Part 1 - English Fairy Tales Audiobook by Joseph Jacobs (Chs 1-17)


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Transcript:
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 1: Tom Tit Tot
Once upon a time there was a woman, and she baked five pies.
And when they came out of the oven, they were that overbaked the crusts were too
hard to eat.
So she says to her daughter: "Darter," says she, "put you them there
pies on the shelf, and leave 'em there a little, and they'll come again."--She
meant, you know, the crust would get soft.
But the girl, she says to herself: "Well, if they'll come again, I'll eat 'em now."
And she set to work and ate 'em all, first and last.
Well, come supper-time the woman said: "Go you, and get one o' them there pies.
I dare say they've come again now." The girl went and she looked, and there was
nothing but the dishes.
So back she came and says she: "Noo, they ain't come again."
"Not one of 'em?" says the mother. "Not one of 'em," says she.
"Well, come again, or not come again," said the woman "I'll have one for supper."
"But you can't, if they ain't come," said the girl.
"But I can," says she.
"Go you, and bring the best of 'em." "Best or worst," says the girl, "I've ate
'em all, and you can't have one till that's come again."
Well, the woman she was done, and she took her spinning to the door to spin, and as
she span she sang:
"My darter ha' ate five, five pies to-day.
My darter ha' ate five, five pies to-day."
The king was coming down the street, and he heard her sing, but what she sang he
couldn't hear, so he stopped and said: "What was that you were singing, my good
woman?"
The woman was ashamed to let him hear what her daughter had been doing, so she sang,
instead of that:
"My darter ha' spun five, five skeins to-day.
My darter ha' spun five, five skeins to-day."
"Stars o' mine!" said the king, "I never heard tell of any one that could do that."
Then he said: "Look you here, I want a wife, and I'll marry your daughter.
But look you here," says he, "eleven months out of the year she shall have all she
likes to eat, and all the gowns she likes to get, and all the company she likes to
keep; but the last month of the year she'll
have to spin five skeins every day, and if she don't I shall kill her."
"All right," says the woman; for she thought what a grand marriage that was.
And as for the five skeins, when the time came, there'd be plenty of ways of getting
out of it, and likeliest, he'd have forgotten all about it.
Well, so they were married.
And for eleven months the girl had all she liked to eat, and all the gowns she liked
to get, and all the company she liked to keep.
But when the time was getting over, she began to think about the skeins and to
wonder if he had 'em in mind. But not one word did he say about 'em, and
she thought he'd wholly forgotten 'em.
However, the last day of the last month he takes her to a room she'd never set eyes on
before. There was nothing in it but a spinning-
wheel and a stool.
And says he: "Now, my dear, here you'll be shut in to- morrow with some victuals and
some flax, and if you haven't spun five skeins by the night, your head'll go off."
And away he went about his business.
Well, she was that frightened, she'd always been such a gatless girl, that she didn't
so much as know how to spin, and what was she to do to-morrow with no one to come
nigh her to help her?
She sat down on a stool in the kitchen, and law! how she did cry!
However, all of a sudden she heard a sort of a knocking low down on the door.
She upped and oped it, and what should she see but a small little black thing with a
long tail. That looked up at her right curious, and
that said:
"What are you a-crying for?" "What's that to you?" says she.
"Never you mind," that said, "but tell me what you're a-crying for."
"That won't do me no good if I do," says she.
"You don't know that," that said, and twirled that's tail round.
"Well," says she, "that won't do no harm, if that don't do no good," and she upped
and told about the pies, and the skeins, and everything.
"This is what I'll do," says the little black thing, "I'll come to your window
every morning and take the flax and bring it spun at night."
"What's your pay?" says she.
That looked out of the corner of that's eyes, and that said: "I'll give you three
guesses every night to guess my name, and if you haven't guessed it before the
month's up you shall be mine."
Well, she thought she'd be sure to guess that's name before the month was up.
"All right," says she, "I agree." "All right," that says, and law! how that
twirled that's tail.
Well, the next day, her husband took her into the room, and there was the flax and
the day's food.
"Now there's the flax," says he, "and if that ain't spun up this night, off goes
your head." And then he went out and locked the door.
He'd hardly gone, when there was a knocking against the window.
She upped and she oped it, and there sure enough was the little old thing sitting on
the ledge.
"Where's the flax?" says he. "Here it be," says she.
And she gave it to him. Well, come the evening a knocking came
again to the window.
She upped and she oped it, and there was the little old thing with five skeins of
flax on his arm. "Here it be," says he, and he gave it to
her.
"Now, what's my name?" says he. "What, is that Bill?" says she.
"Noo, that ain't," says he, and he twirled his tail.
"Is that Ned?" says she.
"Noo, that ain't," says he, and he twirled his tail.
"Well, is that Mark?" says she. "Noo, that ain't," says he, and he twirled
his tail harder, and away he flew.
Well, when her husband came in, there were the five skeins ready for him.
"I see I shan't have to kill you to-night, my dear," says he; "you'll have your food
and your flax in the morning," says he, and away he goes.
Well, every day the flax and the food were brought, and every day that there little
black impet used to come mornings and evenings.
And all the day the girl sat trying to think of names to say to it when it came at
night. But she never hit on the right one.
And as it got towards the end of the month, the impet began to look so maliceful, and
that twirled that's tail faster and faster each time she gave a guess.
At last it came to the last day but one.
The impet came at night along with the five skeins, and that said,
"What, ain't you got my name yet?" "Is that Nicodemus?" says she.
"Noo, t'ain't," that says.
"Is that Sammle?" says she. "Noo, t'ain't," that says.
"A-well, is that Methusalem?" says she. "Noo, t'ain't that neither," that says.
Then that looks at her with that's eyes like a coal o' fire, and that says: "Woman,
there's only to-morrow night, and then you'll be mine!"
And away it flew.
Well, she felt that horrid. However, she heard the king coming along
the passage. In he came, and when he sees the five
skeins, he says, says he,
"Well, my dear," says he, "I don't see but what you'll have your skeins ready to-
morrow night as well, and as I reckon I shan't have to kill you, I'll have supper
in here to-night."
So they brought supper, and another stool for him, and down the two sat.
Well, he hadn't eaten but a mouthful or so, when he stops and begins to laugh.
"What is it?" says she.
"A-why," says he, "I was out a-hunting to- day, and I got away to a place in the wood
I'd never seen before And there was an old chalk- pit.
And I heard a kind of a sort of a humming.
So I got off my hobby, and I went right quiet to the pit, and I looked down.
Well, what should there be but the funniest little black thing you ever set eyes on.
And what was that doing, but that had a little spinning-wheel, and that was
spinning wonderful fast, and twirling that's tail.
And as that span that sang:
"Nimmy nimmy not My name's Tom Tit Tot."
Well, when the girl heard this, she felt as if she could have jumped out of her skin
for joy, but she didn't say a word. Next day that there little thing looked so
maliceful when he came for the flax.
And when night came, she heard that knocking against the window panes.
She oped the window, and that come right in on the ledge.
That was grinning from ear to ear, and Oo! that's tail was twirling round so fast.
"What's my name?" that says, as that gave her the skeins.
"Is that Solomon?" she says, pretending to be afeard.
"Noo, t'ain't," that says, and that came further into the room.
"Well, is that Zebedee?" says she again.
"Noo, t'ain't," says the impet. And then that laughed and twirled that's
tail till you couldn't hardly see it. "Take time, woman," that says; "next guess,
and you're mine."
And that stretched out that's black hands at her.
Well, she backed a step or two, and she looked at it, and then she laughed out, and
says she, pointing her finger at it:
"NIMMY NIMMY NOT, YOUR NAME'S TOM TIT TOT!"
Well, when that heard her, that gave an awful shriek and away that flew into the
dark, and she never saw it any more.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 2: The Three Sillies
Once upon a time there was a farmer and his wife who had one daughter, and she was
courted by a gentleman.
Every evening he used to come and see her, and stop to supper at the farmhouse, and
the daughter used to be sent down into the cellar to draw the beer for supper.
So one evening she had gone down to draw the beer, and she happened to look up at
the ceiling while she was drawing, and she saw a mallet stuck in one of the beams.
It must have been there a long, long time, but somehow or other she had never noticed
it before, and she began a- thinking.
And she thought it was very dangerous to have that mallet there, for she said to
herself: "Suppose him and me was to be married, and we was to have a son, and he
was to grow up to be a man, and come down
into the cellar to draw the beer, like as I'm doing now, and the mallet was to fall
on his head and kill him, what a dreadful thing it would be!"
And she put down the candle and the jug, and sat herself down and began a-crying.
Well, they began to wonder upstairs how it was that she was so long drawing the beer,
and her mother went down to see after her, and she found her sitting on the settle
crying, and the beer running over the floor.
"Why, whatever is the matter?" said her mother.
"Oh, mother!" says she, "look at that horrid mallet!
Suppose we was to be married, and was to have a son, and he was to grow up, and was
to come down to the cellar to draw the beer, and the mallet was to fall on his
head and kill him, what a dreadful thing it would be!"
"Dear, dear! what a dreadful thing it would be!" said the mother, and she sat her down
aside of the daughter and started a-crying too.
Then after a bit the father began to wonder that they didn't come back, and he went
down into the cellar to look after them himself, and there they two sat a- crying,
and the beer running all over the floor.
"Whatever is the matter?" says he. "Why," says the mother, "look at that
horrid mallet.
Just suppose, if our daughter and her sweetheart was to be married, and was to
have a son, and he was to grow up, and was to come down into the cellar to draw the
beer, and the mallet was to fall on his
head and kill him, what a dreadful thing it would be!"
"Dear, dear, dear! so it would!" said the father, and he sat himself down aside of
the other two, and started a-crying.
Now the gentleman got tired of stopping up in the kitchen by himself, and at last he
went down into the cellar too, to see what they were after; and there they three sat
a-crying side by side, and the beer running all over the floor.
And he ran straight and turned the tap.
Then he said: "Whatever are you three doing, sitting there crying, and letting
the beer run all over the floor?" "Oh!" says the father, "look at that horrid
mallet!
Suppose you and our daughter was to be married, and was to have a son, and he was
to grow up, and was to come down into the cellar to draw the beer, and the mallet was
to fall on his head and kill him!"
And then they all started a-crying worse than before.
But the gentleman burst out a- laughing, and reached up and pulled out the mallet,
and then he said: "I've travelled many miles, and I never met three such big
sillies as you three before; and now I
shall start out on my travels again, and when I can find three bigger sillies than
you three, then I'll come back and marry your daughter."
So he wished them good-bye, and started off on his travels, and left them all crying
because the girl had lost her sweetheart.
Well, he set out, and he travelled a long way, and at last he came to a woman's
cottage that had some grass growing on the roof.
And the woman was trying to get her cow to go up a ladder to the grass, and the poor
thing durst not go. So the gentleman asked the woman what she
was doing.
"Why, lookye," she said, "look at all that beautiful grass.
I'm going to get the cow on to the roof to eat it.
She'll be quite safe, for I shall tie a string round her neck, and pass it down the
chimney, and tie it to my wrist as I go about the house, so she can't fall off
without my knowing it."
"Oh, you poor silly!" said the gentleman, "you should cut the grass and throw it down
to the cow!"
But the woman thought it was easier to get the cow up the ladder than to get the grass
down, so she pushed her and coaxed her and got her up, and tied a string round her
neck, and passed it down the chimney, and fastened it to her own wrist.
And the gentleman went on his way, but he hadn't gone far when the cow tumbled off
the roof, and hung by the string tied round her neck, and it strangled her.
And the weight of the cow tied to her wrist pulled the woman up the chimney, and she
stuck fast half-way and was smothered in the soot.
Well, that was one big silly.
And the gentleman went on and on, and he went to an inn to stop the night, and they
were so full at the inn that they had to put him in a double-bedded room, and
another traveller was to sleep in the other bed.
The other man was a very pleasant fellow, and they got very friendly together; but in
the morning, when they were both getting up, the gentleman was surprised to see the
other hang his trousers on the knobs of the
chest of drawers and run across the room and try to jump into them, and he tried
over and over again, and couldn't manage it; and the gentleman wondered whatever he
was doing it for.
At last he stopped and wiped his face with his handkerchief.
"Oh dear," he says, "I do think trousers are the most awkwardest kind of clothes
that ever were.
I can't think who could have invented such things.
It takes me the best part of an hour to get into mine every morning, and I get so hot!
How do you manage yours?"
So the gentleman burst out a-laughing, and showed him how to put them on; and he was
very much obliged to him, and said he never should have thought of doing it that way.
So that was another big silly.
Then the gentleman went on his travels again; and he came to a village, and
outside the village there was a pond, and round the pond was a crowd of people.
And they had got rakes, and brooms, and pitchforks, reaching into the pond; and the
gentleman asked what was the matter. "Why," they say, "matter enough!
Moon's tumbled into the pond, and we can't rake her out anyhow!"
So the gentleman burst out a- laughing, and told them to look up into the sky, and that
it was only the shadow in the water.
But they wouldn't listen to him, and abused him shamefully, and he got away as quick as
he could. So there was a whole lot of sillies bigger
than them three sillies at home.
So the gentleman turned back home again and married the farmer's daughter, and if they
didn't live happy for ever after, that's nothing to do with you or me.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 3: The Rose-Tree
There was once upon a time a good man who had two children: a girl by a first wife,
and a boy by the second. The girl was as white as milk, and her lips
were like cherries.
Her hair was like golden silk, and it hung to the ground.
Her brother loved her dearly, but her wicked stepmother hated her.
"Child," said the stepmother one day, "go to the grocer's shop and buy me a pound of
candles."
She gave her the money; and the little girl went, bought the candles, and started on
her return. There was a stile to cross.
She put down the candles whilst she got over the stile.
Up came a dog and ran off with the candles. She went back to the grocer's, and she got
a second bunch.
She came to the stile, set down the candles, and proceeded to climb over.
Up came the dog and ran off with the candles.
She went again to the grocer's, and she got a third bunch; and just the same happened.
Then she came to her stepmother crying, for she had spent all the money and had lost
three bunches of candles.
The stepmother was angry, but she pretended not to mind the loss.
She said to the child: "Come, lay your head on my lap that I may comb your hair."
So the little one laid her head in the woman's lap, who proceeded to comb the
yellow silken hair. And when she combed the hair fell over her
knees, and rolled right down to the ground.
Then the stepmother hated her more for the beauty of her hair; so she said to her, "I
cannot part your hair on my knee, fetch a billet of wood."
So she fetched it.
Then said the stepmother, "I cannot part your hair with a comb, fetch me an axe."
So she fetched it.
"Now," said the wicked woman, "lay your head down on the billet whilst I part your
hair."
Well! she laid down her little golden head without fear; and whist! down came the axe,
and it was off. So the mother wiped the axe and laughed.
Then she took the heart and liver of the little girl, and she stewed them and
brought them into the house for supper. The husband tasted them and shook his head.
He said they tasted very strangely.
She gave some to the little boy, but he would not eat.
She tried to force him, but he refused, and ran out into the garden, and took up his
little sister, and put her in a box, and buried the box under a rose-tree; and every
day he went to the tree and wept, till his tears ran down on the box.
One day the rose-tree flowered.
It was spring, and there among the flowers was a white bird; and it sang, and sang,
and sang like an angel out of heaven.
Away it flew, and it went to a cobbler's shop, and perched itself on a tree hard by;
and thus it sang,
"My wicked mother slew me, My dear father ate me,
My little brother whom I love Sits below, and I sing above
Stick, stock, stone dead."
"Sing again that beautiful song," asked the shoemaker.
"If you will first give me those little red shoes you are making."
The cobbler gave the shoes, and the bird sang the song; then flew to a tree in front
of a watchmaker's, and sang:
"My wicked mother slew me, My dear father ate me,
My little brother whom I love Sits below, and I sing above
Stick, stock, stone dead."
"Oh, the beautiful song! sing it again, sweet bird," asked the watchmaker.
"If you will give me first that gold watch and chain in your hand."
The jeweller gave the watch and chain.
The bird took it in one foot, the shoes in the other, and, after having repeated the
song, flew away to where three millers were picking a millstone.
The bird perched on a tree and sang:
"My wicked mother slew me, My dear father ate me,
My little brother whom I love Sits below, and I sing above
Stick!"
Then one of the men put down his tool and looked up from his work,
"Stock!" Then the second miller's man laid aside his
tool and looked up,
"Stone!" Then the third miller's man laid down his
tool and looked up, "Dead!"
Then all three cried out with one voice: "Oh, what a beautiful song!
Sing it, sweet bird, again." "If you will put the millstone round my
neck," said the bird.
The men did what the bird wanted and away to the tree it flew with the millstone
round its neck, the red shoes in one foot, and the gold watch and chain in the other.
It sang the song and then flew home.
It rattled the millstone against the eaves of the house, and the stepmother said: "It
thunders."
Then the little boy ran out to see the thunder, and down dropped the red shoes at
his feet.
It rattled the millstone against the eaves of the house once more, and the stepmother
said again: "It thunders." Then the father ran out and down fell the
chain about his neck.
In ran father and son, laughing and saying, "See, what fine things the thunder has
brought us!"
Then the bird rattled the millstone against the eaves of the house a third time; and
the stepmother said: "It thunders again, perhaps the thunder has brought something
for me," and she ran out; but the moment
she stepped outside the door, down fell the millstone on her head; and so she died.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 4: The Old Woman and Her Pig
An old woman was sweeping her house, and she found a little crooked sixpence.
"What," said she, "shall I do with this little sixpence?
I will go to market, and buy a little pig."
As she was coming home, she came to a stile: but the piggy wouldn't go over the
stile. She went a little further, and she met a
dog.
So she said to the dog: "Dog! bite pig; piggy won't go over the stile; and I shan't
get home to-night." But the dog wouldn't.
She went a little further, and she met a stick.
So she said: "Stick! stick! beat dog! dog won't bite pig; piggy won't get over the
stile; and I shan't get home to-night."
But the stick wouldn't. She went a little further, and she met a
fire.
So she said: "Fire! fire! burn stick; stick won't beat dog; dog won't bite pig; piggy
won't get over the stile; and I shan't get home to-night."
But the fire wouldn't.
She went a little further, and she met some water.
So she said: "Water, water! quench fire; fire won't burn stick; stick won't beat
dog; dog won't bite pig; piggy won't get over the stile; and I shan't get home to-
night."
But the water wouldn't. She went a little further, and she met an
ox.
So she said: "Ox! ox! drink water; water won't quench fire; fire won't burn stick;
stick won't beat dog; dog won't bite pig; piggy won't get over the stile; and I
shan't get home to-night."
But the ox wouldn't. She went a little further, and she met a
butcher.
So she said: "Butcher! butcher! kill ox; ox won't drink water; water won't quench fire;
fire won't burn stick; stick won't beat dog; dog won't bite pig; piggy won't get
over the stile; and I shan't get home to- night."
But the butcher wouldn't. She went a little further, and she met a
rope.
So she said: "Rope! rope! hang butcher; butcher won't kill ox; ox won't drink
water; water won't quench fire; fire won't burn stick; stick won't beat dog; dog won't
bite pig; piggy won't get over the stile; and I shan't get home to-night."
But the rope wouldn't. She went a little further, and she met a
rat.
So she said: "Rat! rat! gnaw rope; rope won't hang butcher; butcher won't kill ox;
ox won't drink water; water won't quench fire; fire won't burn stick; stick won't
beat dog; dog won't bite pig; piggy won't
get over the stile; and I shan't get home to-night."
But the rat wouldn't. She went a little further, and she met a
cat.
So she said: "Cat! cat! kill rat; rat won't gnaw rope; rope won't hang butcher; butcher
won't kill ox; ox won't drink water; water won't quench fire; fire won't burn stick;
stick won't beat dog; dog won't bite pig;
piggy won't get over the stile; and I shan't get home to-night."
But the cat said to her, "If you will go to yonder cow, and fetch me a saucer of milk,
I will kill the rat."
So away went the old woman to the cow. But the cow said to her: "If you will go to
yonder hay-stack, and fetch me a handful of hay, I'll give you the milk."
So away went the old woman to the haystack and she brought the hay to the cow.
As soon as the cow had eaten the hay, she gave the old woman the milk; and away she
went with it in a saucer to the cat.
As soon as the cat had lapped up the milk, the cat began to kill the rat; the rat
began to gnaw the rope; the rope began to hang the butcher; the butcher began to kill
the ox; the ox began to drink the water;
the water began to quench the fire; the fire began to burn the stick; the stick
began to beat the dog; the dog began to bite the pig; the little pig in a fright
jumped over the stile, and so the old woman got home that night.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 5: How Jack Went to Seek His Fortune
Once on a time there was a boy named Jack, and one morning he started to go and seek
his fortune. He hadn't gone very far before he met a
cat.
"Where are you going, Jack?" said the cat. "I am going to seek my fortune."
"May I go with you?" "Yes," said Jack, "the more the merrier."
So on they went, jiggelty-jolt, jiggelty- jolt.
They went a little further and they met a dog.
"Where are you going, Jack?" said the dog.
"I am going to seek my fortune." "May I go with you?"
"Yes," said Jack, "the more the merrier." So on they went, jiggelty-jolt, jiggelty-
jolt.
They went a little further and they met a goat.
"Where are you going, Jack?" said the goat. "I am going to seek my fortune."
"May I go with you?"
"Yes," said Jack, "the more the merrier." So on they went, jiggelty-jolt, jiggelty-
jolt. They went a little further and they met a
bull.
"Where are you going, Jack?" said the bull. "I am going to seek my fortune."
"May I go with you?" "Yes," said Jack, "the more the merrier."
So on they went, jiggelty-jolt, jiggelty- jolt.
They went a little further and they met a rooster.
"Where are you going, Jack?" said the rooster.
"I am going to seek my fortune." "May I go with you?"
"Yes," said Jack, "the more the merrier."
So on they went, jiggelty-jolt, jiggelty- jolt.
Well, they went on till it was about dark, and they began to think of some place where
they could spend the night.
About this time they came in sight of a house, and Jack told them to keep still
while he went up and looked in through the window.
And there were some robbers counting over their money.
Then Jack went back and told them to wait till he gave the word, and then to make all
the noise they could.
So when they were all ready Jack gave the word, and the cat mewed, and the dog
barked, and the goat bleated, and the bull bellowed, and the rooster crowed, and all
together they made such a dreadful noise that it frightened the robbers all away.
And then they went in and took possession of the house.
Jack was afraid the robbers would come back in the night, and so when it came time to
go to bed he put the cat in the rocking- chair, and he put the dog under the table,
and he put the goat upstairs, and he put
the bull down cellar, and the rooster flew up on to the roof, and Jack went to bed.
By-and-by the robbers saw it was all dark and they sent one man back to the house to
look after their money.
Before long he came back in a great fright and told them his story.
"I went back to the house," said he, "and went in and tried to sit down in the
rocking-chair, and there was an old woman knitting, and she stuck her knitting-
needles into me."
That was the cat, you know. "I went to the table to look after the
money and there was a shoemaker under the table, and he stuck his awl into me."
That was the dog, you know.
"I started to go upstairs, and there was a man up there threshing, and he knocked me
down with his flail." That was the goat, you know.
"I started to go down cellar, and there was a man down there chopping wood, and he
knocked me up with his axe." That was the bull, you know.
"But I shouldn't have minded all that if it hadn't been for that little fellow on top
of the house, who kept a-hollering, 'Chuck him up to me-e!
Chuck him up to me-e!'"
Of course that was the cock-a-doodle- do.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 6: Mr. Vinegar
Mr. and Mrs. Vinegar lived in a vinegar bottle.
Now, one day, when Mr. Vinegar was from home, Mrs. Vinegar, who was a very good
housewife, was busily sweeping her house, when an unlucky thump of the broom brought
the whole house clitter-clatter, clitter- clatter, about her ears.
In an agony of grief she rushed forth to meet her husband.
On seeing him she exclaimed, "Oh, Mr. Vinegar, Mr. Vinegar, we are ruined, I have
knocked the house down, and it is all to pieces!"
Mr. Vinegar then said: "My dear, let us see what can be done.
Here is the door; I will take it on my back, and we will go forth to seek our
fortune."
They walked all that day, and at nightfall entered a thick forest.
They were both very, very tired, and Mr. Vinegar said: "My love, I will climb up
into a tree, drag up the door, and you shall follow."
He accordingly did so, and they both stretched their weary limbs on the door,
and fell fast asleep.
In the middle of the night Mr. Vinegar was disturbed by the sound of voices
underneath, and to his horror and dismay found that it was a band of thieves met to
divide their booty.
"Here, Jack," said one, "here's five pounds for you; here, Bill, here's ten pounds for
you; here, Bob, here's three pounds for you."
Mr. Vinegar could listen no longer; his terror was so great that he trembled and
trembled, and shook down the door on their heads.
Away scampered the thieves, but Mr. Vinegar dared not quit his retreat till broad
daylight. He then scrambled out of the tree, and went
to lift up the door.
What did he see but a number of golden guineas.
"Come down, Mrs. Vinegar," he cried; "come down, I say; our fortune's made, our
fortune's made!
Come down, I say." Mrs. Vinegar got down as fast as she could,
and when she saw the money she jumped for joy.
"Now, my dear," said she, "I'll tell you what you shall do.
There is a fair at the neighbouring town; you shall take these forty guineas and buy
a cow.
I can make butter and cheese, which you shall sell at market, and we shall then be
able to live very comfortably." Mr. Vinegar joyfully agrees, takes the
money, and off he goes to the fair.
When he arrived, he walked up and down, and at length saw a beautiful red cow.
It was an excellent milker, and perfect in every way.
"Oh," thought Mr. Vinegar, "if I had but that cow, I should be the happiest, man
alive."
So he offers the forty guineas for the cow, and the owner said that, as he was a
friend, he'd oblige him.
So the bargain was made, and he got the cow and he drove it backwards and forwards to
show it. By-and-by he saw a man playing the
bagpipes--Tweedle-dum tweedle-dee.
The children followed him about, and he appeared to be pocketing money on all
sides.
"Well," thought Mr. Vinegar, "if I had but that beautiful instrument I should be the
happiest man alive--my fortune would be made."
So he went up to the man.
"Friend," says he, "what a beautiful instrument that is, and what a deal of
money you must make."
"Why, yes," said the man, "I make a great deal of money, to be sure, and it is a
wonderful instrument." "Oh!" cried Mr. Vinegar, "how I should like
to possess it!"
"Well," said the man, "as you are a friend, I don't much mind parting with it; you
shall have it for that red cow." "Done!" said the delighted Mr. Vinegar.
So the beautiful red cow was given for the bagpipes.
He walked up and down with his purchase; but it was in vain he tried to play a tune,
and instead of pocketing pence, the boys followed him hooting, laughing, and
pelting.
Poor Mr. Vinegar, his fingers grew very cold, and, just as he was leaving the town,
he met a man with a fine thick pair of gloves.
"Oh, my fingers are so very cold," said Mr. Vinegar to himself.
"Now if I had but those beautiful gloves I should be the happiest man alive."
He went up to the man, and said to him, "Friend, you seem to have a capital pair of
gloves there."
"Yes, truly," cried the man; "and my hands are as warm as possible this cold November
day." "Well," said Mr. Vinegar, "I should like to
have them.".
"What will you give?" said the man; "as you are a friend, I don't much mind letting you
have them for those bagpipes." "Done!" cried Mr. Vinegar.
He put on the gloves, and felt perfectly happy as he trudged homewards.
At last he grew very tired, when he saw a man coming towards him with a good stout
stick in his hand.
"Oh," said Mr. Vinegar, "that I had but that stick!
I should then be the happiest man alive." He said to the man: "Friend! what a rare
good stick you have got."
"Yes," said the man; "I have used it for many a long mile, and a good friend it has
been; but if you have a fancy for it, as you are a friend, I don't mind giving it to
you for that pair of gloves."
Mr. Vinegar's hands were so warm, and his legs so tired, that he gladly made the
exchange.
As he drew near to the wood where he had left his wife, he heard a parrot on a tree
calling out his name: "Mr. Vinegar, you foolish man, you blockhead, you simpleton;
you went to the fair, and laid out all your money in buying a cow.
Not content with that, you changed it for bagpipes, on which you could not play, and
which were not worth one- tenth of the money.
You fool, you--you had no sooner got the bagpipes than you changed them for the
gloves, which were not worth one-quarter of the money; and when you had got the gloves,
you changed them for a poor miserable
stick; and now for your forty guineas, cow, bagpipes, and gloves, you have nothing to
show but that poor miserable stick, which you might have cut in any hedge."
On this the bird laughed and laughed, and Mr. Vinegar, falling into a violent rage,
threw the stick at its head.
The stick lodged in the tree, and he returned to his wife without money, cow,
bagpipes, gloves, or stick, and she instantly gave him such a sound cudgelling
that she almost broke every bone in his skin.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 7: Nix Nought Nothing
There once lived a king and a queen as many a one has been.
They were long married and had no children; but at last a baby-boy came to the queen
when the king was away in the far countries.
The queen would not christen the boy till the king came back, and she said, "We will
just call him Nix Nought Nothing until his father comes home."
But it was long before he came home, and the boy had grown a nice little laddie.
At length the king was on his way back; but he had a big river to cross, and there was
a whirlpool, and he could not get over the water.
But a giant came up to him, and said "I'll carry you over."
But the king said: "What's your pay?" "O give me Nix, Nought, Nothing, and I will
carry you over the water on my back."
The king had never heard that his son was called Nix Nought Nothing, and so he said:
"O, I'll give you that and my thanks into the bargain."
When the king got home again, he was very happy to see his wife again, and his young
son.
She told him that she had not given the child any name, but just Nix Nought
Nothing, until he should come home again himself.
The poor king was in a terrible case.
He said: "What have I done? I promised to give the giant who carried me
over the river on his back, Nix Nought Nothing."
The king and the queen were sad and sorry, but they said: "When the giant comes we
will give him the hen-wife's boy; he will never know the difference."
The next day the giant came to claim the king's promise, and he sent for the hen-
wife's boy; and the giant went away with the boy on his back.
He travelled till he came to a big stone, and there he sat down to rest.
He said, "Hidge, Hodge, on my back, what time of day
is that?"
The poor little boy said: "It is the time that my mother, the hen- wife, takes up the
eggs for the queen's breakfast." The Giant was very angry, and dashed the
boy's head on the stone and killed him.
So he went back in a tower of a temper and this time they gave him the gardener's boy.
He went off with him on his back till they got to the stone again when the giant sat
down to rest.
And he said: "Hidge, Hodge, on my back, what time of day
do you make that?"
The gardener's boy said: "Sure it's the time that my mother takes up the vegetables
for the queen's dinner." Then the giant was right wild and dashed
his brains out on the stone.
Then the giant went back to the king's house in a terrible temper and said he
would destroy them all if they did not give him Nix Nought Nothing this time.
They had to do it; and when he came to the big stone, the giant said: "What time of
day is that?"
Nix Nought Nothing said: "It is the time that my father the king will be sitting
down to supper."
The giant said: "I've got the right one now;" and took Nix Nought Nothing to his
own house and brought him up till he was a man.
The giant had a bonny daughter, and she and the lad grew very fond of each other.
The giant said one day to Nix Nought Nothing: "I've work for you to-morrow.
There is a stable seven miles long and seven miles broad, and it has not been
cleaned for seven years, and you must clean it to-morrow, or I will have you for my
supper."
The giant's daughter went out next morning with the lad's breakfast, and found him in
a terrible state, for always as he cleaned out a bit, it just fell in again.
The giant's daughter said she would help him, and she cried all the beasts in the
field, and all the fowls of the air, and in a minute they all came, and carried away
everything that was in the stable and made it all clean before the giant came home.
He said: "Shame on the wit that helped you; but I have a worse job for you to-morrow."
Then he said to Nix Nought Nothing: "There's a lake seven miles long, and seven
miles deep, and seven miles broad, and you must drain it to-morrow by nightfall, or
else I'll have you for my supper."
Nix Nought Nothing began early next morning and tried to lave the water with his pail,
but the lake was never getting any less, and he didn't know what to do; but the
giant's daughter called on all the fish in
the sea to come and drink the water, and very soon they drank it dry.
When the giant saw the work done he was in a rage, and said: "I've a worse job for you
to-morrow; there is a tree, seven miles high, and no branch on it, till you get to
the top, and there is a nest with seven
eggs in it, and you must bring down all the eggs without breaking one, or else I'll
have you for my supper."
At first the giant's daughter did not know how to help Nix Nought Nothing; but she cut
off first her fingers and then her toes, and made steps of them, and he clomb the
tree and got all the eggs safe till he came
just to the bottom, and then one was broken.
So they determined to run away together and after the giant's daughter had tidied up
her hair a bit and got her magic flask they set out together as fast as they could run.
And they hadn't got but three fields away when they looked back and saw the giant
walking along at top speed after them.
"Quick, quick," called out the giant's daughter, "take my comb from my hair and
throw it down."
Nix Nought Nothing took her comb from her hair and threw it down, and out of every
one of its prongs there sprung up a fine thick briar in the way of the giant.
You may be sure it took him a long time to work his way through the briar bush and by
the time he was well through Nix Nought Nothing and his sweetheart had run on a
tidy step away from him.
But he soon came along after them and was just like to catch 'em up when the giant's
daughter called out to Nix Nought Nothing, "Take my hair dagger and throw it down,
quick, quick."
So Nix Nought Nothing threw down the hair dagger and out of it grew as quick as
lightning a thick hedge of sharp razors placed criss-cross.
The giant had to tread very cautiously to get through all this and meanwhile the
young lovers ran on, and on, and on, till they were nearly out of sight.
But at last the giant was through, and it wasn't long before he was like to catch
them up.
But just as he was stretching out his hand to catch Nix Nought Nothing his daughter
took out her magic flask and dashed it on the ground.
And as it broke out of it welled a big, big wave that grew, and that grew, till it
reached the giant's waist and then his neck, and when it got to his head, he was
drowned dead, and dead, and dead indeed.
So he goes out of the story. But Nix Nought Nothing fled on till where
do you think they came to? Why, to near the castle of Nix Nought
Nothing's father and mother.
But the giant's daughter was so weary that she couldn't move a step further.
So Nix Nought Nothing told her to wait there while he went and found out a lodging
for the night.
And he went on towards the lights of the castle, and on the way he came to the
cottage of the hen-wife whose boy had had his brains dashed out by the giant.
Now she knew Nix Nought Nothing in a moment, and hated him because he was the
cause of her son's death.
So when he asked his way to the castle she put a spell upon him, and when he got to
the castle, no sooner was he let in than he fell down dead asleep upon a bench in the
hall.
The king and queen tried all they could do to wake him up, but all in vain.
So the king promised that if any lady could wake him up she should marry him.
Meanwhile the giant's daughter was waiting and waiting for him to come back.
And she went up into a tree to watch for him.
The gardener's daughter, going to draw water in the well, saw the shadow of the
lady in the water and thought it was herself, and said; "If I'm so bonny, if I'm
so brave, why do you send me to draw water?"
So she threw down her pail and went to see if she could wed the sleeping stranger.
And she went to the hen-wife, who taught her an unspelling catch which would keep
Nix Nought Nothing awake as long as the gardener's daughter liked.
So she went up to the castle and sang her catch and Nix Nought Nothing was wakened
for a bit and they promised to wed him to the gardener's daughter.
Meanwhile the gardener went down to draw water from the well and saw the shadow of
the lady in the water.
So he looks up and finds her, and he brought the lady from the tree, and led her
into his house.
And he told her that a stranger was to marry his daughter, and took her up to the
castle and showed her the man: and it was Nix Nought Nothing asleep in a chair.
And she saw him, and cried to him: "Waken, waken, and speak to me!"
But he would not waken, and soon she cried:
"I cleaned the stable, I laved the lake,
and I clomb the tree, And all for the love of thee,
And thou wilt not waken and speak to me."
The king and the queen heard this, and came to the bonny young lady, and she said:
"I cannot get Nix Nought Nothing to speak to me for all that I can do."
Then were they greatly astonished when she spoke of Nix Nought Nothing, and asked
where he was, and she said: "He that sits there in the chair."
Then they ran to him and kissed him and called him their own dear son; so they
called for the gardener's daughter and made her sing her charm, and he wakened, and
told them all that the giant's daughter had done for him, and of all her kindness.
Then they took her in their arms and kissed her, and said she should now be their
daughter, for their son should marry her.
But they sent for the hen- wife and put her to death.
And they lived happy all their days.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 8: Jack Hannaford
There was an old soldier who had been long in the wars--so long, that he was quite
out-at-elbows, and he did not know where to go to find a living.
So he walked up moors, down glens, till at last he came to a farm, from which the good
man had gone away to market.
The wife of the farmer was a very foolish woman, who had been a widow when he married
her; the farmer was foolish enough, too, and it is hard to say which of the two was
the more foolish.
When you've heard my tale you may decide. Now before the farmer goes to market says
he to his wife: "Here is ten pounds all in gold, take care of it till I come home."
If the man had not been a fool he would never have given the money to his wife to
keep.
Well, off he went in his cart to market, and the wife said to herself: "I will keep
the ten pounds quite safe from thieves;" so she tied it up in a rag, and she put the
rag up the parlour chimney.
"There," said she, "no thieves will ever find it now, that is quite sure."
Jack Hannaford, the old soldier, came and rapped at the door.
"Who is there?" asked the wife.
"Jack Hannaford." "Where do you come from?"
"Paradise."
"Lord a' mercy! and maybe you've seen my old man there," alluding to her former
husband. "Yes, I have."
"And how was he a-doing?" asked the goody.
"But middling; he cobbles old shoes, and he has nothing but cabbage for victuals."
"Deary me!" exclaimed the woman. "Didn't he send a message to me?"
"Yes, he did," replied Jack Hannaford.
"He said that he was out of leather, and his pockets were empty, so you were to send
him a few shillings to buy a fresh stock of leather."
"He shall have them, bless his poor soul!"
And away went the wife to the parlour chimney, and she pulled the rag with the
ten pounds in it from the chimney, and she gave the whole sum to the soldier, telling
him that her old man was to use as much as he wanted, and to send back the rest.
It was not long that Jack waited after receiving the money; he went off as fast as
he could walk.
Presently the farmer came home and asked for his money.
The wife told him that she had sent it by a soldier to her former husband in Paradise,
to buy him leather for cobbling the shoes of the saints and angels of Heaven.
The farmer was very angry, and he swore that he had never met with such a fool as
his wife.
But the wife said that her husband was a greater fool for letting her have the
money.
There was no time to waste words; so the farmer mounted his horse and rode off after
Jack Hannaford.
The old soldier heard the horse's hoofs clattering on the road behind him, so he
knew it must be the farmer pursuing him.
He lay down on the ground, and shading his eyes with one hand, looked up into the sky,
and pointed heavenwards with the other hand.
"What are you about there?" asked the farmer, pulling up.
"Lord save you!" exclaimed Jack: "I've seen a rare sight."
"What was that?"
"A man going straight up into the sky, as if he were walking on a road."
"Can you see him still?" "Yes, I can."
"Where?"
"Get off your horse and lie down." "If you will hold the horse."
Jack did so readily. "I cannot see him," said the farmer.
"Shade your eyes with your hand, and you'll soon see a man flying away from you."
Sure enough he did so, for Jack leaped on the horse, and rode away with it.
The farmer walked home without his horse.
"You are a bigger fool than I am," said the wife; "for I did only one foolish thing,
and you have done two."
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 9: Binnorie
Once upon a time there were two king's daughters lived in a bower near the bonny
mill-dams of Binnorie.
And Sir William came wooing the eldest and won her love and plighted troth with glove
and with ring.
But after a time he looked upon the youngest, with her cherry cheeks and golden
hair, and his love grew towards her till he cared no longer for the eldest one.
So she hated her sister for taking away Sir William's love, and day by day her hate
grew upon her, and she plotted and she planned how to get rid of her.
So one fine morning, fair and clear, she said to her sister, "Let us go and see our
father's boats come in at the bonny mill- stream of Binnorie."
So they went there hand in hand.
And when they got to the river's bank the youngest got upon a stone to watch for the
coming of the boats.
And her sister, coming behind her, caught her round the waist and dashed her into the
rushing mill-stream of Binnorie.
"O sister, sister, reach me your hand!" she cried, as she floated away, "and you shall
have half of all I've got or shall get." "No, sister, I'll reach you no hand of
mine, for I am the heir to all your land.
Shame on me if I touch the hand that has come 'twixt me and my own heart's love."
"O sister, O sister, then reach me your glove!" she cried, as she floated further
away, "and you shall have your William again."
"Sink on," cried the cruel princess, "no hand or glove of mine you'll touch.
Sweet William will be all mine when you are sunk beneath the bonny mill-stream of
Binnorie."
And she turned and went home to the king's castle.
And the princess floated down the mill- stream, sometimes swimming and sometimes
sinking, till she came near the mill.
Now the miller's daughter was cooking that day, and needed water for her cooking.
And as she went to draw it from the stream, she saw something floating towards the
mill-dam, and she called out, "Father! father! draw your dam.
There's something white--a merry maid or a milk-white swan-- coming down the stream."
So the miller hastened to the dam and stopped the heavy cruel mill-wheels.
And then they took out the princess and laid her on the bank.
Fair and beautiful she looked as she lay there.
In her golden hair were pearls and precious stones; you could not see her waist for her
golden girdle; and the golden fringe of her white dress came down over her lily feet.
But she was drowned, drowned!
And as she lay there in her beauty a famous harper passed by the mill- dam of Binnorie,
and saw her sweet pale face.
And though he travelled on far away he never forgot that face, and after many days
he came back to the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie.
But then all he could find of her where they had put her to rest were her bones and
her golden hair.
So he made a harp out of her breast-bone and her hair, and travelled on up the hill
from the mill-dam of Binnorie, till he came to the castle of the king her father.
That night they were all gathered in the castle hall to hear the great harper--king
and queen, their daughter and son, Sir William and all their Court.
And first the harper sang to his old harp, making them joy and be glad or sorrow and
weep just as he liked. But while he sang he put the harp he had
made that day on a stone in the hall.
And presently it began to sing by itself, low and clear, and the harper stopped and
all were hushed. And this was what the harp sung:
"O yonder sits my father, the king, Binnorie, O Binnorie;
And yonder sits my mother, the queen; By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie,
"And yonder stands my brother Hugh, Binnorie, O Binnorie;
And by him, my William, false and true; By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie."
Then they all wondered, and the harper told them how he had seen the princess lying
drowned on the bank near the bonny mill- dams o' Binnorie, and how he had afterwards
made this harp out of her hair and breast- bone.
Just then the harp began singing again, and this was what it sang out loud and clear:
"And there sits my sister who drowned me By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie."
And the harp snapped and broke, and never sang more.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 10: Mouse and Mouser
The Mouse went to visit the Cat, and found her sitting behind the hall door, spinning.
MOUSE. What are you doing, my lady, my lady, What
are you doing, my lady?
CAT (sharply). I'm spinning old breeches, good body, good
body I'm spinning old breeches, good body. MOUSE.
Long may you wear them, my lady, my lady, Long may you wear them, my lady.
CAT (gruffly). I'll wear' em and tear 'em, good body, good
body.
I'll wear 'em and tear 'em, good body. MOUSE.
I was sweeping my room, my lady, my lady, I was sweeping my room, my lady.
CAT.
The cleaner you'd be, good body, good body, The cleaner you'd be, good body.
MOUSE. I found a silver sixpence, my lady, my
lady, I found a silver sixpence, my lady.
CAT. The richer you were, good body, good body,
The richer you were, good body. MOUSE.
I went to the market, my lady, my lady, I went to the market, my lady.
CAT. The further you went, good body, good body
The further you went, good body.
MOUSE. I bought me a pudding, my lady, my lady, I
bought me a pudding, my lady. CAT (snarling).
The more meat you had, good body, good body, The more meat you had, good body.
MOUSE. I put it in the window to cool, my lady, I
put it in the window to cool.
CAT. (sharply).
The faster you'd eat it, good body, good body, The faster you'd eat it, good body.
MOUSE (timidly).
The cat came and ate it, my lady, my lady, The cat came and ate it, my lady.
CAT (pouncingly). And I'll eat you, good body, good body, And
I'll eat you, good body.
(Springs upon the mouse and kills it.)
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 11: Cap O' Rushes
Well, there was once a very rich gentleman, and he'd three daughters, and he thought
he'd see how fond they were of him. So he says to the first, "How much do you
love me, my dear?"
"Why," says she, "as I love my life." "That's good," says he.
So he says to the second, "How much do you love me, my dear?"
"Why," says she, "better nor all the world."
"That's good," says he. So he says to the third, "How much do you
love me, my dear?"
"Why, I love you as fresh meat loves salt," says she.
Well, he was that angry. "You don't love me at all," says he, "and
in my house you stay no more."
So he drove her out there and then, and shut the door in her face.
Well, she went away on and on till she came to a fen, and there she gathered a lot of
rushes and made them into a kind of a sort of a cloak with a hood, to cover her from
head to foot, and to hide her fine clothes.
And then she went on and on till she came to a great house.
"Do you want a maid?" says she. "No, we don't," said they.
"I haven't nowhere to go," says she; "and I ask no wages, and do any sort of work,"
says she.
"Well," says they, "if you like to wash the pots and scrape the saucepans you may
stay," said they.
So she stayed there and washed the pots and scraped the saucepans and did all the dirty
work. And because she gave no name they called
her "Cap o' Rushes."
Well, one day there was to be a great dance a little way off, and the servants were
allowed to go and look on at the grand people.
Cap o' Rushes said she was too tired to go, so she stayed at home.
But when they were gone she offed with her cap o' rushes, and cleaned herself, and
went to the dance.
And no one there was so finely dressed as her.
Well, who should be there but her master's son, and what should he do but fall in love
with her the minute he set eyes on her.
He wouldn't dance with any one else. But before the dance was done Cap o' Rushes
slipt off, and away she went home.
And when the other maids came back she was pretending to be asleep with her cap o'
rushes on. Well, next morning they said to her, "You
did miss a sight, Cap o' Rushes!"
"What was that?" says she. "Why, the beautifullest lady you ever see,
dressed right gay and ga'. The young master, he never took his eyes
off her."
"Well, I should have liked to have seen her," says Cap o' Rushes.
"Well, there's to be another dance this evening, and perhaps she'll be there."
But, come the evening, Cap o' Rushes said she was too tired to go with them.
Howsoever, when they were gone, she offed with her cap o' rushes and cleaned herself,
and away she went to the dance.
The master's son had been reckoning on seeing her, and he danced with no one else,
and never took his eyes off her.
But, before the dance was over, she slipt off, and home she went, and when the maids
came back she, pretended to be asleep with her cap o' rushes on.
Next day they said to her again, "Well, Cap o' Rushes, you should ha' been there to see
the lady.
There she was again, gay and ga', and the young master he never took his eyes off
her." "Well, there," says she, "I should ha'
liked to ha' seen her."
"Well," says they, "there's a dance again this evening, and you must go with us, for
she's sure to be there."
Well, come this evening, Cap o' Rushes said she was too tired to go, and do what they
would she stayed at home.
But when they were gone she offed with her cap o' rushes and cleaned herself, and away
she went to the dance. The master's son was rarely glad when he
saw her.
He danced with none but her and never took his eyes off her.
When she wouldn't tell him her name, nor where she came from, he gave her a ring and
told her if he didn't see her again he should die.
Well, before the dance was over, off she slipped, and home she went, and when the
maids came home she was pretending to be asleep with her cap o' rushes on.
Well, next day they says to her, "There, Cap o' Rushes, you didn't come last night,
and now you won't see the lady, for there's no more dances."
"Well I should have rarely liked to have seen her," says she.
The master's son he tried every way to find out where the lady was gone, but go where
he might, and ask whom he might, he never heard anything about her.
And he got worse and worse for the love of her till he had to keep his bed.
"Make some gruel for the young master," they said to the cook.
"He's dying for the love of the lady."
The cook she set about making it when Cap o' Rushes came in.
"What are you a-doing of?", says she.
"I'm going to make some gruel for the young master," says the cook, "for he's dying for
love of the lady." "Let me make it," says Cap o' Rushes.
Well, the cook wouldn't at first, but at last she said yes, and Cap o' Rushes made
the gruel.
And when she had made it she slipped the ring into it on the sly before the cook
took it upstairs. The young man he drank it and then he saw
the ring at the bottom.
"Send for the cook," says he. So up she comes.
"Who made this gruel here?" says he. "I did," says the cook, for she was
frightened.
And he looked at her, "No, you didn't," says he.
"Say who did it, and you shan't be harmed." "Well, then, 'twas Cap o' Rushes," says
she.
"Send Cap o' Rushes here," says he. So Cap o' Rushes came.
"Did you make my gruel?" says he. "Yes, I did," says she.
"Where did you get this ring?" says he.
"From him that gave it me," says she. "Who are you, then?" says the young man.
"I'll show you," says she. And she offed with her cap o' rushes, and
there she was in her beautiful clothes.
Well, the master's son he got well very soon, and they were to be married in a
little time. It was to be a very grand wedding, and
every one was asked far and near.
And Cap o' Rushes' father was asked. But she never told anybody who she was.
But before the wedding she went to the cook, and says she:
"I want you to dress every dish without a mite o' salt."
"That'll be rare nasty," says the cook. "That doesn't signify," says she.
"Very well," says the cook.
Well, the wedding-day came, and they were married.
And after they were married all the company sat down to the dinner.
When they began to eat the meat, that was so tasteless they couldn't eat it.
But Cap o' Rushes' father he tried first one dish and then another, and then he
burst out crying.
"What is the matter?" said the master's son to him.
"Oh!" says he, "I had a daughter. And I asked her how much she loved me.
And she said 'As much as fresh meat loves salt.'
And I turned her from my door, for I thought she didn't love me.
And now I see she loved me best of all.
And she may be dead for aught I know." "No, father, here she is!" says Cap o'
Rushes. And she goes up to him and puts her arms
round him.
And so they were happy ever after.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 12: Teeny-Tiny
Once upon a time there was a teeny-tiny woman lived in a teeny-tiny house in a
teeny-tiny village.
Now, one day this teeny-tiny woman put on her teeny-tiny bonnet, and went out of her
teeny-tiny house to take a teeny-tiny walk.
And when this teeny-tiny woman had gone a teeny- tiny way she came to a teeny-tiny
gate; so the teeny-tiny woman opened the teeny-tiny gate, and went into a teeny-tiny
churchyard.
And when this teeny-tiny woman had got into the teeny-tiny churchyard, she saw a teeny-
tiny bone on a teeny-tiny grave, and the teeny-tiny woman said to her teeny-tiny
self, "This teeny-tiny bone will make me
some teeny- tiny soup for my teeny-tiny supper."
So the teeny-tiny woman put the teeny-tiny bone into her teeny-tiny pocket, and went
home to her teeny-tiny house.
Now when the teeny-tiny woman got home to her teeny-tiny house she was a teeny-tiny
bit tired; so she went up her teeny-tiny stairs to her teeny-tiny bed, and put the
teeny-tiny bone into a teeny-tiny cupboard.
And when this teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep a teeny- tiny time, she was awakened
by a teeny-tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard, which said:
"Give me my bone!"
And this teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny head
under the teeny-tiny clothes and went to sleep again.
And when she had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-tiny voice again
cried out from the teeny-tiny cupboard a teeny-tiny louder, "Give me my bone!"
This made the teeny-tiny woman a teeny-tiny more frightened, so she hid her teeny-tiny
head a teeny-tiny further under the teeny- tiny clothes.
And when the teeny-tiny woman had been to sleep again a teeny-tiny time, the teeny-
tiny voice from the teeny-tiny cupboard said again a teeny-tiny louder,
"Give me my bone!"
And this teeny-tiny woman was a teeny-tiny bit more frightened, but she put her teeny-
tiny head out of the teeny-tiny clothes, and said in her loudest teeny-tiny voice,
"TAKE IT!"
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 13: Jack And the Beanstalk
There was once upon a time a poor widow who had an only son named Jack, and a cow named
Milky-white.
And all they had to live on was the milk the cow gave every morning which they
carried to the market and sold. But one morning Milky-white gave no milk
and they didn't know what to do.
"What shall we do, what shall we do?" said the widow, wringing her hands.
"Cheer up, mother, I'll go and get work somewhere," said Jack.
"We've tried that before, and nobody would take you," said his mother; "we must sell
Milky-white and with the money do something, start shop, or something."
"All right, mother," says Jack; "it's market-day today, and I'll soon sell Milky-
white, and then we'll see what we can do." So he took the cow's halter in his hand,
and off he starts.
He hadn't gone far when he met a funny- looking old man who said to him: "Good
morning, Jack." "Good morning to you," said Jack, and
wondered how he knew his name.
"Well, Jack, and where are you off to?" said the man.
"I'm going to market to sell our cow here."
"Oh, you look the proper sort of chap to sell cows," said the man; "I wonder if you
know how many beans make five." "Two in each hand and one in your mouth,"
says Jack, as sharp as a needle.
"Right you are," said the man, "and here they are the very beans themselves," he
went on pulling out of his pocket a number of strange- looking beans.
"As you are so sharp," says he, "I don't mind doing a swop with you--your cow for
these beans." "Walker!" says Jack; "wouldn't you like
it?"
"Ah! you don't know what these beans are," said the man; "if you plant them over-
night, by morning they grow right up to the sky."
"Really?" says Jack; "you don't say so."
"Yes, that is so, and if it doesn't turn out to be true you can have your cow back."
"Right," says Jack, and hands him over Milky-white's halter and pockets the beans.
Back goes Jack home, and as he hadn't gone very far it wasn't dusk by the time he got
to his door.
"What back, Jack?" said his mother; "I see you haven't got Milky- white, so you've
sold her. How much did you get for her?"
"You'll never guess, mother," says Jack.
"No, you don't say so. Good boy!
Five pounds, ten, fifteen, no, it can't be twenty."
"I told you you couldn't guess, what do you say to these beans; they're magical, plant
them over-night and----"
"What!" says Jack's mother, "have you been such a fool, such a dolt, such an idiot, as
to give away my Milky-white, the best milker in the parish, and prime beef to
boot, for a set of paltry beans.
Take that! Take that!
Take that! And as for your precious beans here they go
out of the window.
And now off with you to bed. Not a sup shall you drink, and not a bit
shall you swallow this very night."
So Jack went upstairs to his little room in the attic, and sad and sorry he was, to be
sure, as much for his mother's sake, as for the loss of his supper.
At last he dropped off to sleep.
When he woke up, the room looked so funny. The sun was shining into part of it, and
yet all the rest was quite dark and shady. So Jack jumped up and dressed himself and
went to the window.
And what do you think he saw? why, the beans his mother had thrown out of the
window into the garden, had sprung up into a big beanstalk which went up and up and up
till it reached the sky.
So the man spoke truth after all. The beanstalk grew up quite close past
Jack's window, so all he had to do was to open it and give a jump on to the beanstalk
which was made like a big plaited ladder.
So Jack climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and
he climbed and he climbed till at last he reached the sky.
And when he got there he found a long broad road going as straight as a dart.
So he walked along and he walked along and he walked along till he came to a great big
tall house, and on the doorstep there was a great big tall woman.
"Good morning, mum," says Jack, quite polite-like.
"Could you be so kind as to give me some breakfast."
For he hadn't had anything to eat, you know, the night before and was as hungry as
a hunter.
"It's breakfast you want, is it?" says the great big tall woman, "it's breakfast
you'll be if you don't move off from here. My man is an ogre and there's nothing he
likes better than boys broiled on toast.
You'd better be moving on or he'll soon be coming."
"Oh! please mum, do give me something to eat, mum.
I've had nothing to eat since yesterday morning, really and truly, mum," says Jack.
"I may as well be broiled, as die of hunger."
Well, the ogre's wife wasn't such a bad sort, after all.
So she took Jack into the kitchen, and gave him a junk of bread and cheese and a jug of
milk.
But Jack hadn't half finished these when thump! thump! thump! the whole house began
to tremble with the noise of someone coming.
"Goodness gracious me!
It's my old man," said the ogre's wife, "what on earth shall I do?
Here, come quick and jump in here." And she bundled Jack into the oven just as
the ogre came in.
He was a big one, to be sure.
At his belt he had three calves strung up by the heels, and he unhooked them and
threw them down on the table and said: "Here, wife, broil me a couple of these for
breakfast.
Ah what's this I smell?
Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive, or be he dead I'll have his bones to grind my bread."
"Nonsense, dear," said his wife, "you're dreaming.
Or perhaps you smell the scraps of that little boy you liked so much for
yesterday's dinner.
Here, go you and have a wash and tidy up, and by the time you come back your
breakfast'll be ready for you."
So the ogre went off, and Jack was just going to jump out of the oven and run off
when the woman told him not. "Wait till he's asleep," says she; "he
always has a snooze after breakfast."
Well, the ogre had his breakfast, and after that he goes to a big chest and takes out
of it a couple of bags of gold and sits down counting them till at last his head
began to nod and he began to snore till the whole house shook again.
Then Jack crept out on tiptoe from his oven, and as he was passing the ogre he
took one of the bags of gold under his arm, and off he pelters till he came to the
beanstalk, and then he threw down the bag
of gold which of course fell in to his mother's garden, and then he climbed down
and climbed down till at last he got home and told his mother and showed her the gold
and said: "Well, mother, wasn't I right about the beans.
They are really magical, you see."
So they lived on the bag of gold for some time, but at last they came to the end of
that so Jack made up his mind to try his luck once more up at the top of the
beanstalk.
So one fine morning he got up early, and got on to the beanstalk, and he climbed and
he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till at last
he got on the road again and came to the great big tall house he had been to before.
There, sure enough, was the great big tall woman a-standing on the door-step.
"Good morning, mum," says Jack, as bold as brass, "could you be so good as to give me
something to eat?"
"Go away, my boy," said the big, tall woman, "or else my man will eat you up for
breakfast. But aren't you the youngster who came here
once before?
Do you know, that very day, my man missed one of his bags of gold."
"That's strange, mum," says Jack, "I dare say I could tell you something about that
but I'm so hungry I can't speak till I've had something to eat."
Well the big tall woman was that curious that she took him in and gave him something
to eat.
But he had scarcely begun munching it as slowly as he could when thump! thump!
thump! they heard the giant's footstep, and his wife hid Jack away in the oven.
All happened as it did before.
In came the ogre as he did before, said: "Fee-fi-fo-fum," and had his breakfast off
three broiled oxen. Then he said: "Wife, bring me the hen that
lays the golden eggs."
So she brought it, and the ogre said: "Lay," and it laid an egg all of gold.
And then the ogre began to nod his head, and to snore till the house shook.
Then Jack crept out of the oven on tiptoe and caught hold of the golden hen, and was
off before you could say "Jack Robinson."
But this time the hen gave a cackle which woke the ogre, and just as Jack got out of
the house he heard him calling: "Wife, wife, what have you done with my golden
hen?"
And the wife said: "Why, my dear?" But that was all Jack heard, for he rushed
off to the beanstalk and climbed down like a house on fire.
And when he got home he showed his mother the wonderful hen and said "Lay," to it;
and it laid a golden egg every time he said "Lay."
Well, Jack was not content, and it wasn't very long before he determined to have
another try at his luck up there at the top of the beanstalk.
So one fine morning, he got up early, and went on to the beanstalk, and he climbed
and he climbed and he climbed and he climbed till he got to the top.
But this time he knew better than to go straight to the ogre's house.
And when he got near it he waited behind a bush till he saw the ogre's wife come out
with a pail to get some water, and then he crept into the house and got into the
copper.
He hadn't been there long when he heard thump! thump! thump! as before, and in come
the ogre and his wife.
"Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman," cried out the ogre; "I smell
him, wife, I smell him." "Do you, my dearie?" says the ogre's wife.
"Then if it's that little rogue that stole your gold and the hen that laid the golden
eggs he's sure to have got into the oven." And they both rushed to the oven.
But Jack wasn't there, luckily, and the ogre's wife said: "There you are again with
your fee-fi-fo-fum.
Why of course it's the laddie you caught last night that I've broiled for your
breakfast.
How forgetful I am, and how careless you are not to tell the difference between a
live un and a dead un."
So the ogre sat down to the breakfast and ate it, but every now and then he would
mutter: "Well, I could have sworn----" and he'd get up and search the larder and the
cupboards, and everything, only luckily he didn't think of the copper.
After breakfast was over, the ogre called out: "Wife, wife, bring me my golden harp."
So she brought it and put it on the table before him.
Then he said: "Sing!" and the golden harp sang most beautifully.
And it went on singing till the ogre fell asleep, and commenced to snore like
thunder.
Then Jack lifted up the copper-lid very quietly and got down like a mouse and crept
on hands and knees till he got to the table when he got up and caught hold of the
golden harp and dashed with it towards the door.
But the harp called out quite loud: "Master!
Master!" and the ogre woke up just in time to see Jack running off with his harp.
Jack ran as fast as he could, and the ogre came rushing after, and would soon have
caught him only Jack had a start and dodged him a bit and knew where he was going.
When he got to the beanstalk the ogre was not more than twenty yards away when
suddenly he saw Jack disappear like, and when he got up to the end of the road he
saw Jack underneath climbing down for dear life.
Well, the ogre didn't like trusting himself to such a ladder, and he stood and waited,
so Jack got another start.
But just then the harp cried out: "Master! master!" and the ogre swung himself down on
to the beanstalk which shook with his weight.
Down climbs Jack, and after him climbed the ogre.
By this time Jack had climbed down and climbed down and climbed down till he was
very nearly home.
So he called out: "Mother! mother! bring me an axe, bring me an axe."
And his mother came rushing out with the axe in her hand, but when she came to the
beanstalk she stood stock still with fright for there she saw the ogre just coming down
below the clouds.
But Jack jumped down and got hold of the axe and gave a chop at the beanstalk which
cut it half in two.
The ogre felt the beanstalk shake and quiver so he stopped to see what was the
matter.
Then Jack gave another chop with the axe, and the beanstalk was cut in two and began
to topple over.
Then the ogre fell down and broke his crown, and the beanstalk came toppling
after.
Then Jack showed his mother his golden harp, and what with showing that and
selling the golden eggs, Jack and his mother became very rich, and he married a
great princess, and they lived happy ever after.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 14: The Story of the Three Little Pigs
Once upon a time when pigs spoke rhyme And monkeys chewed tobacco,
And hens took snuff to make them tough, And ducks went quack, quack, quack, O!
There was an old sow with three little pigs, and as she had not enough to keep
them, she sent them out to seek their fortune.
The first that went off met a man with a bundle of straw, and said to him:
"Please, man, give me that straw to build me a house."
Which the man did, and the little pig built a house with it.
Presently came along a wolf, and knocked at the door, and said:
"Little pig, little pig, let me come in."
To which the pig answered: "No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin
chin." The wolf then answered to that:
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."
So he huffed, and he puffed, and he blew his house in, and ate up the little pig.
The second little pig met a man with a bundle of furze, and said:
"Please, man, give me that furze to build a house."
Which the man did, and the pig built his house.
Then along came the wolf, and said: "Little pig, little pig, let me come in."
"No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin chin."
"Then I'll puff, and I'll huff, and I'll blow your house in."
So he huffed, and he puffed, and he puffed, and he huffed, and at last he blew the
house down, and he ate up the little pig. The third little pig met a man with a load
of bricks, and said:
"Please, man, give me those bricks to build a house with."
So the man gave him the bricks, and he built his house with them.
So the wolf came, as he did to the other little pigs, and said:
"Little pig, little pig, let me come in." "No, no, by the hair of my chiny chin
chin."
"Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in."
Well, he huffed, and he puffed, and he huffed and he puffed, and he puffed and
huffed; but he could not get the house down.
When he found that he could not, with all his huffing and puffing, blow the house
down, he said: "Little pig, I know where there is a nice
field of turnips."
"Where?" said the little pig. "Oh, in Mr. Smith's Home-field, and if you
will be ready tomorrow morning I will call for you, and we will go together, and get
some for dinner."
"Very well," said the little pig, "I will be ready.
What time do you mean to go?" "Oh, at six o'clock."
Well, the little pig got up at five, and got the turnips before the wolf came (which
he did about six) and who said: "Little Pig, are you ready?"
The little pig said: "Ready!
I have been and come back again, and got a nice potful for dinner."
The wolf felt very angry at this, but thought that he would be up to the little
pig somehow or other, so he said:
"Little pig, I know where there is a nice apple-tree."
"Where?" said the pig.
"Down at Merry-garden," replied the wolf, "and if you will not deceive me I will come
for you, at five o'clock tomorrow and get some apples."
Well, the little pig bustled up the next morning at four o'clock, and went off for
the apples, hoping to get back before the wolf came; but he had further to go, and
had to climb the tree, so that just as he
was coming down from it, he saw the wolf coming, which, as you may suppose,
frightened him very much. When the wolf came up he said:
"Little pig, what! are you here before me?
Are they nice apples?" "Yes, very," said the little pig.
"I will throw you down one."
And he threw it so far, that, while the wolf was gone to pick it up, the little pig
jumped down and ran home. The next day the wolf came again, and said
to the little pig:
"Little pig, there is a fair at Shanklin this afternoon, will you go?"
"Oh yes," said the pig, "I will go; what time shall you be ready?"
"At three," said the wolf.
So the little pig went off before the time as usual, and got to the fair, and bought a
butter-churn, which he was going home with, when he saw the wolf coming.
Then he could not tell what to do.
So he got into the churn to hide, and by so doing turned it round, and it rolled down
the hill with the pig in it, which frightened the wolf so much, that he ran
home without going to the fair.
He went to the little pig's house, and told him how frightened he had been by a great
round thing which came down the hill past him.
Then the little pig said:
"Hah, I frightened you, then. I had been to the fair and bought a butter-
churn, and when I saw you, I got into it, and rolled down the hill."
Then the wolf was very angry indeed, and declared he would eat up the little pig,
and that he would get down the chimney after him.
When the little pig saw what he was about, he hung on the pot full of water, and made
up a blazing fire, and, just as the wolf was coming down, took off the cover, and in
fell the wolf; so the little pig put on the
cover again in an instant, boiled him up, and ate him for supper, and lived happy
ever afterwards.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 15: The Master and His Pupil
There was once a very learned man in the north-country who knew all the languages
under the sun, and who was acquainted with all the mysteries of creation.
He had one big book bound in black calf and clasped with iron, and with iron corners,
and chained to a table which was made fast to the floor; and when he read out of this
book, he unlocked it with an iron key, and
none but he read from it, for it contained all the secrets of the spiritual world.
It told how many angels there were in heaven, and how they marched in their
ranks, and sang in their quires, and what were their several functions, and what was
the name of each great angel of might.
And it told of the demons, how many of them there were, and what were their several
powers, and their labours, and their names, and how they might be summoned, and how
tasks might be imposed on them, and how
they might be chained to be as slaves to man.
Now the master had a pupil who was but a foolish lad, and he acted as servant to the
great master, but never was he suffered to look into the black book, hardly to enter
the private room.
One day the master was out, and then the lad, as curious as could be, hurried to the
chamber where his master kept his wondrous apparatus for changing copper into gold,
and lead into silver, and where was his
mirror in which he could see all that was passing in the world, and where was the
shell which when held to the ear whispered all the words that were being spoken by
anyone the master desired to know about.
The lad tried in vain with the crucibles to turn copper and lead into gold and silver--
he looked long and vainly into the mirror; smoke and clouds passed over it, but he saw
nothing plain, and the shell to his ear
produced only indistinct murmurings, like the breaking of distant seas on an unknown
shore.
"I can do nothing," he said; "as I don't know the right words to utter, and they are
locked up in yon book."
He looked round, and, see! the book was unfastened; the master had forgotten to
lock it before he went out. The boy rushed to it, and unclosed the
volume.
It was written with red and black ink, and much of it he could not understand; but he
put his finger on a line and spelled it through.
At once the room was darkened, and the house trembled; a clap of thunder rolled
through the passage and the old room, and there stood before him a horrible, horrible
form, breathing fire, and with eyes like burning lamps.
It was the demon Beelzebub, whom he had called up to serve him.
"Set me a task!" said he, with a voice like the roaring of an iron furnace.
The boy only trembled, and his hair stood up.
"Set me a task, or I shall strangle thee!"
But the lad could not speak. Then the evil spirit stepped towards him,
and putting forth his hands touched his throat.
The fingers burned his flesh.
"Set me a task!" "Water yon flower," cried the boy in
despair, pointing to a geranium which stood in a pot on the floor.
Instantly the spirit left the room, but in another instant he returned with a barrel
on his back, and poured its contents over the flower; and again and again he went and
came, and poured more and more water, till the floor of the room was ankle-deep.
"Enough, enough!" gasped the lad; but the demon heeded him not; the lad didn't know
the words by which to send him away, and still he fetched water.
It rose to the boy's knees and still more water was poured.
It mounted to his waist, and Beelzebub still kept on bringing barrels full.
It rose to his armpits, and he scrambled to the table-top.
And now the water in the room stood up to the window and washed against the glass,
and swirled around his feet on the table.
It still rose; it reached his breast. In vain he cried; the evil spirit would not
be dismissed, and to this day he would have been pouring water, and would have drowned
all Yorkshire.
But the master remembered on his journey that he had not locked his book, and
therefore returned, and at the moment when the water was bubbling about the pupil's
chin, rushed into the room and spoke the
words which cast Beelzebub back into his fiery home.
>
English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 16: Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse
Titty Mouse and Tatty Mouse both lived in a house,
Titty Mouse went a leasing and Tatty Mouse went a leasing,
So they both went a leasing.
Titty Mouse leased an ear of corn, and Tatty Mouse leased an ear of corn,
So they both leased an ear of corn. Titty Mouse made a pudding, and Tatty Mouse
made a pudding,
So they both made a pudding. And Tatty Mouse put her pudding into the
pot to boil, But when Titty went to put hers in, the pot
tumbled over, and scalded her to death.
Then Tatty sat down and wept; then a three- legged stool said: "Tatty, why do you
weep?"
"Titty's dead," said Tatty, "and so I weep;" "then," said the stool, "I'll hop,"
so the stool hopped. Then a broom in the corner of the room
said, "Stool, why do you hop?"
"Oh!" said the stool, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and so I hop;" "then," said
the broom, "I'll sweep," so the broom began to sweep.
"Then," said the door, "Broom, why do you sweep?"
"Oh!" said the broom, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and the stool hops, and so I
sweep;" "Then," said the door, "I'll jar," so the door jarred.
"Then," said the window, "Door, why do you jar?"
"Oh!" said the door, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and the stool hops, and the
broom sweeps, and so I jar."
"Then," said the window, "I'll creak," so the window creaked.
Now there was an old form outside the house, and when the window creaked, the
form said: "Window, why do you creak?"
"Oh!" said the window, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and the stool hops, and the
broom sweeps, the door jars, and so I creak."
"Then," said the old form, "I'll run round the house;" then the old form ran round the
house.
Now there was a fine large walnut-tree growing by the cottage, and the tree said
to the form: "Form, why do you run round the house?"
"Oh!" said the form, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, and the stool hops, and the
broom sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, and so I run round the house."
"Then," said the walnut-tree, "I'll shed my leaves," so the walnut- tree shed all its
beautiful green leaves.
Now there was a little bird perched on one of the boughs of the tree, and when all the
leaves fell, it said: "Walnut-tree, why do you shed your leaves?"
"Oh!" said the tree, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, the stool hops, and the broom
sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, the old form runs round the house,
and so I shed my leaves."
"Then," said the little bird, "I'll moult all my feathers," so he moulted all his
pretty feathers.
Now there was a little girl walking below, carrying a jug of milk for her brothers and
sisters' supper, and when she saw the poor little bird moult all its feathers, she
said: "Little bird, why do you moult all your feathers?"
"Oh!" said the little bird, "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, the stool hops, and the
broom sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, the old form runs round the house,
the walnut-tree sheds its leaves, and so I moult all my feathers."
"Then," said the little girl, "I'll spill the milk," so she dropt the pitcher and
spilt the milk.
Now there was an old man just by on the top of a ladder thatching a rick, and when he
saw the little girl spill the milk, he said: "Little girl, what do you mean by
spilling the milk, your little brothers and sisters must go without their supper."
Then said the little girl: "Titty's dead, and Tatty weeps, the stool hops, and the
broom sweeps, the door jars, and the window creaks, the old form runs round the house,
the walnut-tree sheds all its leaves, the
little bird moults all its feathers, and so I spill the milk."
"Oh!" said the old man, "then I'll tumble off the ladder and break my neck," so he
tumbled off the ladder and broke his neck; and when the old man broke his neck, the
great walnut-tree fell down with a crash,
and upset the old form and house, and the house falling knocked the window out, and
the window knocked the door down, and the door upset the broom, and the broom upset
the stool, and poor little Tatty Mouse was buried beneath the ruins.
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English Fairy Tales Collected by Joseph Jacobs
Chapter 17: Jack and His Golden Snuff-Box
Once upon a time, and a very good time it was, though it was neither in my time nor
in your time nor in any one else's time, there was an old man and an old woman, and
they had one son, and they lived in a great forest.
And their son never saw any other people in his life, but he knew that there was some
more in the world besides his own father and mother, because he had lots of books,
and he used to read every day about them.
And when he read about some pretty young women, he used to go mad to see some of
them; till one day, when his father was out cutting wood, he told his mother that he
wished to go away to look for his living in
some other country, and to see some other people besides them two.
And he said, "I see nothing at all here but great trees around me; and if I stay here,
maybe I shall go mad before I see anything."
The young man's father was out all this time, when this talk was going on between
him and his poor old mother.
The old woman begins by saying to her son before leaving, "Well, well, my poor boy,
if you want to go, it's better for you to go, and God be with you."--(The old woman
thought for the best when she said that.)-- "But stop a bit before you go.
Which would you like best for me to make you, a little cake and bless you, or a big
cake and curse you?"
"Dear, dear!" said he, "make me a big cake. Maybe I shall be hungry on the road."
The old woman made the big cake, and she went on top of the house, and she cursed
him as far as she could see him.
He presently meets with his father, and the old man says to him: "Where are you going,
my poor boy?" when the son told the father the same tale as he told his mother.
"Well," says his father, "I'm sorry to see you going away, but if you've made your
mind to go, it's better for you to go."
The poor lad had not gone far, when his father called him back; then the old man
drew out of his pocket a golden snuff-box, and said to him: "Here, take this little
box, and put it in your pocket, and be sure
not to open it till you are near your death."
And away went poor Jack upon his road, and walked till he was tired and hungry, for he
had eaten all his cake upon the road; and by this time night was upon him, so he
could hardly see his way before him.
He could see some light a long way before him, and he made up to it, and found the
back door and knocked at it, till one of the maid-servants came and asked him what
he wanted.
He said that night was on him, and he wanted to get some place to sleep.
The maid-servant called him in to the fire, and gave him plenty to eat, good meat and
bread and beer; and as he was eating his food by the fire, there came the young lady
to look at him, and she loved him well and he loved her.
And the young lady ran to tell her father, and said there was a pretty young man in
the back kitchen; and immediately the gentleman came to him, and questioned him,
and asked what work he could do.
Jack said, the silly fellow, that he could do anything.
(He meant that he could do any foolish bit of work, that would be wanted about the
house.)
"Well," says the gentleman to him, "if you can do anything, at eight o'clock in the
morning I must have a great lake and some of-the largest man-of-war vessels sailing
before my mansion, and one of the largest
vessels must fire a royal salute, and the last round must break the leg of the bed
where my young daughter is sleeping. And if you don't do that, you will have to
forfeit your life."
"All right," said Jack; and away he went to his bed, and said his prayers quietly, and
slept till it was near eight o'clock, and he had hardly any time to think what he was
to do, till all of a sudden he remembered
about the little golden box that his father gave him.
And he said to himself: "Well, well, I never was so near my death as I am now;"
and then he felt in his pocket, and drew the little box out.
And when he opened it, out there hopped three little red men, and asked Jack: "What
is your will with us?"
"Well," said Jack, "I want a great lake and some of the largest man-of-war vessels in
the world before this mansion, and one of the largest vessels to fire a royal salute,
and the last round to break one of the legs
of the bed where this young lady is sleeping."
"All right," said the little men; "go to sleep."
Jack had hardly time to bring the words out of his mouth, to tell the little men what
to do, but what it struck eight o'clock, when Bang, bang went one of the largest
man-of-war vessels; and it made Jack jump
out of bed to look through the window; and I can assure you it was a wonderful sight
for him to see, after being so long with his father and mother living in a wood.
By this time Jack dressed himself, and said his prayers, and came down laughing; for he
was proud, he was, because the thing was done so well.
The gentleman comes to him, and says to him: "Well, my young man, I must say that
you are very clever indeed. Come and have some breakfast."
And the gentleman tells him, "Now there are two more things you have to do, and then
you shall have my daughter in marriage."
Jack gets his breakfast, and has a good squint at the young lady, and also she at
him.
The other thing that the gentleman told him to do was to fell all the great trees for
miles around by eight o'clock in the morning; and, to make my long story short,
it was done, and it pleased the gentleman
well The gentleman said to him: "The other thing you have to do"--(and it was the last
thing)--"you must get me a great castle standing on twelve golden pillars; and
there must come regiments of soldiers and go through their drill.
At eight o'clock the commanding officer must say, 'Shoulder up.'"
"All right," said Jack; when the third and last morning came the third great feat was
finished, and he had the young daughter in marriage.
But, oh dear! there is worse to come yet.
The gentleman now makes a large hunting party, and invites all the gentlemen around
the country to it, and to see the castle as well.
And by this time Jack has a beautiful horse and a scarlet dress to go with them.
On that morning his valet, when putting Jack's clothes by, after changing them to
go a hunting, put his hand in one of Jack's waistcoat-pockets, and pulled out the
little golden snuffbox, as poor Jack left behind in a mistake.
And that man opened the little box, and there hopped the three little red men out,
and asked him what he wanted with them.
"Well," said the valet to them, "I want this castle to be moved from this place far
and far across the sea." "All right," said the little red men to
him; "do you wish to go with it?"
"Yes," said he. "Well, get up," said they to him; and away
they went far and far over the great sea.
Now the grand hunting party comes back, and the castle upon the twelve golden pillars
had disappeared, to the great disappointment of those gentlemen as did
not see it before.
That poor silly Jack is threatened by taking his beautiful young wife from him,
for taking them in in the way he did.
But the gentleman at last made an agreement with him, and he is to have a twelvemonths
and a day to look for it; and off he goes with a good horse and money in his pocket.
Now poor Jack goes in search of his missing castle, over hills, dales, valleys, and
mountains, through woolly woods and sheepwalks, further than I can tell you or
ever intend to tell you.
Until at last he comes up to the place where lives the King of all the little mice
in the world.
There was one of the little mice on sentry at the front gate going up to the palace,
and did try to stop Jack from going in. He asked the little mouse: "Where does the
King live?
I should like to see him." This one sent another with him to show him
the place; and when the King saw him, he called him in.
And the King questioned him, and asked him where he was going that way.
Well, Jack told him all the truth, that he had lost the great castle, and was going to
look for it, and he had a whole twelvemonths and a day to find it out.
And Jack asked him whether he knew anything about it; and the King said: "No, but I am
the King of all the little mice in the world, and I will call them all up in the
morning, and maybe they have seen something of it."
Then Jack got a good meal and bed, and in the morning he and the King went on to the
fields; and the King called all the mice together, and asked them whether they had
seen the great beautiful castle standing on golden pillars.
And all the little mice said, No, there was none of them had seen it.
The old King said to him that he had two other brothers: "One is the King of all the
frogs; and my other brother, who is the oldest, he is the King of all the birds in
the world.
And if you go there, may be they know something about the missing castle."
The King said to him: "Leave your horse here with me till you come back, and take
one of my best horses under you, and give this cake to my brother; he will know then
who you got it from.
Mind and tell him I am well, and should like dearly to see him."
And then the King and Jack shook hands together.
And when Jack was going through the gates, the little mouse asked him, should he go
with him; and Jack said to him: "No, I shall get myself into trouble with the
King."
And the little thing told him: "It will be better for you to let me go with you; maybe
I shall do some good to you some time without you knowing it."
"Jump up, then."
And the little mouse ran up the horse's leg, and made it dance; and Jack put the
mouse in his pocket.
Now Jack, after wishing good morning to the King and pocketing the little mouse which
was on sentry, trudged on his way; and such a long way he had to go and this was his
first day.
At last he found the place; and there was one of the frogs on sentry, and gun upon
his shoulder, and did try to hinder Jack from going in; but when Jack said to him
that he wanted to see the King, he allowed him to pass; and Jack made up to the door.
The King came out, and asked him his business; and Jack told him all from
beginning to end.
"Well, well, come in." He gets good entertainment that night; and
in the morning the King made such a funny sound, and collected all the frogs in the
world.
And he asked them, did they know or see anything of a castle that stood upon twelve
golden pillars; and they all made a curious sound, Kro-kro, kro-kro, and said, No.
Jack had to take another horse, and a cake to this King's brother, who is the King of
all the fowls of the air; and as Jack was going through the gates, the little frog
that was on sentry asked John should he go with him.
Jack refused him for a bit; but at last he told him to jump up, and Jack put him in
his other waistcoat pocket.
And away he went again on his great long journey; it was three times as long this
time as it was the first day; however, he found the place, and there was a fine bird
on sentry.
And Jack passed him, and he never said a word to him; and he talked with the King,
and told him everything, all about the castle.
"Well," said the King to him, "you shall know in the morning from my birds, whether
they know anything or not."
Jack put up his horse in the stable, and then went to bed, after having something to
eat.
And when he got up in the morning the King and he went on to some field, and there the
King made some funny noise, and there came all the fowls that were in all the world.
And the King asked them; "Did they see the fine castle?" and all the birds answered,
No. "Well," said the King, "where is the great
bird?"
They had to wait then for a long time for the eagle to make his appearance, when at
last he came all in a perspiration, after sending two little birds high up in the sky
to whistle on him to make all the haste he possibly could.
The King asked the great bird, Did he see the great castle? and the bird said: "Yes,
I came from there where it now is."
"Well," says the King to him; "this young gentleman has lost it, and you must go with
him back to it; but stop till you get a bit of something to eat first."
They killed a thief, and sent the best part of it to feed the eagle on his journey over
the seas, and had to carry Jack on his back.
Now when they came in sight of the castle, they did not know what to do to get the
little golden box.
Well, the little mouse said to them: "Leave me down, and I will get the little box for
you."
So the mouse stole into the castle, and got hold of the box; and when he was coming
down the stairs, it fell down, and he was very near being caught.
He came running out with it, laughing his best.
"Have you got it?"
Jack said to him; he said: "Yes;" and off they went back again, and left the castle
behind.
As they were all of them (Jack, mouse, frog, and eagle) passing over the great
sea, they fell to quarrelling about which it was that got the little box, till down
it slipped into the water.
(It was by them looking at it and handing it from one hand to the other that they
dropped the little box to the bottom of the sea.)
"Well, well," said the frog, "I knew that I would have to do something, so you had
better let me go down in the water."
And they let him go, and he was down for three days and three nights; and up he
comes, and shows his nose and little mouth out of the water; and all of them asked
him, Did he get it? and he told them, No.
"Well, what are you doing there, then?" "Nothing at all," he said, "only I want my
full breath;" and the poor little frog went down the second time, and he was down for a
day and a night, and up he brings it.
And away they did go, after being there four days and nights; and after a long tug
over seas and mountains, arrive at the palace of the old King, who is the master
of all the birds in the world.
And the King is very proud to see them, and has a hearty welcome and a long
conversation.
Jack opens the little box, and told the little men to go back and to bring the
castle here to them; "and all of you make as much haste back again as you possibly
can."
The three little men went off; and when they came near the castle they were afraid
to go to it till the gentleman and lady and all the servants were gone out to some
dance.
And there was no one left behind there only the cook and another maid with her; and the
little red men asked them which would they rather--go, or stop behind? and they both
said: "I will go with you;" and the little men told them to run upstairs quick.
They were no sooner up and in one of the drawing-rooms than here comes just in sight
the gentleman and lady and all the servants; but it was too late.
Off the castle went at full speed, with the women laughing at them through the window,
while they made motions for them to stop, but all to no purpose.
They were nine days on their journey, in which they did try to keep the Sunday holy,
when one of the little men turned to be the priest, the other the clerk, and third
presided at the organ, and the women were
the singers, for they had a grand chapel in the castle already.
Very remarkable, there was a discord made in the music, and one of the little men ran
up one of the organ-pipes to see where the bad sound came from, when he found out it
only happened to be that the two women were
laughing at the little red man stretching his little legs full length on the bass
pipes, also his two arms the same time, with his little red night-cap, which he
never forgot to wear, and what they never
witnessed before, could not help calling forth some good merriment while on the face
of the deep.
And poor thing! through them not going on with what they begun with, they very near
came to danger, as the castle was once very near sinking in the middle of the sea.
At length, after a merry journey, they come again to Jack and the King.
The King was quite struck with the sight of the castle; and going up the golden stairs,
went to see the inside.
The King was very much pleased with the castle, but poor Jack's time of a
twelvemonths and a day was drawing to a close; and he, wishing to go home to his
young wife, gives orders to the three
little men to get ready by the next morning at eight o'clock to be off to the next
brother, and to stop there for one night; also to proceed from there to the last or
the youngest brother, the master of all the
mice in the world, in such place where the castle shall be left under his care until
it's sent for. Jack takes a farewell of the King, and
thanks him very much for his hospitality.
Away went Jack and his castle again, and stopped one night in that place; and away
they went again to the third place, and there left the castle under his care.
As Jack had to leave the castle behind, he had to take to his own horse, which he left
there when he first started.
Now poor Jack leaves his castle behind and faces towards home; and after having so
much merriment with the three brothers every night, Jack became sleepy on
horseback, and would have lost the road if
it was not for the little men a-guiding him.
At last he arrived weary and tired, and they did not seem to receive him with any
kindness whatever, because he had not found the stolen castle; and to make it worse, he
was disappointed in not seeing his young
and beautiful wife to come and meet him, through being hindered by her parents.
But that did not stop long.
Jack put full power on and despatched the little men off to bring the castle from
there, and they soon got there.
Jack shook hands with the King, and returned many thanks for his kingly
kindness in minding the castle for him; and then Jack instructed the little men to spur
up and put speed on.
And off they went, and were not long before they reached their journey's end, when out
comes the young wife to meet him with a fine lump of a young SON, and they all
lived happy ever afterwards.
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