road, and
was benighted, and could find any habitation until, coming into a narrow
valley, he found a large house, and in
order to get shelter took courage to knock at the gate.
But what was his surprise when there came forth a monstrous giant with two heads; yet
he did not appear so fiery as the others were, for he was a Welsh giant, and what he
did was by private and secret malice under the false show of friendship.
Jack, having told his condition to the giant, was shown into a bedroom, where, in
the dead of night, he heard his host in another apartment muttering these words:
"Though here you lodge with me this night, You shall not see the morning light
My club shall dash your brains outright!"
"Say'st thou so," quoth Jack; "that is like one of your Welsh tricks, yet I hope to be
cunning enough for you."
Then, getting out of bed, he laid a billet in the bed in his stead, and hid himself in
a corner of the room.
At the dead time of the night in came the Welsh giant, who struck several heavy blows
on the bed with his club, thinking he had broken every bone in Jack's skin.
The next morning Jack, laughing in his sleeve, gave him hearty thanks for his
night's lodging. "How have you rested?" quoth the giant;
"did you not feel anything in the night?"
"No," quoth Jack, "nothing but a rat, which gave me two or three slaps with her tail."
With that, greatly wondering, the giant led Jack to breakfast, bringing him a bowl
containing four gallons of hasty pudding.
Being loth to let the giant think it too much for him, Jack put a large leather bag
under his loose coat, in such a way that he could convey the pudding into it without
its being perceived.
Then, telling the giant he would show him a trick, taking a knife, Jack ripped open the
bag, and out came all the hasty pudding.
Whereupon, saying, "Odds splutters hur nails, hur can do that trick hurself," the
monster took the knife, and ripping open his belly, fell down dead.
Now, it happened in these days that King Arthur's only son asked his father to give
him a large sum of money, in order that he might go and seek his fortune in the
principality of Wales, where lived a
beautiful lady possessed with seven evil spirits.
The king did his best to persuade his son from it, but in vain; so at last gave way
and the prince set out with two horses, one loaded with money, the other for himself to
ride upon.
Now, after several days' travel, he came to a market-town in Wales, where he beheld a
vast crowd of people gathered together.
The prince asked the reason of it, and was told that they had arrested a corpse for
several large sums of money which the deceased owed when he died.
The prince replied that it was a pity creditors should be so cruel, and said: "Go
bury the dead, and let his creditors come to my lodging, and there their debts shall
be paid."
They came, in such great numbers that before night he had only twopence left for
Now Jack the Giant-Killer, coming that way, was so taken with the generosity of the
prince, that he desired to be his servant.
This being agreed upon, the next morning they set forward on their journey together,
when, as they were riding out of the town, an old woman called after the prince,
saying, "He has owed me twopence these
seven years; pray pay me as well as the rest."
Putting his hand to his pocket, the prince gave the woman all he had left, so that
after their day's food, which cost what small spell Jack had by him, they were
without a penny between them.
When the sun got low, the king's son said: "Jack, since we have no money, where can we
lodge this night?"
But Jack replied: "Master, we'll do well enough, for I have an uncle lives within
two miles of this place; he is a huge and monstrous giant with three heads; he'll
fight five hundred men in armour, and make them to fly before him."
"Alas!" quoth the prince, "what shall we do there?
He'll certainly chop us up at a mouthful.
Nay, we are scarce enough to fill one of his hollow teeth!"
"It is no matter for that," quoth Jack; "I myself will go before and prepare the way
for you; therefore stop here and wait till I return."
Jack then rode away at full speed, and coming to the gate of the castle, he
knocked so loud that he made the neighbouring hills resound.
The giant roared out at this like thunder: "Who's there?"
Jack answered: "None but your poor cousin Jack."
Quoth he: "What news with my poor cousin Jack?"
He replied: "Dear uncle, heavy news, God wot!"
"Prithee," quoth the giant, "what heavy news can come to me?
I am a giant with three heads, and besides thou knowest I can fight five hundred men
in armour, and make them fly like chaff before the wind."
"Oh, but," quoth Jack, "here's the king's son a-coming with a thousand men in armour
to kill you and destroy all that you have!" "Oh, cousin Jack," said the giant, "this is
heavy news indeed!
I will immediately run and hide myself, and thou shalt lock, bolt, and bar me in, and
keep the keys until the prince is gone."
Having secured the giant, Jack fetched his master, when they made themselves heartily
merry whilst the poor giant lay trembling in a vault under the ground.
Early in the morning Jack furnished his master with a fresh supply of gold and
silver, and then sent him three miles forward on his journey, at which time the
prince was pretty well out of the smell of the giant.
Jack then returned, and let the giant out of the vault, who asked what he should give
him for keeping the castle from destruction.
"Why," quoth Jack, "I want nothing but the old coat and cap, together with the old
rusty sword and slippers which are at your bed's head."
Quoth the giant: "You know not what you ask; they are the most precious things I
The coat will keep you invisible, the cap will tell you all you want to know, the
sword cuts asunder whatever you strike, and the shoes are of extraordinary swiftness.
But you have been very serviceable to me, therefore take them with all my heart."
Jack thanked his uncle, and then went off with them.
He soon overtook his master and they quickly arrived at the house of the lady
the prince sought, who, finding the prince to be a suitor, prepared a splendid banquet
for him.
After the repast was concluded, she told him she had a task for him.
She wiped his mouth with a handkerchief, saying: "You must show me that handkerchief
to-morrow morning, or else you will lose your head."
With that she put it in her bosom.
The prince went to bed in great sorrow, but Jack's cap of knowledge informed him how it
was to be obtained.
In the middle of the night she called upon her familiar spirit to carry her to
But Jack put on his coat of darkness and his shoes of swiftness, and was there as
soon as she was.
When she entered the place of the Old One, she gave the handkerchief to old Lucifer,
who laid it upon a shelf, whence Jack took it and brought it to his master, who showed
it to the lady next day, and so saved his life.
On that day, she gave the prince a kiss and told him he must show her the lips to-
morrow morning that she kissed last night, or lose his head.
"Ah!" he replied, "if you kiss none but mine, I will."
"That is neither here nor there," said she; "if you do not, death's your portion!"
At midnight she went as before, and was angry with old Lucifer for letting the
handkerchief go.
"But now," quoth she, "I will be too hard for the king's son, for I will kiss thee,
and he is to show me thy lips."
Which she did, and Jack, when she was not standing by, cut off Lucifer's head and
brought it under his invisible coat to his master, who the next morning pulled it out
by the horns before the lady.
This broke the enchantment and the evil spirit left her, and she appeared in all
her beauty.
They were married the next morning, and soon after went to the court of King
Arthur, where Jack for his many great exploits, was made one of the Knights of
the Round Table.
Jack soon went searching for giants again, but he had not ridden far, when he saw a
cave, near the entrance of which he beheld a giant sitting upon a block of timber,
with a knotted iron club by his side.
His goggle eyes were like flames of fire, his countenance grim and ugly, and his
cheeks like a couple of large flitches of bacon, while the bristles of his beard
resembled rods of iron wire, and the locks
that hung down upon his brawny shoulders were like curled snakes or hissing adders.
Jack alighted from his horse, and, putting on the coat of darkness, went up close to
the giant, and said softly: "Oh! are you there?
It will not be long before I take you fast by the beard."
The giant all this while could not see him, on account of his invisible coat, so that
Jack, coming up close to the monster, struck a blow with his sword at his head,
but, missing his aim, he cut off the nose instead.
At this, the giant roared like claps of thunder, and began to lay about him with
his iron club like one stark mad.
But Jack, running behind, drove his sword up to the hilt in the giant's back, so that
he fell down dead.
This done, Jack cut off the giant's head, and sent it, with his brother's also, to
King Arthur, by a waggoner he hired for that purpose.
Jack now resolved to enter the giant's cave in search of his treasure, and, passing
along through a great many windings and turnings, he came at length to a large room
paved with freestone, at the upper end of
which was a boiling caldron, and on the right hand a large table, at which the
giant used to dine.
Then he came to a window, barred with iron, through which he looked and beheld a vast
number of miserable captives, who, seeing him, cried out: "Alas! young man, art thou
come to be one amongst us in this miserable den?"
"Ay," quoth Jack, "but pray tell me what is the meaning of your captivity?"
"We are kept here," said one, "till such time as the giants have a wish to feast,
and then the fattest among us is slaughtered!
And many are the times they have dined upon murdered men!"
"Say you so," quoth Jack, and straightway unlocked the gate and let them free, who
all rejoiced like condemned men at sight of a pardon.
Then searching the giant's coffers, he shared the gold and silver equally amongst
them and took them to a neighbouring castle, where they all feasted and made
merry over their deliverance.
But in the midst of all this mirth a messenger brought news that one
Thunderdell, a giant with two heads, having heard of the death of his kinsmen, had come
from the northern dales to be revenged on
Jack, and was within a mile of the castle, the country people flying before him like
chaff. But Jack was not a bit daunted, and said:
"Let him come!
I have a tool to pick his teeth; and you, ladies and gentlemen, walk out into the
garden, and you shall witness this giant Thunderdell's death and destruction."
The castle was situated in the midst of a small island surrounded by a moat thirty
feet deep and twenty feet wide, over which lay a drawbridge.
So Jack employed men to cut through this bridge on both sides, nearly to the middle;
and then, dressing himself in his invisible coat, he marched against the giant with his
sword of sharpness.
Although the giant could not see Jack, he smelt his approach, and cried out in these
"Fee, fi, fo, fum! I smell the blood of an Englishman!
Be he alive or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to make me bread!"
"Say'st thou so," said Jack; "then thou art a monstrous miller indeed."
The giant cried out again: "Art thou that villain who killed my kinsmen?
Then I will tear thee with my teeth, suck thy blood, and grind thy bones to powder."
"You'll have to catch me first," quoth Jack, and throwing off his invisible coat,
so that the giant might see him, and putting on his shoes of swiftness, he ran
from the giant, who followed like a walking
castle, so that the very foundations of the earth seemed to shake at every step.
Jack led him a long dance, in order that the gentlemen and ladies might see; and at
last to end the matter, ran lightly over the drawbridge, the giant, in full speed,
pursuing him with his club.
Then, coming to the middle of the bridge, the giant's great weight broke it down, and
he tumbled headlong into the water, where he rolled and wallowed like a whale.
Jack, standing by the moat, laughed at him all the while; but though the giant foamed
to hear him scoff, and plunged from place to place in the moat, yet he could not get
out to be revenged.
Jack at length got a cart-rope and cast it over the two heads of the giant, and drew
him ashore by a team of horses, and then cut off both his heads with his sword of
sharpness, and sent them to King Arthur.
After some time spent in mirth and pastime, Jack, taking leave of the knights and
ladies, set out for new adventures. Through many woods he passed, and came at
length to the foot of a high mountain.
Here, late at night, he found a lonesome house, and knocked at the door, which was
opened by an aged man with a head as white as snow.
"Father," said Jack, "can you lodge a benighted traveller that has lost his way?"
"Yes," said the old man; "you are right welcome to my poor cottage."
Whereupon Jack entered, and down they sat together, and the old man began to speak as
follows: "Son, I see by your belt you are the great conqueror of giants, and behold,
my son, on the top of this mountain is an
enchanted castle, this is kept by a giant named Galligantua, and he by the help of an
old conjurer, betrays many knights and ladies into his castle, where by magic art
they are transformed into sundry shapes and forms.
But above all, I grieve for a duke's daughter, whom they fetched from her
father's garden, carrying her through the air in a burning chariot drawn by fiery
dragons, when they secured her within the
castle, and transformed her into a white hind.
And though many knights have tried to break the enchantment, and work her deliverance,
yet no one could accomplish it, on account of two dreadful griffins which are placed
at the castle gate and which destroy every one who comes near.
But you, my son, may pass by them undiscovered, where on the gates of the
castle you will find engraven in large letters how the spell may be broken."
Jack gave the old man his hand, and promised that in the morning he would
venture his life to free the lady.
In the morning Jack arose and put on his invisible coat and magic cap and shoes, and
prepared himself for the fray.
Now, when he had reached the top of the mountain he soon discovered the two fiery
griffins, but passed them without fear, because of his invisible coat.
When he had got beyond them, he found upon the gates of the castle a golden trumpet
hung by a silver chain, under which these lines were engraved:
"Whoever shall this trumpet blow, Shall soon the giant overthrow,
And break the black enchantment straight; So all shall be in happy state."
Jack had no sooner read this but he blew the trumpet, at which the castle trembled
to its vast foundations, and the giant and conjurer were in horrid confusion, biting
their thumbs and tearing their hair, knowing their wicked reign was at an end.
Then the giant stooping to take up his club, Jack at one blow cut off his head;
whereupon the conjurer, mounting up into the air, was carried away in a whirlwind.
Then the enchantment was broken, and all the lords and ladies who had so long been
transformed into birds and beasts returned to their proper shapes, and the castle
vanished away in a cloud of smoke.
This being done, the head of Galligantua was likewise, in the usual manner, conveyed
to the Court of King Arthur, where, the very next day, Jack followed, with the
knights and ladies who had been delivered.
Whereupon, as a reward for his good services, the king prevailed upon the duke
to bestow his daughter in marriage on honest Jack.
So married they were, and the whole kingdom was filled with joy at the wedding.
Furthermore, the king bestowed on Jack a noble castle, with a very beautiful estate
thereto belonging, where he and his lady lived in great joy and happiness all the
rest of their days.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 20: Henny-Penny
One day Henny-penny was picking up corn in the cornyard when--whack!-- something hit
her upon the head.
"Goodness gracious me!" said Henny- penny; "the sky's a-going to fall; I must go and
tell the king." So she went along and she went along and
she went along till she met Cocky-locky.
"Where are you going, Henny-penny?" says Cocky-locky.
"Oh! I'm going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," says Henny- penny.
"May I come with you?" says Cocky-locky.
"Certainly," says Henny-penny. So Henny-penny and Cocky-locky went to
tell-the king the sky was falling.
They went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Ducky-
daddles. "Where are you going to, Henny-penny and
Cocky- locky?" says Ducky-daddles.
"Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-penny and Cocky-
locky. "May I come with you?" says Ducky-daddles.
"Certainly," said Henny-penny and Cocky- locky.
So Henny-penny, Cocky-locky and Ducky- daddles went to tell the king the sky was
So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Goosey-
poosey, "Where are you going to, Henny- penny, Cocky- locky and Ducky-daddles?"
said Goosey-poosey.
"Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-penny and Cocky-
locky and Ducky-daddles. "May I come with you," said Goosey-poosey.
"Certainly," said Henny-penny, Cocky-locky and Ducky-daddles.
So Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles and Goosey-poosey went to tell the king the
sky was a-falling.
So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Turkey-
"Where are you going, Henny-penny, Cocky- locky, Ducky-daddles, and Goosey-poosey?"
says Turkey-lurkey.
"Oh! we're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling," said Henny-penny, Cocky-locky,
Ducky-daddles and Goosey-poosey. "May I come with you?
Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles and Goosey-poosey?" said Turkey-lurkey.
"Why, certainly, Turkey-lurkey," said Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles,
and Goosey-poosey.
So Henny-penny, Cocky- locky, Ducky- daddles, Goosey-poosey and Turkey-lurkey
all went to tell the king the sky was a- falling.
So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they met Foxy-
woxy, and Foxy-woxy said to Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey
and Turkey-lurkey: "Where are you going,
Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey- lurkey?"
And Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky- daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey-lurkey
said to Foxy-woxy: "We're going to tell the king the sky's a-falling."
"Oh! but this is not the way to the king, Henny- penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles,
Goosey-poosey and Turkey-lurkey," says Foxy-woxy; "I know the proper way; shall I
show it you?"
"Why certainly, Foxy-woxy," said Henny- penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-
poosey, and Turkey-lurkey.
So Henny-penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky- daddles, Goosey-poosey, Turkey-lurkey, and
Foxy-woxy all went to tell the king the sky was a-falling.
So they went along, and they went along, and they went along, till they came to a
narrow and dark hole. Now this was the door of Foxy-woxy's cave.
But Foxy-woxy said to Henny-penny, Cocky- locky, Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and
Turkey- lurkey: "This is the short way to the king's palace you'll soon get there if
you follow me.
I will go first and you come after, Henny- penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky daddles, Goosey-
poosey, and Turkey-lurkey."
"Why of course, certainly, without doubt, why not?" said Henny-Penny, Cocky-locky,
Ducky-daddles, Goosey-poosey, and Turkey- lurkey.
So Foxy-woxy went into his cave, and he didn't go very far but turned round to wait
for Henny-Penny, Cocky-locky, Ducky- daddles, Goosey- poosey and Turkey-lurkey.
So at last at first Turkey-lurkey went through the dark hole into the cave.
He hadn't got far when "Hrumph," Foxy-woxy snapped off Turkey-lurkey's head and threw
his body over his left shoulder.
Then Goosey-poosey went in, and "Hrumph," off went her head and Goosey-poosey was
thrown beside Turkey-lurkey.
Then Ducky- daddles waddled down, and "Hrumph," snapped Foxy-woxy, and Ducky-
daddles' head was off and Ducky-daddles was thrown alongside Turkey- lurkey and Goosey-
Then Cocky-locky strutted down into the cave and he hadn't gone far when "Snap,
Hrumph!" went Foxy-woxy and Cocky- locky was thrown alongside of Turkey-lurkey,
Goosey-poosey and Ducky- daddles.
But Foxy-woxy had made two bites at Cocky- locky, and when the first snap only hurt
Cocky-locky, but didn't kill him, he called out to Henny-penny.
So she turned tail and ran back home, so she never told the king the sky was a-
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 21: Childe Rowland
Childe Rowland and his brothers twain Were playing at the ball, And there was their
sister Burd Ellen In the midst, among them all.
Childe Rowland kicked it with his foot And caught it with his knee;
At last as he plunged among them all O'er the church he made it flee.
Burd Ellen round about the aisle To seek the ball is gone,
But long they waited, and longer still, And she came not back again.
They sought her east, they sought her west, They sought her up and down,
And woe were the hearts of those brethren,
For she was not to be found.
So at last her eldest brother went to the Warlock Merlin and told him all the case,
and asked him if he knew where Burd Ellen was.
"The fair Burd Ellen," said the Warlock Merlin, "must have been carried off by the
fairies, because she went round the church 'wider shins'--the opposite way to the sun.
She is now in the Dark Tower of the King of Elfland; it would take the boldest knight
in Christendom to bring her back."
"If it is possible to bring her back," said her brother, "I'll do it, or perish in the
"Possible it is," said the Warlock Merlin, "but woe to the man or mother's son that
attempts it, if he is not well taught beforehand what he is to do."
The eldest brother of Burd Ellen was not to be put off, by any fear of danger, from
attempting to get her back, so he begged the Warlock Merlin to tell him what he
should do, and what he should not do, in going to seek his sister.
And after he had been taught, and had repeated his lesson, he set out for
But long they waited, and longer still, With doubt and muckle pain,
But woe were the hearts of his brethren, For he came not back again.
Then the second brother got tired and sick of waiting, and he went to the Warlock
Merlin and asked him the same as his brother.
So he set out to find Burd Ellen.
But long they waited, and longer still, With muckle doubt and pain,
And woe were his mother's and brother's heart,
For he came not back again.
And when they had waited and waited a good long time, Childe Rowland, the youngest of
Burd Ellen's brothers, wished to go, and went to his mother, the good queen, to ask
her to let him go.
But she would not at first, for he was the last of her children she now had, and if he
was lost, all would be lost.
But he begged, and he begged, till at last the good queen let him go, and gave him his
father's good brand that never struck in vain.
And as she girt it round his waist, she said the spell that would give it victory.
So Childe Rowland said good-bye to the good queen, his mother, and went to the cave of
the Warlock Merlin.
"Once more, and but once more," he said to the Warlock, "tell how man or mother's son
may rescue Burd Ellen and her brothers twain."
"Well, my son," said the Warlock Merlin, "there are but two things, simple they may
seem, but hard they are to do. One thing to do, and one thing not to do.
And the thing to do is this: after you have entered the land of Fairy, whoever speaks
to you, till you meet the Burd Ellen, you must out with your father's brand and off
with their head.
And what you've not to do is this: bite no bit, and drink no drop, however hungry or
thirsty you be; drink a drop, or bite a bit, while in Elfland you be and never will
you see Middle Earth again."
So Childe Rowland said the two things over and over again, till he knew them by heart,
and he thanked the Warlock Merlin and went on his way.
And he went along, and along, and along, and still further along, till he came to
the horse-herd of the King of Elfland feeding his horses.
These he knew by their fiery eyes, and knew that he was at last in the land of Fairy.
"Canst thou tell me," said Childe Rowland to the horse-herd, "where the King of
Elfland's Dark Tower is?"
"I cannot tell thee," said the horse-herd, "but go on a little further and thou wilt
come to the cow-herd, and he, maybe, can tell thee."
Then, without a word more, Childe Rowland drew the good brand that never struck in
vain, and off went the horse-herd's head, and Childe Rowland went on further, till he
came to the cow-herd, and asked him the same question.
"I can't tell thee," said he, "but go on a little farther, and thou wilt come to the
hen-wife, and she is sure to know."
Then Childe Rowland out with his good brand, that never struck in vain, and off
went the cow-herd's head.
And he went on a little further, till he came to an old woman in a grey cloak, and
he asked her if she knew where the Dark Tower of the King of Elfland was.
"Go on a, little further," said the hen- wife, "till you come to a round green hill,
surrounded with terrace-rings, from the bottom to the top; go round it three times,
widershins, and each time say:
Open, door! open, door! And let me come in.
and the third time the door will open, and you may go in."
And Childe Rowland was just going on, when he remembered what he had to do; so he out
with the good brand, that never struck in vain, and off went the hen-wife's head.
Then he went on, and on, and on, till he came to the round green hill with the
terrace-rings from top to bottom, and he went round it three times, widershins,
saying each time:
Open, door! open, door! And let me come in.
And the third time the door did open, and he went in, and it closed with a click, and
Childe Rowland was left in the dark. It was not exactly dark, but a kind of
twilight or gloaming.
There were neither windows nor candles, and he could not make out where the twilight
came from, if not through the walls and roof.
These were rough arches made of a transparent rock, incrusted with
sheepsilver and rock spar, and other bright stones.
But though it was rock, the air was quite warm, as it always is in Elfland.
So he went through this passage till at last he came to two wide and high folding-
doors which stood ajar.
And when he opened them, there he saw a most wonderful and glorious sight.
A large and spacious hall, so large that it seemed to be as long, and as broad, as the
green hill itself.
The roof was supported by fine pillars, so large and lofty, that the pillars of a
cathedral were as nothing to them.
They were all of gold and silver, with fretted work, and between them and around
them, wreaths of flowers, composed of what do you think?
Why, of diamonds and emeralds, and all manner of precious stones.
And the very key- stones of the arches had for ornaments clusters of diamonds and
rubies, and pearls, and other precious stones.
And all these arches met in the middle of the roof, and just there, hung by a gold
chain, an immense lamp made out of one big pearl hollowed out and quite transparent.
And in the middle of this was a big, huge carbuncle, which kept spinning round and
round, and this was what gave light by its rays to the whole hall, which seemed as if
the setting sun was shining on it.
The hall was furnished in a manner equally grand, and at one end of it was a glorious
couch of velvet, silk and gold, and there sate Burd Ellen, combing her golden hair
with a silver comb.
And when she saw Childe Rowland she stood up and said:
"God pity ye, poor luckless fool, What have ye here to do?
"Hear ye this, my youngest brother, Why didn't ye bide at home?
Had you a hundred thousand lives Ye couldn't spare any a one.
"But sit ye down; but woe, O, woe, That ever ye were born,
For come the King of Elfland in, Your fortune is forlorn."
Then they sate down together, and Childe Rowland told her all that he had done, and
she told him how their two brothers had reached the Dark Tower, but had been
enchanted by the King of Elfland, and lay there entombed as if dead.
And then after they had talked a little longer Childe Rowland began to feel hungry
from his long travels, and told his sister Burd Ellen how hungry he was and asked for
some food, forgetting all about the Warlock Merlin's warning.
Burd Ellen looked at Childe Rowland sadly, and shook her head, but she was under a
spell, and could not warn him.
So she rose up, and went out, and soon brought back a golden basin full of bread
and milk.
Childe Rowland was just going to raise it to his lips, when he looked at his sister
and remembered why he had come all that way.
So he dashed the bowl to the ground, and said: "Not a sup will I swallow, nor a bit
will I bite, till Burd Ellen is set free."
Just at that moment they heard the noise of some one approaching, and a loud voice was
heard saying:
"Fee, fi, fo, fum, I smell the blood of a Christian man,
Be he dead, be he living, with my brand, I'll dash his brains from his brain-pan."
And then the folding-doors of the hall were burst open, and the King of Elfland rushed
"Strike then, Bogle, if thou darest," shouted out Childe Rowland, and rushed to
meet him with his good brand that never yet did fail.
They fought, and they fought, and they fought, till Childe Rowland beat the King
of Elfland down on to his knees, and caused him to yield and beg for mercy.
"I grant thee mercy," said Childe Rowland, "release my sister from thy spells and
raise my brothers to life, and let us all go free, and thou shalt be spared."
"I agree," said the Elfin King, and rising up he went to a chest from which he took a
phial filled with a blood-red liquor.
With this he anointed the ears, eyelids, nostrils, lips, and finger-tips, of the two
brothers, and they sprang at once into life, and declared that their souls had
been away, but had now returned.
The Elfin king then said some words to Burd Ellen, and she was disenchanted, and they
all four passed out of the hall, through the long passage, and turned their back on
the Dark Tower, never to return again.
And they reached home, and the good queen, their mother, and Burd Ellen never went
round a church widershins again.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 22: Molly Whuppie
Once upon a time there was a man and a wife had too many children, and they could not
get meat for them, so they took the three youngest and left them in a wood.
They travelled and travelled and could see never a house.
It began to be dark, and they were hungry. At last they saw a light and made for it;
it turned out to be a house.
They knocked at the door, and a woman came to it, who said: "What do you want?"
They said: "Please let us in and give us something to eat."
The woman said: "I can't do that, as my man is a giant, and he would kill you if he
comes home." They begged hard.
"Let us stop for a little while," said they, "and we will go away before he
So she took them in, and set them down before the fire, and gave them milk and
bread; but just as they had begun to eat a great knock came to the door, and a
dreadful voice said:
"Fee, fie, fo, fum, I smell the blood of some earthly one.
Who have you there wife?" "Eh," said the wife, "it's three poor
lassies cold and hungry, and they will go away.
Ye won't touch 'em, man."
He said nothing, but ate up a big supper, and ordered them to stay all night.
Now he had three lassies of his own, and they were to sleep in the same bed with the
three strangers.
The youngest of the three strange lassies was called Molly Whuppie, and she was very
She noticed that before they went to bed the giant put straw ropes round her neck
and her sisters', and round his own lassies' necks he put gold chains.
So Molly took care and did not fall asleep, but waited till she was sure every one was
sleeping sound.
Then she slipped out of the bed, and took the straw ropes off her own and her
sisters' necks, and took the gold chains off the giant's lassies.
She then put the straw ropes on the giant's lassies and the gold on herself and her
sisters, and lay down.
And in the middle of the night up rose the giant, armed with a great club, and felt
for the necks with the straw. It was dark.
He took his own lassies out of bed on to the floor, and battered them until they
were dead, and then lay down again, thinking he had managed fine.
Molly thought it time she and her sisters were out of that, so she wakened them and
told them to be quiet, and they slipped out of the house.
They all got out safe, and they ran and ran, and never stopped until morning, when
they saw a grand house before them.
It turned out to be a king's house: so Molly went in, and told her story to the
He said: "Well, Molly, you are a clever girl, and you have managed well; but, if
you would manage better, and go back, and steal the giant's sword that hangs on the
back of his bed, I would give your eldest sister my eldest son to marry."
Molly said she would try.
So she went back, and managed to slip into the giant's house, and crept in below the
bed. The giant came home, and ate up a great
supper, and went to bed.
Molly waited until he was snoring, and she crept out, and reached over the giant and
got down the sword; but just as she got it out over the bed it gave a rattle, and up
jumped the giant, and Molly ran out at the
door and the sword with her; and she ran, and he ran, till they came to the "Bridge
of one hair"; and she got over, but he couldn't, and he says, "Woe worth ye, Molly
Whuppie! never ye come again."
And she says "Twice yet, carle," quoth she, "I'll come to Spain."
So Molly took the sword to the king, and her sister was married to his son.
Well, the king he says: "Ye've managed well, Molly; but if ye would manage better,
and steal the purse that lies below the giant's pillow, I would marry your second
sister to my second son."
And Molly said she would try. So she set out for the giant's house, and
slipped in, and hid again below the bed, and waited till the giant had eaten his
supper, and was snoring sound asleep.
She slipped out, and slipped her hand below the pillow, and got out the purse; but just
as she was going out the giant wakened, and ran after her; and she ran, and he ran,
till they came to the "Bridge of one hair,"
and she got over, but he couldn't, and he said, "Woe worth ye, Molly Whuppie! never
you come again." "Once yet, carle," quoth she, "I'll come to
So Molly took the purse to the king, and her second sister was married to the king's
second son.
After that the king says to Molly: "Molly, you are a clever girl, but if you would do
better yet, and steal the giant's ring that he wears on his finger, I will give you my
youngest son for yourself."
Molly said she would try. So back she goes to the giant's house, and
hides herself below the bed.
The giant wasn't long ere he came home, and, after he had eaten a great big supper,
he went to his bed, and shortly was snoring loud.
Molly crept out and reached over the bed, and got hold of the giant's hand, and she
pulled and she pulled until she got off the ring; but just as she got it off the giant
got up, and gripped her by the hand, and he
says: "Now I have catcht you, Molly Whuppie, and, if I had done as much ill to
you as ye have done to me, what would ye do to me?"
Molly says: "I would put you into a sack, and I'd put the cat inside with you, and
the dog aside you, and a needle and thread and a shears, and I'd hang you up upon the
wall, and I'd go to the wood, and choose
the thickest stick I could get, and I would come home, and take you down, and bang you
till you were dead." "Well, Molly," says the giant, "I'll just
do that to you."
So he gets a sack, and puts Molly into it, and the cat and the dog beside her, and a
needle and thread and shears, and hangs her up upon the wall, and goes to the wood to
choose a stick.
Molly she sings out: "Oh, if ye saw what I see."
"Oh," says the giant's wife, "what do ye see, Molly?"
But Molly never said a word but, "Oh, if ye saw what I see!"
The giant's wife begged that Molly would take her up into the sack till she would
see what Molly saw.
So Molly took the shears and cut a hole in the sack, and took out the needle and
thread with her, and jumped down and helped, the giant's wife up into the sack,
and sewed up the hole.
The giant's wife saw nothing, and began to ask to get down again; but Molly never
minded, but hid herself at the back of the door.
Home came the giant, and a great big tree in his hand, and he took down the sack, and
began to batter it.
His wife cried, "It's me, man;" but the dog barked and the cat mewed, and he did not
know his wife's voice.
But Molly came out from the back of the door, and the giant saw her, and he after
her; and he ran and she ran, till they came to the "Bridge of one hair," and she got
over but he couldn't; and he said, "Woe
worth you, Molly Whuppie! never you come again."
"Never more, carle," quoth she, "will I come again to Spain."
So Molly took the ring to the king, and she was married to his youngest son, and she
never saw the giant again.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 23: The Red Ettin
There was once a widow that lived on a small bit of ground, which she rented from
a farmer.
And she had two sons; and by-and-by it was time for the wife to send them away to seek
their fortune.
So she told her eldest son one day to take a can and bring her water from the well,
that she might bake a cake for him; and however much or however little water he
might bring, the cake would be great or
small accordingly, and that cake was to be all that she could give him when he went on
his travels.
The lad went away with the can to the well, and filled it with water, and then came
away home again; but the can being broken, the most part of the water had run out
before he got back.
So his cake was very small; yet small as it was, his mother asked him if he was willing
to take the half of it with her blessing, telling him that, if he chose rather to
take the whole, he would only get it with her curse.
The young man, thinking he might have to travel a far way, and not knowing when or
how he might get other provisions, said he would like to have the whole cake, come of
his mother's malison what like; so she gave
him the whole cake, and her malison along with it.
Then he took his brother aside, and gave him a knife to keep till he should come
back, desiring him to look at it every morning, and as long as it continued to be
clear, then he might be sure that the owner
of it was well; but if it grew dim and rusty, then for certain some ill had
befallen him. So the young man went to seek his fortune.
And he went all that day, and all the next day; and on the third day, in the
afternoon, he came up to where a shepherd was sitting with a flock of sheep.
And he went up to the shepherd and asked him who the sheep belonged to; and he
"The Red Ettin of Ireland Once lived in Ballygan,
And stole King Malcolm's daughter The king of fair Scotland.
He beats her, he binds her, He lays her on a band;
And every day he strikes her With a bright silver wand.
Like Julian the Roman, He's one that fears no man.
It's said there's one predestinate To be his mortal foe;
But that man is yet unborn, And long may it be so."
This shepherd also told him to beware of the beasts he should next meet, for they
were of a very different kind from any he had yet seen.
So the young man went on, and by-and-by he saw a multitude of very dreadful beasts,
with two heads, and on every head four horns.
And he was sore frightened, and ran away from them as fast as he could; and glad was
he when he came to a castle that stood on a hillock, with the door standing wide open
to the wall.
And he went into the castle for shelter, and there he saw an old wife sitting beside
the kitchen fire.
He asked the wife if he might stay for the night, as he was tired with a long journey;
and the wife said he might, but it was not a good place for him to be in, as it
belonged to the Red Ettin, who was a very
terrible beast, with three heads, that spared no living man it could get hold of.
The young man would have gone away, but he was afraid of the beasts on the outside of
the castle; so he beseeched the old woman to hide him as best she could, and not tell
the Ettin he was there.
He thought, if he could put over the night, he might get away in the morning, without
meeting with the beasts, and so escape.
But he had not been long in his hiding- hole, before the awful Ettin came in; and
no sooner was he in, than he was heard crying:
"Snouk but and snouk ben, I find the smell of an earthly man, Be he living, or be he
dead, His heart this night shall kitchen my bread."
The monster soon found the poor young man, and pulled him from his hole.
And when he had got him out, he told him that if he could answer him three questions
his life should be spared.
So the first head asked: "A thing without an end, what's that?"
But the young man knew not. Then the second head said: "The smaller,
the more dangerous, what's that?"
But the young man knew it not. And then the third head asked: "The dead
carrying the living; riddle me that?" But the young man had to give it up.
The lad not being able to answer one of these questions, the Red Ettin took a
mallet and knocked him on the head, and turned him into a pillar of stone.
On the morning after this happened, the younger brother took out the knife to look
at it, and he was grieved to find it all brown with rust.
He told his mother that the time was now come for him to go away upon his travels
also; so she requested him to take the can to the well for water, that she might make
a cake for him.
And he went, and as he was bringing home the water, a raven over his head cried to
him to look, and he would see that the water was running out.
And he was a young man of sense, and seeing the water running out, he took some clay
and patched up the holes, so that he brought home enough water to bake a large
When his mother put it to him to take the half cake with her blessing, he took it in
preference to having the whole with her malison; and yet the half was bigger than
what the other lad had got.
So he went away on his journey; and after he had travelled a far way, he met with an
old woman that asked him if be would give her a bit of his johnny-cake.
And he said: "I will gladly do that," and so he gave her a piece of the johnny-cake;
and for that she gave him a magical wand, that she might yet be of service to him, if
he took care to use it rightly.
Then the old woman, who was a fairy, told him a great deal that would happen to him,
and what he ought to do in all circumstances; and after that she vanished
in an instant out of his sight.
He went on a great way farther, and then he came up to the old man herding the sheep;
and when he asked whose sheep these were, the answer was:
"The Red Ettin of Ireland Once lived in Ballygan,
And stole King Malcolm's daughter, The king of Fair Scotland.
"He beats her, he binds her, He lays her on a band;
And every day he strikes her With a bright silver wand.
Like Julian the Roman, He's one that fears no man.
"But now I fear his end is near, And destiny at hand;
And you're to be, I plainly see, The heir of all his land."
When he came to the place where the monstrous beasts were standing, he did not
stop nor run away, but went boldly through amongst them.
One came up roaring with open mouth to devour him, when he struck it with his
wand, and laid it in an instant dead at his feet.
He soon came to the Ettin's castle, where he knocked, and was admitted.
The old woman who sat by the fire warned him of the terrible Ettin, and what had
been the fate of his brother; but he was not to be daunted.
The monster soon came in, saying:
"Snouk but and snouk ben, I find the smell of an earthly man;
Be he living, or be he dead, His heart shall be kitchen to my bread."
He quickly espied the young man, and bade him come forth on the floor.
And then he put the three questions to him; but the young man had been told everything
by the good fairy, so he was able to answer all the questions.
So when the first head asked, "What's the thing without an end?" he said: "A bowl."
And when the second head said: "The smaller the more dangerous; what's that?" he said
at once, "A bridge."
And last, the third head said: "When does the dead carry the living, riddle me that?"
Then the young man answered up at once and said: "When a ship sails on the sea with
men inside her."
When the Ettin found this, he knew that his power was gone.
The young man then took up an axe and hewed off the monster's three heads.
He next asked the old woman to show him where the king's daughter lay; and the old
woman took him upstairs, and opened a great many doors, and out of every door came a
beautiful lady who had been imprisoned
there by the Ettin; and one of the ladies was the king's daughter.
She also took him down into a low room, and there stood a stone pillar, that he had
only to touch with his wand, when his brother started into life.
And the whole of the prisoners were overjoyed at their deliverance, for which
they thanked the young man. Next day they all set out for the king's
court, and a gallant company they made.
And the king married his daughter to the young man that had delivered her, and gave
a noble's daughter to his brother; and so they all lived happily all the rest of
their days.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 24: The Golden Arm
Here was once a man who travelled the land all over in search of a wife.
He saw young and old, rich and poor, pretty and plain, and could not meet with one to
his mind.
At last he found a woman, young, fair, and rich, who possessed a right arm of solid
gold. He married her at once, and thought no man
so fortunate as he was.
They lived happily together, but, though he wished people to think otherwise, he was
fonder of the golden arm than of all his wife's gifts besides.
At last she died.
The husband put on the blackest black, and pulled the longest face at the funeral; but
for all that he got up in the middle of the night, dug up the body, and cut off the
golden arm.
He hurried home to hide his treasure, and thought no one would know.
The following night he put the golden arm under his pillow, and was just falling
asleep, when the ghost of his dead wife glided into the room.
Stalking up to the bedside it drew the curtain, and looked at him reproachfully.
Pretending not to be afraid, he spoke to the ghost, and said: "What hast thou done
with thy cheeks so red?"
"All withered and wasted away," replied the ghost, in a hollow tone.
"What hast thou done with thy red rosy lips?"
"All withered and wasted away."
"What hast thou done with thy golden hair?" "All withered and wasted away."
"What hast thou done with thy Golden Arm?" "THOU HAST IT!"
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 25: The History of Tom Thumb
In the days of the great Prince Arthur, there lived a mighty magician, called
Merlin, the most learned and skilful enchanter the world has ever seen.
This famous magician, who could take any form he pleased, was travelling about as a
poor beggar, and being very tired, he stopped at the cottage of a ploughman to
rest himself, and asked for some food.
The countryman bade him welcome, and his wife, who was a very good- hearted woman,
soon brought him some milk in a wooden bowl, and some coarse brown bread on a
Merlin was much pleased with the kindness of the ploughman and his wife; but he could
not help noticing that though everything was neat and comfortable in the cottage,
they seemed both to be very unhappy.
He therefore asked them why they were so melancholy, and learned that they were
miserable because they had no children.
The poor woman said, with tears in her eyes: "I should be the happiest creature in
the world if I had a son; although he was no bigger than my husband's thumb, I would
be satisfied."
Merlin was so much amused with the idea of a boy no bigger than a man's thumb, that he
determined to grant the poor woman's wish.
Accordingly, in a short time after, the ploughman's wife had a son, who, wonderful
to relate! was not a bit bigger than his father's thumb.
The queen of the fairies, wishing to see the little fellow, came in at the window
while the mother was sitting up in the bed admiring him.
The queen kissed the child, and, giving it the name of Tom Thumb, sent for some of the
fairies, who dressed her little godson according to her orders:
"An oak-leaf hat he had for his crown; His shirt of web by spiders spun;
With jacket wove of thistle's down; His trowsers were of feathers done.
His stockings, of apple-rind, they tie With eyelash from his mother's eye
His shoes were made of mouse's skin, Tann'd with the downy hair within."
Tom never grew any larger than his father's thumb, which was only of ordinary size; but
as he got older he became very cunning and full of tricks.
When he was old enough to play with the boys, and had lost all his own cherry-
stones, he used to creep into the bags of his playfellows, fill his pockets, and,
getting out without their noticing him, would again join in the game.
One day, however, as he was coming out of a bag of cherry-stones, where he had been
stealing as usual, the boy to whom it belonged chanced to see him.
"Ah, ah! my little Tommy," said the boy, "so I have caught you stealing my cherry-
stones at last, and you shall be rewarded for your thievish tricks."
On saying this, he drew the string tight round his neck, and gave the bag such a
hearty shake, that poor little Tom's legs, thighs, and body were sadly bruised.
He roared out with pain, and begged to be let out, promising never to steal again.
A short time afterwards his mother was making a batter-pudding, and Tom, being
very anxious to see how it was made, climbed up to the edge of the bowl; but his
foot slipped, and he plumped over head and
ears into the batter, without his mother noticing him, who stirred him into the
pudding-bag, and put him in the pot to boil.
The batter filled Tom's mouth, and prevented him from crying; but, on feeling
the hot water, he kicked and struggled so much in the pot, that his mother thought
that the pudding was bewitched, and,
pulling it out of the pot, she threw it outside the door.
A poor tinker, who was passing by, lifted up the pudding, and, putting it into his
budget, he then walked off.
As Tom had now got his mouth cleared of the batter, he then began to cry aloud, which
so frightened the tinker that he flung down the pudding and ran away.
The pudding being broke to pieces by the fall, Tom crept out covered all over with
the batter, and walked home.
His mother, who was very sorry to see her darling in such a woeful state, put him
into a teacup, and soon washed off the batter; after which she kissed him, and
laid him in bed.
Soon after the adventure of the pudding, Tom's mother went to milk her cow in the
meadow, and she took him along with her.
As the wind was very high, for fear of being blown away, she tied him to a thistle
with a piece of fine thread.
The cow soon observed Tom's oak-leaf hat, and liking the appearance of it, took poor
Tom and the thistle at one mouthful.
While the cow was chewing the thistle Tom was afraid of her great teeth, which
threatened to crush him in pieces, and he roared out as loud as he could: "Mother,
"Where are you, Tommy, my dear Tommy?" said his mother.
"Here, mother," replied he, "in the red cow's mouth."
His mother began to cry and wring her hands; but the cow, surprised at the odd
noise in her throat, opened her mouth and let Tom drop out.
Fortunately his mother caught him in her apron as he was falling to the ground, or
he would have been dreadfully hurt. She then put Tom in her bosom and ran home
with him.
Tom's father made him a whip of a barley straw to drive the cattle with, and having
one day gone into the fields, he slipped a foot and rolled into the furrow.
A raven, which was flying over, picked him up, and flew with him over the sea, and
there dropped him.
A large fish swallowed Tom the moment he fell into the sea, which was soon after
caught, and bought for the table of King Arthur.
When they opened the fish in order to cook it, every one was astonished at finding
such a little boy, and Tom was quite delighted at being free again.
They carried him to the king, who made Tom his dwarf, and he soon grew a great
favourite at court; for by his tricks and gambols he not only amused the king and
queen, but also all the Knights of the Round Table.
It is said that when the king rode out on horseback, he often took Tom along with
him, and if a shower came on, he used to creep into his majesty's waistcoat-pocket,
where he slept till the rain was over.
King Arthur one day asked Tom about his parents, wishing to know if they were as
small as he was, and whether they were well off.
Tom told the king that his father and mother were as tall as anybody about the
court, but in rather poor circumstances.
On hearing this, the king carried Tom to his treasury, the place where he kept all
his money, and told him to take as much money as he could carry home to his
parents, which made the poor little fellow caper with joy.
Tom went immediately to procure a purse, which was made of a water-bubble, and then
returned to the treasury, where be received a silver threepenny- piece to put into it.
Our little hero had some difficulty in lifting the burden upon his back; but he at
last succeeded in getting it placed to his mind, and set forward on his journey.
However, without meeting with any accident, and after resting himself more than a
hundred times by the way, in two days and two nights he reached his father's house in
Tom had travelled forty-eight hours with a huge silver-piece on his back, and was
almost tired to death, when his mother ran out to meet him, and carried him into the
But he soon returned to Court.
As Tom's clothes had suffered much in the batter-pudding, and the inside of the fish,
his majesty ordered him a new suit of clothes, and to be mounted as a knight on a
Of Butterfly's wings his shirt was made, His boots of chicken's hide;
And by a nimble fairy blade, Well learned in the tailoring trade,
His clothing was supplied. A needle dangled by his side;
A dapper mouse he used to ride, Thus strutted Tom in stately pride!
It was certainly very diverting to see Tom in this dress and mounted on the mouse, as
he rode out a-hunting with the king and nobility, who were all ready to expire with
laughter at Tom and his fine prancing charger.
The king was so charmed with his address that he ordered a little chair to be made,
in order that Tom might sit upon his table, and also a palace of gold, a span high,
with a door an inch wide, to live in.
He also gave him a coach, drawn by six small mice.
The queen was so enraged at the honours conferred on Sir Thomas that she resolved
to ruin him, and told the king that the little knight had been saucy to her.
The king sent for Tom in great haste, but being fully aware of the danger of royal
anger, he crept into an empty snail-shell, where he lay for a long time until he was
almost starved with hunger; but at last he
ventured to peep out, and seeing a fine large butterfly on the ground, near the
place of his concealment, he got close to it and jumping astride on it, was carried
up into the air.
The butterfly flew with him from tree to tree and from field to field, and at last
returned to the court, where the king and nobility all strove to catch him; but at
last poor Tom fell from his seat into a
watering-pot, in which he was almost drowned.
When the queen saw him she was in a rage, and said he should be beheaded; and he was
again put into a mouse trap until the time of his execution.
However a cat, observing something alive in the trap, patted it about till the wires
broke, and set Thomas at liberty.
The king received Tom again into favour, which he did not live to enjoy, for a large
spider one day attacked him; and although he drew his sword and fought well, yet the
spider's poisonous breath at last overcame him.
He fell dead on the ground where he stood,
And the spider suck'd every drop of his blood.
King Arthur and his whole court were so sorry at the loss of their little favourite
that they went into mourning and raised a fine white marble monument over his grave
with the following epitaph:
Here lies Tom Thumb, King Arthur's knight, Who died by a spider's cruel bite.
He was well known in Arthur's court, Where he afforded gallant sport;
He rode at tilt and tournament, And on a mouse a-hunting went.
Alive he filled the court with mirth; His death to sorrow soon gave birth.
Wipe, wipe your eyes, and shake your head And cry,--Alas!
Tom Thumb is dead!
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 26: Mr. Fox
Lady Mary was young, and Lady Mary was fair.
She had two brothers, and more lovers than she could count.
But of them all, the bravest and most gallant, was a Mr. Fox, whom she met when
she was down at her father's country-house.
No one knew who Mr. Fox was; but he was certainly brave, and surely rich, and of
all her lovers, Lady Mary cared for him alone.
At last it was agreed upon between them that they should be married.
Lady Mary asked Mr. Fox where they should live, and he described to her his castle,
and where it was; but, strange to say, did not ask her, or her brothers to come and
see it.
So one day, near the wedding-day, when her brothers were out, and Mr. Fox was away for
a day or two on business, as he said, Lady Mary set out for Mr. Fox's castle.
And after many searchings, she came at last to it, and a fine strong house it was, with
high walls and a deep moat. And when she came up to the gateway she saw
written on it:
BE BOLD, BE BOLD. But as the gate was open, she went through
it, and found no one there. So she went up to the doorway, and over it
she found written:
BE BOLD, BE BOLD, BUT NOT TOO BOLD. Still she went on, till she came into the
hall, and went up the broad stairs till she came to a door in the gallery, over which
was written:
But Lady Mary was a brave one, she was, and she opened the door, and what do you think
she saw?
Why, bodies and skeletons of beautiful young ladies all stained with blood.
So Lady Mary thought it was high time to get out of that horrid place, and she
closed the door, went through the gallery, and was just going down the stairs, and out
of the hall, when who should she see
through the window, but Mr. Fox dragging a beautiful young lady along from the gateway
to the door.
Lady Mary rushed downstairs, and hid herself behind a cask, just in time, as Mr.
Fox came in with the poor young lady who seemed to have fainted.
Just as he got near Lady Mary, Mr. Fox saw a diamond ring glittering on the finger of
the young lady he was dragging, and he tried to pull it off.
But it was tightly fixed, and would not come off, so Mr. Fox cursed and swore, and
drew his sword, raised it, and brought it down upon the hand of the poor lady.
The sword cut off the hand, which jumped up into the air, and fell of all places in the
world into Lady Mary's lap.
Mr. Fox looked about a bit, but did not think of looking behind the cask, so at
last he went on dragging the young lady up the stairs into the Bloody Chamber.
As soon as she heard him pass through the gallery, Lady Mary crept out of the door,
down through the gateway, and ran home as fast as she could.
Now it happened that the very next day the marriage contract of Lady Mary and Mr. Fox
was to be signed, and there was a splendid breakfast before that.
And when Mr. Fox was seated at table opposite Lady Mary, he looked at her.
"How pale you are this morning, my dear." "Yes," said she, "I had a bad night's rest
last night.
I had horrible dreams." "Dreams go by contraries," said Mr. Fox;
"but tell us your dream, and your sweet voice will make the time pass till the
happy hour comes."
"I dreamed," said Lady Mary, "that I went yestermorn to your castle, and I found it
in the woods, with high walls, and a deep moat, and over the gateway was written:
"But it is not so, nor it was not so," said Mr. Fox.
"And when I came to the doorway over it was written:
"It is not so, nor it was not so," said Mr. Fox.
"And then I went upstairs, and came to a gallery, at the end of which was a door, on
which was written:
"It is not so, nor it was not so," said Mr. Fox.
"And then--and then I opened the door, and the room was filled with bodies and
skeletons of poor dead women, all stained with their blood."
"It is not so, nor it was not so.
And God forbid it should be so," said Mr. Fox.
"I then dreamed that I rushed down the gallery, and just as I was going down the
stairs, I saw you, Mr. Fox, coming up to the hall door, dragging after you a poor
young lady, rich and beautiful."
"It is not so, nor it was not so. And God forbid it should be so," said Mr.
"I rushed downstairs, just in time to hide myself behind a cask, when you, Mr. Fox,
came in dragging the young lady by the arm.
And, as you passed me, Mr. Fox, I thought I saw you try and get off her diamond ring,
and when you could not, Mr. Fox, it seemed to me in my dream, that you out with your
sword and hacked off the poor lady's hand to get the ring."
"It is not so, nor it was not so.
And God forbid it should be so," said Mr. Fox, and was going to say something else as
he rose from his seat, when Lady Mary cried out:
"But it is so, and it was so.
Here's hand and ring I have to show," and pulled out the lady's hand from her dress,
and pointed it straight at Mr. Fox.
At once her brothers and her friends drew their swords and cut Mr. Fox into a
thousand pieces.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 27: Lazy Jack
Once upon a time there was a boy whose name was Jack, and he lived with his mother on a
They were very poor, and the old woman got her living by spinning, but Jack was so
lazy that he would do nothing but bask in the sun in the hot weather, and sit by the
corner of the hearth in the winter-time.
So they called him Lazy Jack.
His mother could not get him to do anything for her, and at last told him, one Monday,
that if he did not begin to work for his porridge she would turn him out to get his
living as he could.
This roused Jack, and he went out and hired himself for the next day to a neighbouring
farmer for a penny; but as he was coming home, never having had any money before, he
lost it in passing over a brook.
"You stupid boy," said his mother, "you should have put it in your pocket."
"I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
On Wednesday, Jack went out again and hired himself to a cow-keeper, who gave him a jar
of milk for his day's work.
Jack took the jar and put it into the large pocket of his jacket, spilling it all, long
before he got home. "Dear me!" said the old woman; "you should
have carried it on your head."
"I'll do so another time," said Jack. So on Thursday, Jack hired himself again to
a farmer, who agreed to give him a cream cheese for his services.
In the evening Jack took the cheese, and went home with it on his head.
By the time he got home the cheese was all spoilt, part of it being lost, and part
matted with his hair.
"You stupid lout," said his mother, "you should have carried it very carefully in
your hands." "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
On Friday, Lazy Jack again went out, and hired himself to a baker, who would give
him nothing for his work but a large tom- cat.
Jack took the cat, and began carrying it very carefully in his hands, but in a short
time pussy scratched him so much that he was compelled to let it go.
When he got home, his mother said to him, "You silly fellow, you should have tied it
with a string, and dragged it along after you."
"I'll do so another time," said Jack.
So on Saturday, Jack hired himself to a butcher, who rewarded him by the handsome
present of a shoulder of mutton.
Jack took the mutton, tied it to a string, and trailed it along after him in the dirt,
so that by the time he had got home the meat was completely spoilt.
His mother was this time quite out of patience with him, for the next day was
Sunday, and she was obliged to make do with cabbage for her dinner.
"You ninney-hammer," said she to her son; "you should have carried it on your
shoulder." "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
On the next Monday, Lazy Jack went once more, and hired himself to a cattle-keeper,
who gave him a donkey for his trouble.
Jack found it hard to hoist the donkey on his shoulders, but at last he did it, and
began walking slowly home with his prize.
Now it happened that in the course of his journey there lived a rich man with his
only daughter, a beautiful girl, but deaf and dumb.
Now she had never laughed in her life, and the doctors said she would never speak till
somebody made her laugh.
This young lady happened to be looking out of the window when Jack was passing with
the donkey on his shoulders, with the legs sticking up in the air, and the sight was
so comical and strange that she burst out
into a great fit of laughter, and immediately recovered her speech and
Her father was overjoyed, and fulfilled his promise by marrying her to Lazy Jack, who
was thus made a rich gentleman.
They lived in a large house, and Jack's mother lived with them in great happiness
until she died.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 28: Johnny-Cake
Once upon a time there was an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy.
One morning the old woman made a Johnny- cake, and put it in the oven to bake.
"You watch the Johnny-cake while your father and I go out to work in the garden."
So the old man and the old woman went out and began to hoe potatoes, and left the
little boy to tend the oven.
But he didn't watch it all the time, and all of a sudden he heard a noise, and he
looked up and the oven door popped open, and out of the oven jumped Johnny-cake, and
went rolling along end over end, towards the open door of the house.
The little boy ran to shut the door, but Johnny-cake was too quick for him and
rolled through the door, down the steps, and out into the road long before the
little boy could catch him.
The little boy ran after him as fast as he could clip it, crying out to his father and
mother, who heard the uproar, and threw down their hoes and gave chase too.
But Johnny-cake outran all three a long way, and was soon out of sight, while they
had to sit down, all out of breath, on a bank to rest.
On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to two well-diggers who looked up from
their work and called out: "Where ye going, Johnny- cake?"
He said: "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy, and I can
outrun you too-o-o!"
"Ye can, can ye? we'll see about that?" said they; and they threw down their picks
and ran after him, but couldn't catch up with him, and soon they had to sit down by
the roadside to rest.
On ran Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to two ditch-diggers who were digging a
ditch. "Where ye going, Johnny-cake?" said they.
He said: "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy, and two well-
diggers, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"
"Ye can, can ye? we'll see about that!" said they; and they threw down their
spades, and ran after him too.
But Johnny-cake soon outstripped them also, and seeing they could never catch him, they
gave up the chase and sat down to rest. On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came
to a bear.
The bear said: "Where are ye going, Johnny- cake?"
He said: "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman and a little boy, and two well-
diggers, and two ditch-diggers, and I can outrun you too- o-o!"
"Ye can, can ye?" growled the bear, "we'll see about that!" and trotted as fast as his
legs could carry him after Johnny-cake, who never stopped to look behind him.
Before long the bear was left so far behind that he saw he might as well give up the
hunt first as last, so he stretched himself out by the roadside to rest.
On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to a wolf.
The wolf said:-- "Where ye going, Johnny- cake?"
He said: "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy, and two well-
diggers, and two ditch- diggers and a bear, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"
"Ye can, can ye?" snarled the wolf, "we'll see about that!"
And he set into a gallop after Johnny-cake, who went on and on so fast that the wolf
too saw there was no hope of overtaking him, and he too lay down to rest.
On went Johnny-cake, and by-and-by he came to a fox that lay quietly in a corner of
the fence.
The fox called out in a sharp voice, but without getting up: "Where ye going Johnny-
He said: "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman, and a little boy, and two well-
diggers, and two ditch-diggers, a bear, and a wolf, and I can outrun you too-o-o!"
The fox said: "I can't quite hear you, Johnny-cake, won't you come a little
closer?" turning his head a little to one side.
Johnny-cake stopped his race for the first time, and went a little closer, and called
out in a very loud voice "I've outrun an old man, and an old woman, and a little
boy, and two well-diggers, and two ditch-
diggers, and a bear, and a wolf, and I can outrun you too-o- o."
"Can't quite hear you; won't you come a little closer?" said the fox in a feeble
voice, as he stretched out his neck towards Johnny-cake, and put one paw behind his
Johnny-cake came up close, and leaning towards the fox screamed out: I'VE OUTRUN
"You can, can you?" yelped the fox, and he snapped up the Johnny-cake in his sharp
teeth in the twinkling of an eye.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 29: Earl Mar'S Daughter
One fine summer's day Earl Mar's daughter went into the castle garden, dancing and
tripping along.
And as she played and sported she would stop from time to time to listen to the
music of the birds.
After a while as she sat under the shade of a green oak tree she looked up and spied a
sprightly dove sitting high up on one of its branches.
She looked up and said: "Coo-my-dove, my dear, come down to me and I will give you a
golden cage. I'll take you home and pet you well, as
well as any bird of them all."
Scarcely had she said these words when the dove flew down from the branch and settled
on her shoulder, nestling up against her neck while she smoothed its feathers.
Then she took it home to her own room.
The day was done and the night came on and Earl Mar's daughter was thinking of going
to sleep when, turning round, she found at her side a handsome young man.
She was startled, for the door had been locked for hours.
But she was a brave girl and said: "What are you doing here, young man, to come and
startle me so?
The door was barred these hours ago; how ever did you come here?"
"Hush! hush!" the young man whispered. "I was that cooing dove that you coaxed
from off the tree."
"But who are you then?" she said quite low; "and how came you to be changed into that
dear little bird?"
"My name is Florentine, and my mother is a queen, and something more than a queen, for
she knows magic and spells, and because I would not do as she wished she turned me
into a dove by day, but at night her spells lose their power and I become a man again.
To-day I crossed the sea and saw you for the first time and I was glad to be a bird
that I could come near you.
Unless you love me, I shall never be happy more."
"But if I love you," says she, "will you not fly away and leave me one of these fine
"Never, never," said the prince; "be my wife and I'll be yours for ever.
By day a bird, by night a prince, I will always be by your side as a husband, dear."
So they were married in secret and lived happily in the castle and no one knew that
every night Coo-my-dove became Prince Florentine.
And every year a little son came to them as bonny as bonny could be.
But as each son was born Prince Florentine carried the little thing away on his back
over the sea to where the queen his mother lived and left the little one with her.
Seven years passed thus and then a great trouble came to them.
For the Earl Mar wished to marry his daughter to a noble of high degree who came
wooing her.
Her father pressed her sore but she said: "Father dear, I do not wish to marry; I can
be quite happy with Coo-my-dove here."
Then her father got into a mighty rage and swore a great big oath, and said: "To-
morrow, so sure as I live and eat, I'll twist that birdie's neck," and out he
stamped from her room.
"Oh, oh!" said Coo-my-dove; "it's time that I was away," and so he jumped upon the
window-sill and in a moment was flying away.
And he flew and he flew till he was over the deep, deep sea, and yet on he flew till
he came to his mother's castle.
Now the queen his mother was taking her walk abroad when she saw the pretty dove
flying overhead and alighting on the castle walls.
"Here, dancers come and dance your jigs," she called, "and pipers, pipe you well, for
here's my own Florentine, come back to me to stay for he's brought no bonny boy with
him this time."
"No, mother," said Florentine, "no dancers for me and no minstrels, for my dear wife,
the mother of my seven, boys, is to be wed to- morrow, and sad's the day for me."
"What can I do, my son?" said the queen, "tell me, and it shall be done if my magic
has power to do it."
"Well then, mother dear, turn the twenty- four dancers and pipers into twenty-four
grey herons, and let my seven sons become seven white swans, and let me be a goshawk
and their leader."
"Alas! alas! my son," she said, "that may not be; my magic reaches not so far.
But perhaps my teacher, the spaewife of Ostree, may know better."
And away she hurries to the cave of Ostree, and after a while comes out as white as
white can be and muttering over some burning herbs she brought out of the cave.
Suddenly Coo-my-dove changed into a goshawk and around him flew twenty-four grey herons
and above them flew seven cygnets.
Without a word or a good-bye off they flew over the deep blue sea which was tossing
and moaning.
They flew and they flew till they swooped down on Earl Mar's castle just as the
wedding party were setting out for the church.
First came the men-at-arms and then the bridegroom's friends, and then Earl Mar's
men, and then the bridegroom, and lastly, pale and beautiful, Earl Mar's daughter
They moved down slowly to stately music till they came past the trees on which the
birds were settling.
A word from Prince Florentine, the goshawk, and they all rose into the air, herons
beneath, cygnets above, and goshawk circling above all.
The weddineers wondered at the sight when, swoop! the herons were down among them
scattering the men-at-arms.
The swanlets took charge of the bride while the goshawk dashed down and tied the
bridegroom to a tree.
Then the herons gathered themselves together into one feather bed and the
cygnets placed their mother upon them, and suddenly they all rose in the air bearing
the bride away with them in safety towards Prince Florentine's home.
Surely a wedding party was never so disturbed in this world.
What could the weddineers do?
They saw their pretty bride carried away and away till she and the herons and the
swans and the goshawk disappeared, and that very day Prince Florentine brought Earl
Mar's daughter to the castle of the queen
his mother, who took the spell off him and they lived happy ever afterwards.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 30: Mr. Miacca
Tommy Grimes was sometimes a good boy, and sometimes a bad boy; and when he was a bad
boy, he was a very bad boy.
Now his mother used to say to him: "Tommy, Tommy, be a good boy, and don't go out of
the street, or else Mr. Miacca will take you."
But still when he was a bad boy he would go out of the street; and one day, sure
enough, he had scarcely got round the corner, when Mr. Miacca did catch him and
popped him into a bag upside down, and took him off to his house.
When Mr. Miacca got Tommy inside, he pulled him out of the bag and set him down, and
felt his arms and legs.
"You're rather tough," says he; "but you're all I've got for supper, and you'll not
taste bad boiled. But body o' me, I've forgot the herbs, and
it's bitter you'll taste without herbs.
Sally! Here, I say, Sally!" and he called Mrs.
Miacca. So Mrs. Miacca came out of another room and
said: "What d'ye want, my dear?"
"Oh, here's a little boy for supper," said Mr. Miacca, "and I've forgot the herbs.
Mind him, will ye, while I go for them." "All right, my love," says Mrs. Miacca, and
off he goes.
Then Tommy Grimes said to Mrs. Miacca: "Does Mr. Miacca always have little boys
for supper?"
"Mostly, my dear," said Mrs. Miacca, "if little boys are bad enough, and get in his
way." "And don't you have anything else but boy-
No pudding?" asked Tommy. "Ah, I loves pudding," says Mrs. Miacca.
"But it's not often the likes of me gets pudding."
"Why, my mother is making a pudding this very day," said Tommy Grimes, "and I am
sure she'd give you some, if I ask her. Shall I run and get some?"
"Now, that's a thoughtful boy," said Mrs. Miacca, "only don't be long and be sure to
be back for supper."
So off Tommy pelters, and right glad he was to get off so cheap; and for many a long
day he was as good as good could be, and never went round the corner of the street.
But he couldn't always be good; and one day he went round the corner, and as luck would
have it, he hadn't scarcely got round it when Mr. Miacca grabbed him up, popped him
in his bag, and took him home.
When he got him there, Mr. Miacca dropped him out; and when he saw him, he said: "Ah,
you're the youngster what served me and my missus that shabby trick, leaving us
without any supper.
Well, you shan't do it again. I'll watch over you myself.
Here, get under the sofa, and I'll set on it and watch the pot boil for you."
So poor Tommy Grimes had to creep under the sofa, and Mr. Miacca sat on it and waited
for the pot to boil.
And they waited, and they waited, but still the pot didn't boil, till at last Mr.
Miacca got tired of waiting, and he said: "Here, you under there, I'm not going to
wait any longer; put out your leg, and I'll stop your giving us the slip."
So Tommy put out a leg, and Mr. Miacca got a chopper, and chopped it off, and pops it
in the pot.
Suddenly he calls out: "Sally, my dear, Sally!" and nobody answered.
So he went into the next room to look out for Mrs. Miacca, and while he was there,
Tommy crept out from under the sofa and ran out of the door.
For it was a leg of the sofa that he had put out.
So Tommy Grimes ran home, and he never went round the corner again till he was old
enough to go alone.
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 31: Whittington and His Cat
In the reign of the famous King Edward III. there was a little boy called Dick
Whittington, whose father and mother died when he was very young.
As poor Dick was not old enough to work, he was very badly off; he got but little for
his dinner, and sometimes nothing at all for his breakfast; for the people who lived
in the village were very poor indeed, and
could not spare him much more than the parings of potatoes, and now and then a
hard crust of bread.
Now Dick had heard a great many very strange things about the great city called
London; for the country people at that time thought that folks in London were all fine
gentlemen and ladies; and that there was
singing and music there all day long; and that the streets were all paved with gold.
One day a large waggon and eight horses, all with bells at their heads, drove
through the village while Dick was standing by the sign- post.
He thought that this waggon must be going to the fine town of London; so he took
courage, and asked the waggoner to let him walk with him by the side of the waggon.
As soon as the waggoner heard that poor Dick had no father or mother, and saw by
his ragged clothes that he could not be worse off than he was, he told him he might
go if he would, so off they set together.
So Dick got safe to London, and was in such a hurry to see the fine streets paved all
over with gold, that he did not even stay to thank the kind waggoner; but ran off as
fast as his legs would carry him, through
many of the streets, thinking every moment to come to those that were paved with gold;
for Dick had seen a guinea three times in his own little village, and remembered what
a deal of money it brought in change; so he
thought he had nothing to do but to take up some little bits of the pavement, and
should then have as much money as he could wish for.
Poor Dick ran till he was tired, and had quite forgot his friend the waggoner; but
at last, finding it grow dark, and that every way he turned he saw nothing but dirt
instead of gold, he, sat down in a dark corner and cried himself to sleep.
Little Dick was all night in the streets; and next morning, being very hungry, he got
up and walked about, and asked everybody he met to give him a halfpenny to keep him
from starving; but nobody stayed to answer
him, and only two or three gave him a halfpenny; so that the poor boy was soon
quite weak and faint for the want of victuals.
In this distress he asked charity of several people, and one of them said
crossly: "Go to work, for an idle rogue." "That I will," says Dick, "I will to go
work for you, if you will let me."
But the man only cursed at him and went on. At last a good-natured looking gentleman
saw how hungry he looked. "Why don't you go to work my lad?" said he
to Dick.
"That I would, but I do not know how to get any," answered Dick.
"If you are willing, come along with me," said the gentleman, and took him to a hay-
field, where Dick worked briskly, and lived merrily till the hay was made.
After this he found himself as badly off as before; and being almost starved again, he
laid himself down at the door of Mr. Fitzwarren, a rich merchant.
Here he was soon seen by the cook-maid, who was an ill- tempered creature, and happened
just then to be very busy dressing dinner for her master and mistress; so she called
out to poor Dick: "What business have you
there, you lazy rogue? there is nothing else but beggars; if you do not take
yourself away, we will see how you will like a sousing of some dish-water; I have
some here hot enough to make you jump."
Just at that time Mr. Fitzwarren himself came home to dinner; and when he saw a
dirty ragged boy lying at the door, he said to him: "Why do you lie there, my boy?
You seem old enough to work; I am afraid you are inclined to be lazy."
"No, indeed, sir," said Dick to him, "that is not the case, for I would work with all
my heart, but I do not know anybody, and I believe I am very sick for the want of
"Poor fellow, get up; let me see what ails you."
Dick now tried to rise, but was obliged to lie down again, being too weak to stand,
for he had not eaten any food for three days, and was no longer able to run about
and beg a halfpenny of people in the street.
So the kind merchant ordered him to be taken into the house, and have a good
dinner given him, and be kept to do what work he was able to do for the cook.
Little Dick would have lived very happy in this good family if it had not been for the
ill-natured cook.
She used to say: "You are under me, so look sharp; clean the spit and the dripping-pan,
make the fires, wind up the jack, and do all the scullery work nimbly, or--" and she
would shake the ladle at him.
Besides, she was so fond of basting, that when she had no meat to baste, she would
baste poor Dick's head and shoulders with a broom, or anything else that happened to
fall in her way.
At last her ill-usage of him was told to Alice, Mr. Fitzwarren's daughter, who told
the cook she should be turned away if she did not treat him kinder.
The behaviour of the cook was now a little better; but besides this Dick had another
hardship to get over.
His bed stood in a garret, where there were so many holes in the floor and the walls
that every night he was tormented with rats and mice.
A gentleman having given Dick a penny for cleaning his shoes, he thought he would buy
a cat with it.
The next day he saw a girl with a cat, and asked her, "Will you let me have that cat
for a penny?" The girl said: "Yes, that I will, master,
though she is an excellent mouser."
Dick hid his cat in the garret, and always took care to carry a part of his dinner to
her; and in a short time he had no more trouble with the rats and mice, but slept
quite sound every night.
Soon after this, his master had a ship ready to sail; and as it was the custom
that all his servants should have some chance for good fortune as well as himself,
he called them all into the parlour and asked them what they would send out.
They all had something that they were willing to venture except poor Dick, who
had neither money nor goods, and therefore could send nothing.
For this reason he did not come into the parlour with the rest; but Miss Alice
guessed what was the matter, and ordered him to be called in.
She then said: "I will lay down some money for him, from my own purse;" but her father
told her: "This will not do, for it must be something of his own."
When poor Dick heard this, he said: "I have nothing but a cat which I bought for a
penny some time since of a little girl." "Fetch your cat then, my lad," said Mr.
Fitzwarren, "and let her go."
Dick went upstairs and brought down poor puss, with tears in his eyes, and gave her
to the captain; "For," he said, "I shall now be kept awake all night by the rats and
All the company laughed at Dick's odd venture; and Miss Alice, who felt pity for
him, gave him some money to buy another cat.
This, and many other marks of kindness shown him by Miss Alice, made the ill-
tempered cook jealous of poor Dick, and she began to use him more cruelly than ever,
and always made game of him for sending his cat to sea.
She asked him: "Do you think your cat will sell for as much money as would buy a stick
to beat you?"
At last poor Dick could not bear this usage any longer, and he thought he would run
away from his place; so he packed up his few things, and started very early in the
morning, on All-hallows Day, the first of November.
He walked as far as Holloway; and there sat down on a stone, which to this day is
called "Whittington's Stone," and began to think to himself which road he should take.
While he was thinking what he should do, the Bells of Bow Church, which at that time
were only six, began to ring, and their sound seemed to say to him:
"Turn again, Whittington, Thrice Lord Mayor of London."
"Lord Mayor of London!" said he to himself.
"Why, to be sure, I would put up with almost anything now, to be Lord Mayor of
London, and ride in a fine coach, when I grow to be a man!
Well, I will go back, and think nothing of the cuffing and scolding of the old cook,
if I am to be Lord Mayor of London at last."
Dick went back, and was lucky enough to get into the house, and set about his work,
before the old cook came downstairs. We must now follow Miss Puss to the coast
of Africa.
The ship with the cat on board, was a long time at sea; and was at last driven by the
winds on a part of the coast of Barbary, where the only people were the Moors,
unknown to the English.
The people came in great numbers to see the sailors, because they were of different
colour to themselves, and treated them civilly; and, when they became better
acquainted, were very eager to buy the fine things that the ship was loaded with.
When the captain saw this, he sent patterns of the best things he had to the king of
the country; who was so much pleased with them, that he sent for the captain to the
Here they were placed, as it is the custom of the country, on rich carpets flowered
with gold and silver.
The king and queen were seated at the upper end of the room; and a number of dishes
were brought in for dinner.
They had not sat long, when a vast number of rats and mice rushed in, and devoured
all the meat in an instant. The captain wondered at this, and asked if
these vermin were not unpleasant.
"Oh yes," said they, "very offensive, and the king would give half his treasure to be
freed of them, for they not only destroy his dinner, as you see, but they assault
him in his chamber, and even in bed, and so
that he is obliged to be watched while he is sleeping, for fear of them."
The captain jumped for joy; he remembered poor Whittington and his cat, and told the
king he had a creature on board the ship that would despatch all these vermin
The king jumped so high at the joy which the news gave him, that his turban dropped
off his head.
"Bring this creature to me," says he; "vermin are dreadful in a court, and if she
will perform what you say, I will load your ship with gold and jewels in exchange for
The captain, who knew his business, took this opportunity to set forth the merits of
Miss Puss.
He told his majesty; "It is not very convenient to part with her, as, when she
is gone, the rats and mice may destroy the goods in the ship--but to oblige your
majesty, I will fetch her."
"Run, run!" said the queen; "I am impatient to see the dear creature."
Away went the captain to the ship, while another dinner was got ready.
He put Puss under his arm, and arrived at the place just in time to see the table
full of rats.
When the cat saw them, she did not wait for bidding, but jumped out of the captain's
arms, and in a few minutes laid almost all the rats and mice dead at her feet.
The rest of them in their fright scampered away to their holes.
The king was quite charmed to get rid so easily of such plagues, and the queen
desired that the creature who had done them so great a kindness might be brought to
her, that she might look at her.
Upon which the captain called: "Pussy, pussy, pussy!" and she came to him.
He then presented her to the queen, who started back, and was afraid to touch a
creature who had made such a havoc among the rats and mice.
However, when the captain stroked the cat and called: "Pussy, pussy," the queen also
touched her and cried: "Putty, putty," for she had not learned English.
He then put her down on the queen's lap, where she purred and played with her
majesty's hand, and then purred herself to sleep.
The king, having seen the exploits of Mrs. Puss, and being informed that her kittens
would stock the whole country, and keep it free from rats, bargained with the captain
for the whole ship's cargo, and then gave
him ten times as much for the cat as all the rest amounted to.
The captain then took leave of the royal party, and set sail with a fair wind for
England, and after a happy voyage arrived safe in London.
One morning, early, Mr. Fitzwarren had just come to his counting-house and seated
himself at the desk, to count over the cash, and settle the business for the day,
when somebody came tap, tap, at the door.
"Who's there?" said Mr. Fitzwarren. "A friend," answered the other; "I come to
bring you good news of your ship Unicorn."
The merchant, bustling up in such a hurry that he forgot his gout, opened the door,
and who should he see waiting but the captain and factor, with a cabinet of
jewels, and a bill of lading; when he
looked at this the merchant lifted up his eyes and thanked Heaven for sending him
such a prosperous voyage.
They then told the story of the cat, and showed the rich present that the king and
queen had sent for her to poor Dick. As soon as the merchant heard this, he
called out to his servants:
"Go send him in, and tell him of his fame; Pray call him Mr. Whittington by name."
Mr. Fitzwarren now showed himself to be a good man; for when some of his servants
said so great a treasure was too much for him, he answered: "God forbid I should
deprive him of the value of a single penny,
it is his own, and he shall have it to a farthing."
He then sent for Dick, who at that time was scouring pots for the cook, and was quite
He would have excused himself from coming into the counting-house, saying, "The room
is swept, and my shoes are dirty and full of hob-nails."
But the merchant ordered him to come in.
Mr. Fitzwarren ordered a chair to be set for him, and so he began to think they were
making game of him, at the same time said to them: "Do not play tricks with a poor
simple boy, but let me go down again, if you please, to my work."
"Indeed, Mr. Whittington," said the merchant, "we are all quite in earnest with
you, and I most heartily rejoice in the news that these gentlemen have brought you;
for the captain has sold your cat to the
King of Barbary, and brought you in return for her more riches than I possess in the
whole world; and I wish you may long enjoy them!"
Mr. Fitzwarren then told the men to open the great treasure they had brought with
them; and said: "Mr. Whittington has nothing to do but to put it in some place
of safety."
Poor Dick hardly knew how to behave himself for joy.
He begged his master to take what part of it he pleased, since he owed it all to his
"No, no," answered Mr. Fitzwarren, "this is all your own; and I have no doubt but you
will use it well."
Dick next asked his mistress, and then Miss Alice, to accept a part of his good
fortune; but they would not, and at the same time told him they felt great joy at
his good success.
But this poor fellow was too kind-hearted to keep it all to himself; so he made a
present to the captain, the mate, and the rest of Mr. Fitzwarren's servants; and even
to the ill-natured old cook.
After this Mr. Fitzwarren advised him to send for a proper tailor and get himself
dressed like a gentleman; and told him he was welcome to live in his house till he
could provide himself with a better.
When Whittington's face was washed, his hair curled, his hat cocked, and he was
dressed in a nice suit of clothes he was as handsome and genteel as any young man who
visited at Mr. Fitzwarren's; so that Miss
Alice, who had once been so kind to him, and thought of him with pity, now looked
upon him as fit to be her sweetheart; and the more so, no doubt, because Whittington
was now always thinking what he could do to
oblige her, and making her the prettiest presents that could be.
Mr. Fitzwarren soon saw their love for each other, and proposed to join them in
marriage; and to this they both readily agreed.
A day for the wedding was soon fixed; and they were attended to church by the Lord
Mayor, the court of aldermen, the sheriffs, and a great number of the richest merchants
in London, whom they afterwards treated with a very rich feast.
History tells us that Mr. Whittington and his lady liven in great splendour, and were
very happy.
They had several children. He was Sheriff of London, thrice Lord
Mayor, and received the honour of knighthood by Henry V.
He entertained this king and his queen at dinner after his conquest of France so
grandly, that the king said "Never had prince such a subject;" when Sir Richard
heard this, he said: "Never had subject such a prince."
The figure of Sir Richard Whittington with his cat in his arms, carved in stone, was
to be seen till the year 1780 over the archway of the old prison of Newgate, which
he built for criminals.