Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin.

Tales of laughter : a third fairy book online

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in a corner the fox in one, Graylegs in another, Bruin in
a third, and the old crone in a fourth.

But as soon as it was broad daylight, Reynard began to
peep and peer, and to twist and turn about, for he thought
he might- as well try to get out.

But the old lass cried out : " Canst thou not sit still, thou
whirligig thief, and not go twisting and turning? Only look
at Father Bruin himself in the corner, how he sits as grave
as a judge," for now she thought she might as well make
friends with the bear. But just then up came the man who
owned the pitfall. First he drew up the old wife, and after
that he slew all the beasts, and spared neither Father Bruin
himself in the corner, nor Graylegs, nor Reynard the whirli-
gig thief. That night, at least, he thought he had made a
good haul.

[290]



the Sea is Salt



upon a time, long, long ago, there were two
brothers, the one rich and the other poor. When
Christmas eve came the poor one had not a bite in the
house, either of meat or bread ; so he went to his brother and
begged him, in Heaven's name, to give him something for
Christmas Day. It was by no means the first time that the
brother had been forced to give something to him, and he was
not better pleased at being asked now than he generally was.

" If you will do what I ask you, you shall have a whole
ham," said he. The poor one immediately thanked him and
promised this.

" Well, here is the ham, and now you must go straight to
Dead Man's Hall," said the rich brother, throwing the ham
to him.

" Well, I will do what I have promised," said the other,
and he took the ham and set off. He went on and on for
the livelong day, and at nightfall he came to a place where
there was a bright light.

" I have no doubt this is the place," thought the man with
the ham, and he drew near an old man with a long white
beard who was standing in the outhouse chopping Yule-logs.

" Good evening," said the man with the ham.

" Good evening to you. Where are you going at this late
hour ? " said the man.

" I am going to Dead Man's Hall, if only I am in the right
track," answered the poor man.

" Oh, yes, you are right enough, for it is here," said the
old man. " When you get inside they will all want to buy
your ham, for they don't get much meat to eat there. But
you must not sell it unless you can get for it the hand-mill



TALES OF LAUGHTER

which stands behind the door. When you come out again I
will teach you how to stop the hand-mill, which is useful for
almost everything."

So the man with the ham thanked the other for his good
advice and rapped at the door.

When he got in, everything happened just as the old man
had said it would : all the people, great and small, came round
him like ants on an ant-hill, and each tried to outbid the other
for the ham.

" By rights my old woman and I ought to have it for our
Christmas dinner, but since you have set your hearts upon it
I must just give it up to you," said the man. " But if I sell it I
will have the hand-mill which is standing there behind the
door."

At first they would not hear to this, and haggled and bar-
gained with the man, but he stuck to what he had said, and
the people were forced to give him the hand-mill. When the
man came out again into the yard he asked the old wood-
cutter how he was to stop the hand-mill, and when he had
learned that, he thanked him and set off home with all the
speed he could, but did not get there until after the clock had
struck twelve on Christmas eve.

" But where in the world have you been ? " said the old
woman. " Here I have sat waiting hour after hour, and have
not even two sticks to lay across each other under the Christ-
mas porridge-pot."

" Oh, I could not come before. I had something of im-
portance to see about, and a long way to go, too; but now
you shall just see ! " said the man, and then he set the hand-
mill on the table and bade it first grind light, then a table-
cloth, and then meat, and beer, and everything else that was
good for a Christmas eve's supper; and the mill ground all
that he ordered. " Bless me ! " said the old woman as one
thing after another appeared ; and she wanted to know where
her husband had got the mill from, but he would not tell her
that.

" Never mind where I got it. You can see that it is a good

[292]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

one, and the water that turns it will never freeze," said the
man. So he ground meat and drink and all kinds of good
things to last all Christmastide, and on the third day he in-
vited all his friends to come to a feast.

Now, when the rich brother saw all that there was at the
banquet, and in the house, he was both vexed and angry, for
he grudged everything his brother had. " On Christmas eve
he was so poor that he came to me and begged for a trifle,
for Heaven's sake, and now he gives a feast as if he were
both a count and a king ! " thought he. " But tell me, I pray
you, where you got your riches from ? " said he to his brother.

" From behind the door," said he who owned the mill, for
he did not choose to satisfy his brother on that point; but
later in the evening, when he had taken a drop too much, he
could not refrain from telling how he had come by the hand-
mill. " There you see what has brought me all my wealth ! "
said he, and brought out the mill and made it grind first one
thing and then another. When the brother saw that, he in-
sisted on having the mill, and after a great deal of persuasion
got it ; but he had to give three hundred dollars for it, and the
poor brother was to keep it till the hay-making was over, for
he thought: " If I keep it as long as that, I can make it grind
meat and drink that will last many a long year." During that
time you may imagine that the mill did not grow rusty, and
when hay-harvest came the rich brother got it, but the other
had taken good care not to teach him how to stop it. It was
evening when the rich man got the mill home, and in the
morning he bade his wife go out and spread the hay after the
mowers, and he would attend to the house himself that day.

So when dinner-time drew near he set the mill on the kitchen
table and said : " Grind herrings and milk pottage, and do it
both quickly and well."

So the mill began to grind herrings and milk pottage, and
first all the dishes and tubs were filled, and then the food came
out all over the kitchen floor. The man twisted and turned
the mill and did all he could to make it stop, but howsoever
he turned and screwed, it went on grinding, and in a short

[293]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

time the pottage rose so high that the man was like to be
drowned. So he threw open the parlor door, but it was not
long before the mill had ground the parlor full too, and it was
with difficulty and danger that the man could go through the
stream of pottage and get hold of the door-latch. When he hatl
the door open he did not stay long in the room, but ran out,
and the herrings and pottage came after him, and streamed
out over both farm and field. Now, the wife, who was out
spreading the hay, began to think dinner was long in coming,
and said to the women and the mowers : " Though the master
does not call us home, we may as well go. It may be that
he finds he is not good at making pottage, and I should do
well to help him." So they began to straggle homeward, but
when they had got a little way up the hill they met the her-
rings and pottage and bread, all pouring forth and winding
about one over the other, and the man himself in front of the
flood. " Would to Heaven that each of you had a hundred
stomachs ! Take care that you are not drowned in the pot-
tage," he cried as he went by them as if mischief were at his
heels, down to where his brother dwelt. Then he begged
him, for pity's sake, to take the mill back again, and that in
an instant, " for," said he, " if it grind one hour more the
whole district will be destroyed by herrings and pottage." But
the brother would not take it until the other paid him three
hundred dollars, and that he was obliged to do. Now the
poor brother had both the money and the mill again. So it
was not long before he had a farmhouse much finer than that
in which his brother lived, but the mill ground him so much
money that he covered it with plates of gold; and the farm-
house lay close by the seashore, so it shone and glittered far
out to sea. Every one who sailed by there now had to put in
to visit the rich man in the gold farmhouse, and every one
wanted to see the wonderful mill, for the report of it spread
far and wide, and there was no one who had not heard tell
of it.

After a long, long time a skipper came who wished to sec
the mill. He asked if it could make salt. " Yes, it could make

[294]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

salt," said he who owned it, and when the skipper heard that
he wished with all his might and main to have the mill, let it
cost what it might, for, he thought, if he had it he would get
off having to sail far away over the perilous sea for freights
of salt. At first the man would not hear of parting with it,
but the skipper begged and prayed, and at last the man sold
it to him, and got many, many thousand dollars for it. When
the skipper had the mill on his back he did not long stay there,
for he was so afraid that the man would change his mind, and
he had no time to ask how he was to stop its grinding, but
got on board his ship as fast as he could.

When he had gone a little way out to sea he took the mill
on deck. " Grind salt, and grind both quickly and well," said
the skipper. So the mill began to grind salt till it spouted out
like water, and when the skipper had the ship filled he wanted
to stop the mill, but whichever way he turned it and howso-
ever much he tried it went on grinding, and the heap of salt
grew higher and higher, until at last the ship sank. There
lies the mill at the bottom of the sea, and still, day by day, it
grinds on ; and that is why the sea is salt.



[295]



Gudbrand on the Hillside

^f^ HERE was once upon a time a man whose name was

i Gudbrand. He had a farm which lay far away up
JL on the side of a hill, and therefore they called him

Gudbrand on the hillside.

He and his wife lived so happily together, and agreed so
well, that whatever the man did the wife thought it so well
done that no one could do it better. No matter what he did,
she thought it was always the right thing.

They lived on their own farm, and had a hundred dollars
at the bottom of their chest and two cows in their cow-shed.
One day the woman said to Gudbrand:

" I think we ought to go to town with one of the cows and
sell it, so that we may have some ready money by us. We
are pretty well off, and ought to have a few shillings in our
pocket like other people. The hundred dollars in the chest we
mustn't touch, but I can't see what we want with more than
one cow, and it will be much better for us, as I shall have only
one to look after instead of the two I have now to mind and
feed."

Yes, Gudbrand thought, that was well and sensibly spoken.
He took the cow at once and went to town to sell it ; but when
he got there no one would buy the cow.

" Ah, well ! " thought Gudbrand, " I may as well take the
cow home again. I know I have both stall and food for it,
and the way home is no longer than it was here." So he
strolled homeward again with the cow.

When he had got a bit on the way he met a man who
had a horse to sell, and Gudbrand thought it was better to
have a horse than a cow, and so he changed the cow for the
horse.

[296]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

When he had gone a bit farther he met a man who was
driving a fat pig before him, and then he thought it would
be better to have a fat pig than a horse, and so he changed
with the man.

He now went a bit farther, and then he met a man with a
goat, and so he thought it was surely better to have a goat
than a pig, and changed with the man who had the goat.

Then he went a long way, till he met a man who had a
sheep. He changed with him, for he thought it was always
better to have a sheep than a goat.

When he had got a bit farther he met a man with a goose,
and so he changed the sheep for the goose. And when he had
gone a long, long way he met a man with a cock. He changed
the goose with him, for he thought this wise : " It is surely
better to have a cock than a goose."

He walked on till late in the day, when he began to feel
hungry. So he sold the cock for sixpence and bought some
food for himself. " For it is always better to keep body and
soul together than to have a cock," thought Gudbrand.

He then set off again homeward till he came to his neigh-
bor's farm, and there he went in.

" How did you get on in town ? " asked the people.

" Oh, only so-so," said the man. " I can't boast of my luck,
nor can I grumble at it either." And then he told them how
it had gone with him from first to last.

" Well, you'll have a fine reception when you get home to
your wife," said the man. " Heaven help you ! I should not
like to be in your place."

" I think I might have fared much worse," said Gud-
brand ; " but whether I have fared well or ill, I have such
a kind wife that she never says anything, no matter what I
do."

" Aye, so you say ; but you won't get me to believe it," said
the neighbor.

" Shall we have a wager on it? " said Gudbrand. " I have
a hundred dollars in my chest at home. Will you lay the
same?"

[2971



TALES OF LAUGHTER

So they made the wager and Gudbrand remained there till
the evening, when it began to get dark, and then they went
together to the farm.

The neighbor was to remain outside the door and listen
while Gudbrand went in to his wife.

" Good evening ! " said Gudbrand when he came in.

" Good evening ! " said the wife. " Heaven be praised you
are back again."

" Yes, here I am ! " said the man. And then the wife asked
him how he had got on in town.

" Oh, so-so," answered Gudbrand. " Not much to brag of.
When I came to town no one would buy the cow, so I changed
it for a horse."

" Oh, I'm so glad of that," said the woman. " We are pretty
well off and we ought to drive to church like other people,
and when we can afford to keep a horse I don't see why we
should not have one. Run out, children, and put the horse in
the stable."

" Well, I haven't got the horse, after all," said Gudbrand ;
" for when I had got a bit on the way I changed it for a pig."

" Dear me ! " cried the woman, " that's the very thing I
should have done myself. I'm so glad of that, for now we
can have some bacon in the house and something to offer
people when they come to see us. What do we want with a
horse? People would only say we had become so grand that
we could no longer walk to church. Run out, children, and
let the pig in."

" But I haven't got the pig either," said Gudbrand, " for
when I had got a bit farther on the road I changed it into a
milch goat."

" Dear ! dear ! how well you manage everything ! " cried the
wife. " When I really come to think of it, what do I want
with the pig ? People would only say : ' Over yonder they eat
up everything they have.' No, now I have a goat I can have
both milk and cheese and keep the goat into the bargain. Let
in the goat, children."

"But I haven't got the goat either," said Gudbrand.

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TALES OF LAUGHTER

" When I got a bit on the way I changed the goat and got a
fine sheep for it."

" Well ! " returned the woman, " you do everything just as
I should wish it just as if I had been there myself. What
do we want with a goat? I should have to climb up hill and
down dale to get it home at night. No, when I have a sheep
I can have wool and clothes in the house and food as well.
Run out, children, and let in the sheep."

" But I haven't got the sheep any longer," said Gudbrand,
" for when I had got a bit on the way I changed it for a
goose."

" Well, thank you for that ! " said the woman ; " and many
thanks, too! What do I want with a sheep? I have neither
wheel nor spindle, and I do not care either to toil and drudge
making clothes; we can buy clothes now as before. Now I
can have goose-fat, which I have so long been wishing for,
and some feathers to stuff that little pillow of mine. Run,
children, and let in the goose."

" Well, I haven't got the goose either," said Gudbrand.
" When I had got a bit farther on the way I changed it for a
cock."

" Well, I don't know how you can think of it all ! " cried
the woman. " It's just as if I had done it all myself. A cock !
Why, it's just the same as if you'd bought an eight-day clock,
for every morning the cock will crow at four, so we can be
up in good time. What do we want with a goose? I can't
make goose-fat and I can easily fill my pillow with some soft
grass. Run, children, and let in the cock."

" But I haven't the cock either," said Gudbrand ; " for when
I had got a bit farther I became so terribly hungry I had to
sell the cock for sixpence and get some food to keep body and
soul together."

" Heaven be praised you did that ! " cried the woman.

Whatever you do, you always do the very thing I could have
wished. Besides, what did we want with the cock? We are
our own masters and can lie as long as we like in the morn-
ings. Heaven be praised! As long as I have got you back

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TALES OF LAUGHTER

again, who manage everything so well, I shall neither want
cock, nor goose, nor pig, nor cows."

Gudbrand then opened the door. " Have I won the hundred
dollars now ? " he asked. And the neighbor was obliged to
confess that he had.



[300]



The Pancake

X*\NCE on a time there was a goody who had seven
i i hungry bairns, and she was frying a Pancake for them.
^-^ It was a sweet-milk Pancake, and there it lay in the
pan bubbling and frizzling so thick and good, it was a sight
for sore eyes to look at. And the bairns stood round about,
and the goodman sat by and looked on.

" Oh, give me a bit of Pancake, mother, dear ; I am so
hungry," said one bairn.

" Oh, darling mother," said the second.

" Oh, darling, good mother," said the third.

" Oh, darling, good, nice mother," said the fourth.

" Oh, darling, pretty, good, nice mother," said the fifth.

" Oh, darling, pretty, good, nice, clever mother," said the
sixth.

" Oh, darling, pretty, good, nice, clever, sweet mother,"
said the seventh.

So they begged for the Pancake all round, the one more
prettily than the other ; for they were so hungry and so good.

" Yes, yes, bairns, only bide a bit till it turns itself " she
ought to have said, " till I can get it turned " " and then
you shall all have some a lovely sweet-milk Pancake; only
look how fat and happy it lies there."

When the Pancake heard that it got afraid, and in a trice
it turned itself all of itself, and tried to jump out of the pan ;
but it fell back into it again t'other side up, and so when it
had been fried a little on the other side, too, till it got firmer
in its flesh, it sprang out on the floor, and rolled off like a
wheel through the door and down the hill.

" Holloa ! Stop, Pancake ! " and away went the goody after
it, with the frying-pan in one hand and the ladle in the other,

[301]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

as fast as she could, and her bairns behind her, while the
goodman limped after them last of all.

" Hi ! won't you stop ? Seize it. Stop, Pancake/' they all
screamed out, one after the other, and tried to catch it on
the run and hold it; but the Pancake rolled on and on, and
in the twinkling of an eye it was so far ahead that they
couldn't see it, for the Pancake was faster on its feet than any
of them.

So when it had rolled a while it met a man.

" Good day, Pancake," said the man.

" God bless you, Manny-panny ! " said the Pancake.

" Dear Pancake," said the man, " don't roll so fast ; stop
a little and let me eat you."

" When I have given the slip to Goody-poody, and the
goodman, and seven squalling children, I may well slip
through your fingers, Manny-panny," said the Pancake, and
rolled on and on till it met a hen.

" Good day, Pancake," said the hen.

" The same to you, Henny-penny," said the Pancake.

" Pancake, dear, don't roll so fast ; bide a bit and let me
eat you up," said the hen.

" When I have given the slip to Goody-poody, and the
goodman, and seven squalling children, and Manny-panny, I
may well slip through your claws, Henny-penny," said the
Pancake, and so it rolled on like a wheel down the road.

Just then it met a cock.

" Good day, Pancake," said the cock.

" The same to you, Cocky-locky," said the Pancake.

" Pancake, dear, don't roll so fast, but bide a bit and let me
eat you up."

" When I have given the slip to Goody-poody, and the
goodman, and seven squalling children, and to Manny-panny,
and Henny-penny, I may well slip through your claws, Cocky-
locky," said the Pancake, and off it set rolling away as fast
as it could ; and when it had rolled a long way it met a duck.

" Good day, Pancake," said the duck.

" The same to you, Ducky-lucky."

[302]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

" Pancake, dear, don't roll away so fast ; bide a bit and let
me eat you up."

"When I have given the slip to Goody-poody, and the
goodman, and seven squalling children, and Manny-panny,
and Henny-penny, and Cocky-locky, I may well slip through
your fingers, Ducky-lucky," said the Pancake, and with that
it took to rolling and rolling faster than ever ; and when it had
rolled a long, long while, it met a goose.

" Good day, Pancake," said the goose.

" The same to you, Goosey-poosey."

" Pancake, dear, don't roll so fast ; bide a bit and let me eat
you up."

" When I have given the slip to Goody-poody, and the
goodman, and seven squalling children, and Manny-panny,
and Henny-penny, and Cocky-locky, and Ducky-lucky, I can
well slip through your feet, Goosey-poosey," said the Pan-
cake, and off it rolled.

So when it had rolled a long, long way farther, it met a
gander.

" Good day, Pancake," said the gander.

" The same to you, Gander-pander," said the Pancake.

" Pancake, dear, don't roll so fast ; bide a bit and let me
eat you up."

" When I have given the slip to Goody-poody, and the
goodman, and seven squalling children, and Manny-panny,
and Henny-penny, and Cocky-locky, and Ducky-lucky, and
Goosey-poosey, I may well slip through your feet, Gander-
pander," said the Pancake, and it rolled off as fast as ever.

So when it had rolled a long, long time, it met a pig.

" Good day, Pancake," said the pig.

" The same to you, Piggy-wiggy," said the Pancake, which,
without a word more, began to roll and roll like mad.

" Nay, nay," said the pig, " you needn't be in such a hurry ;
we two can then go side by side and see each other over the
wood ; they say it is not too safe in there."

The Pancake thought there might be something in that, and
so they kept company. But when they had gone awhile, they

[303]



TALES OF LAUGHTER

came to a brook. As for Piggy, he was so fat he swam safely
across, it was nothing to him ; but the poor Pancake couldn't
get over.

" Seat yourself on my snout," said the pig, " and I'll carry
you over/'

So the Pancake did that.

" Ouf, ouf," said the pig, and swallowed the Pancake at
one gulp ; and then, as the poor Pancake could go no farther,
why this story can go no farther either.



[304]



The Death of Chanticleer

X*\ NCE on a time there was a cock and a hen, who walked
f i out into the field and scratched, and scraped, and scrab-
v-^ bled. All at once Chanticleer found a burr of hop, and
Partlet found a barley-corn; and they said they would make
malt and brew Yule ale.

" Oh, I pluck barley, and I malt malt, and I brew ale, and
the ale is good," cackled Dame Partlet.

" Is the wort strong enough ? " crew Chanticleer ; and as
he crowed he flew up on the edge of the cask, and tried to
have a taste ; but just as he bent over to drink a drop he
took to flapping his wings, and so he fell head over heels into
the cask and was drowned. When Dame Partlet saw that,
she clean lost her wits, and flew up into the chimney-corner,
and fell a-scr earning and screeching out. " Harm in the
house ! harm in the house ! " she screeched out all in a breath,
and there was no stopping her.

" What ails you, Dame Partlet, that you sit there sobbing
and sighing?" said the handquern.

"Why not," said Dame Partlet, "when Goodman Chan-
ticleer has fallen into the cask and drowned himself, and lies
dead? That's why I sigh and sob."

" Well, if I can do naught else, I will grind and groan,"
said the handquern; and so it fell to grinding as fast as it
could.

When the chair heard that it said :

" What ails you, handquern, that you grind and groan so



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