p.24 /


HE efforts of modern romance are so greatly superior to the best fictions of a former age, that old wives' tales are not so readily tolerated as they were in times past. We question whether any one in these days, save a very grave antiquary, could read two chapters of the Morte Arthure without a yawn. Let us, then, turn to that simpler class of narratives which bears the same relation to novels that rural ballads do to the poem; and ascertain whether the wild interest which, in the primitive tales erewhile taught by nurse, first awakened our imagination, can be so reflected as to render their resuscitation agreeable. We rely a good deal for the success of the experiment on the power of association; for though these inventions may, in their character, be suited to the dawn of intellect, they not infrequently bear the impress of creative fancy, and their imperceptible influence over the mind does not always evaporate at a later age.
      Few persons, indeed, there are, even amongst those who affect to be insignificantly touched by the imagination, who can be recalled to the stories and carols that charmed them in their childhood wholly without emotion. An affectation of indifference in such matters is, of course, not unusual, for most thoughts springing from early associations, and those on which so many minds love to dwell, may not be indiscriminately divulged. It is impossible they should be generally appreciated or understood. Most of us, however, are liable to be occasionally touched by allusions breathing of happy days, bearing our memories downward to behold the shadows of joys that have long passed away like a dream. They now serve only "to mellow our occasions," like that "old and antique song" which relieved the passion of the Duke Orsino.

p.25 /

This simple tale seldom fails to rivet the attention of children, especially if well told. The last two words should be said loudly with a start. It was obtained from oral tradition, and has not, I believe, been printed.

      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 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 p.26 / 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!"

This story was obtained from oral tradition in the West of England. It is undoubtedly a variation of the "Hans im Glück" of Grimm, which is current in Germany.

      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 a paroxysm of grief she rushed forth to meet her husband. On seeing him she exclaimed, "Oh, Mr. Vinegar, Mr. Vinegar, we are ruined, 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 night-fall entered a thick forest. They were both excessively 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 beneath, and to his inexpressible dismay perceived that a party of thieves were 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 intense that p.27 / he trembled most violently, and shook down the door on their heads. Away scamperd [lit.] 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 behold 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 saw the money with equal delight. " 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 assents, takes the money, and goes off 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 respect. 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 declaring that, as he was a friend, he'd oblige him, the bargain was made. Proud of his purchase, he drove the cow 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 p.28 / the beautiful red cow was given for the bagpipes. He walked up and down with his purchase, but in vain he attempted 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, heartily ashamed and mortified, he was leaving the town, when he met a man with a fine thick pair of gloves. "Oh, my fingers are so very cold," said Mr. Vinegar to himself; "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 accosted 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 exchanged. 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 p.29 / 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 immoderately, 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.

A shorter and very different version of this is given by Mr. Chambers, p.211

      As Chicken-licken went one day to the wood, an acorn fell upon her poor bald pate, and she thought the sky had fallen. So she said she would go and tell the king that the sky had fallen. So chicken-licken turned back, and met Hen-len. "Well, hen-len, where are you going?" And hen-len said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." And chicken-licken said, "Oh! hen-len, don't go, for I was going, and the sky fell upon my poor bald pate, and I'm going to tell the king." So hen-len turned back with chicken-licken, and met Cock-lock. "Oh! cock-lock, where are you going?" And cock-lock said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then hen-len said, "Oh! cock-lock, don't go, for I was going, and I met chicken-licken, and chicken-licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."
      So cock-lock turned back, and met Duck-luck. "Well, duck-luck, where are you going?" And duck-luck said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then cock-lock said, "Oh ! duck-luck, don't go, for I was going, p.30 / and I met hen-len, and hen-len met chicken-licken, and chicken-licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."
      So duck-luck turned back, and met Drake-lake. "Well, drake-lake, where are you going?" And drake-lake said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then duck-luck said, "Oh! drake-lake, don't go, for I was going, and I met cock-lock, and cock-lock met hen-len, and hen-len met chicken-licken, and chicken-licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."
      So drake-lake turned back, and met Goose-loose, "Well, goose-loose, where are you going?" And goose-loose said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then drake-lake said, "Oh! goose-loose, don't go, for I was going, and I met duck-luck, and duck-luck met cock-lock, and cock-lock met hen-len, and hen-len met chicken-licken, and chicken-licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."
      So goose-loose turned back, and met Gander-lander. "Well, gander-lander, where are you going?" And gander-lander said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then goose-loose said, "Oh! gander-lander, don't go, for I was going, and I met drake-lake, and drake-lake met duck-luck, and duck-luck met cock-lock, and cock-lock met hen-len, and hen-len met chicken-licken, and chicken-licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."
      So gander-lander turned back, and met Turkey-lurkey. "Well, turkey-lurkey, where are you going?" And turkey-lurkey said, "I'm going to the wood for some meat." Then gander-lander said, "Oh! turkey-lurkey, don't go, for I was going, and I met goose-loose, and goose-loose met drake-lake, and drake-lake met p.31 / duck-luck, and duck-luck met cock-lock, and cock-lock met hen-len, and hen-len met chicken-licken, and chicken-licken had been at the wood, and the sky had fallen on her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king."
      So turkey-lurkey turned back, and walked with gander-lander, goose-loose, drake-lake, duck-luck, cock-lock, hen-len, and chicken-licken. And as they were going along, they met Fox-lox. And fox-lox said "Where are you going, my pretty maids?" And they said, "Chicken-licken went to the wood, and the sky fell upon her poor bald pate, and we are going to tell the king." And fox-lox said, "Come along with me, and I will show you the way." But fox-lox took them into the fox's hole, and he and his young ones soon ate up poor chicken-licken, hen-len, cock-lock, duck-luck, drake-lake, goose-loose, gander-lander, and turkey-lurkey, and they never saw the king, to tell him that the sky had fallen!

"Let us cast away nothing," says Mr. Gifford, "for we know not what use we may have for it." So will every one admit whose reading has been sufficiently extensive to enable him to judge of the value of the simplest traditional tales. The present illustrates a passage in Ben Jonson in a very remarkable manner,—
      — Say we are robb'd,
If any come to borrow a spoon or so;
I will not have Good Fortune or God's Blessing
Let in, while I am busy.

      Once upon a time there was an old miser, who lived with his wife near a great town, and used to put by every bit of money he could lay his hands on. His wife was a simple woman, and they lived together without quarrelling, but she was obliged to put up with very hard fare. Now, sometimes, where there was a sixpence she thought might be spared for a comfortable dinner p.32 / or supper, she used to ask the miser for it, but he would say, "No, wife, it must be put by for Good Fortune." It was the same with every penny he could get hold of, and notwithstanding all she could say, almost every coin that came into the house was put by "for Good Fortune."
      The miser said this so often, that some of his neighbours heard him, and one of them thought of a trick by which he might get the money. So the first day that the old chuff was away from home, he dressed himself like a wayfaring man, and knocked at the door. "Who are you?" said the wife. He answered, "I am Good Fortune, and I am come for the money which your husband has laid by for me." So this simple woman, not suspecting any trickery, readily gave it to him, and, when her good man came home, told him very pleasantly that Good Fortune had called for the money which had been kept so long for him.

      There lived formerly in the county of Cumberland a nobleman who had three sons, two of whom were comely and clever youths, but the other a natural fool, named Jack, who was generally dressed in a party-coloured coat, and a steeple-crowned hat with a tassel, as became his condition. Now the King of the East Angles had a beautiful daughter, who was distinguished by her great ingenuity and wit, and he issued a decree that whoever should answer three questions put to him by the princess should have her in marriage, and be heir to the crown at his decease. Shortly after this decree was published, news of it reached the ears of the nobleman's sons, and the two clever ones determined to have a trial, but they were sadly at a loss to prevent their idiot brother from going with them. They could not, by any means, get rid of him, and were compelled at length to let Jack accom- p.33 / pany them. They had not gone far, before Jack shrieked with laughter, saying, "I've found an egg." "Put it in your pocket," said the brothers. A little while afterwards, he burst out into another fit of laughter on finding a crooked hazel stick, which he also put in his pocket: and a third time, he again laughed extravagantly because he found a nut. That also was put with his other treasures.
      When they arrived at the palace, they were immediately admitted on mentioning the nature of their business, and were ushered into a room where the princess and her suite were sitting. Jack, who never stood on ceremony, bawled out, "What a troop of fair ladies we've got here!" "Yes," said the princess, ''we are fair ladies, for we carry fire in our bosoms." "Do you," said Jack, "then roast me an egg," pulling out the egg from his pocket. "How will you get it out again?" said the princess. "With a crooked stick," replied Jack, producing the hazel. "Where did that come from?" said the princess. "From a nut," answered Jack, pulling out the nut from his pocket. And thus the "fool of the family," having been the first to answer the questions of the princess, was married to her the next day, and ultimately succeeded to the throne.

   * This tale has been traced back fifty years, but it is probably considerably older.
The cat and the mouse
Play'd in the malt-house:
The cat bit the mouse's tail off. Pray, puss, give me my tail. No, says the cat, I'll not give you your tail, till you go to the cow, and fetch me some milk:
First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the cow, and thus began,—

p.34 /

Pray, Cow, give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again. No, said the cow, I will give you no milk, till you go to the farmer and get me some hay.

First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the farmer, and thus began,—
Pray, Farmer, give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again. No, says the farmer, I'll give you no hay, till you go to the butcher and fetch me some meat.
First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the butcher, and thus began,—
Pray, Butcher, give me meat, that I may give farmer meat, that farmer may give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again. No, says the butcher, I'll give you no meat, till you go to the baker and fetch me some bread.
First she leapt, and then she ran,
Till she came to the baker, and thus began,—
Pray, Baker, give me bread, that I may give butcher bread, that butcher may give me meat, that I may give farmer meat, that farmer may give me hay, that I may give cow hay, that cow may give me milk, that I may give cat milk, that cat may give me my own tail again.
Yes, says the baker, I'll give you some bread,
But if you eat my meal, I'll cut off your head.
Then the baker gave mouse bread, and mouse gave butcher bread, and butcher gave mouse meat, and mouse gave farmer meat, and farmer gave mouse hay, and mouse gave cow hay, and cow gave mouse milk, and mouse gave cat milk, and cat gave mouse her own tail again!

p.35 /


      In days of yore, when this country was governed by several sovereigns, amongst them was the King of Canterbury, who had an only daughter, wise, fair, and beautiful. She was unmarried, and according to a custom not unusual in those days, of assigning an arbitrary action for the present of a lady's hand, the king issued a proclamation that whoever would watch one night with his daughter, and neither sleep nor doze, should have her the next day in marriage; but if he did either, he should lose his head. Many knights attempted to fulfil the condition, and, having failed in the attempt, forfeited their lives.
      Now it happened that a young shepherd, grazing his flock near the road, said to his master, "Zur,* I zee many gentlemen ride to the court at Canterbury, but I ne'er zee 'em return again."

The present Kentish dialect does not adopt this form, but anciently some of the peculiarities of what is now the western dialect of England extended all over the southern counties.

"O, shepherd," said his master, "I know not how you should, for they attempt to watch with the king's daughter, according to the decree, and not performing it, they are all beheaded." "Well," said the shepherd, "I'll try my vorton; zo now vor a king's daughter, or a headless shepherd!" And taking his bottle and bag, he trudged to the court. In his way thither, he was obliged to cross a river, and pulling off his shoes and stockings, while he was passing over he observed several pretty fish bobbing against his feet; so he caught some, and put them into his pocket. When he reached the palace, he knocked at the gate loudly with his crook, and having mentioned the object of his visit, he was immediately conducted to a hall, where the king's daughter sat ready prepared to receive her lovers. He was placed in a luxurious chair, and p.36 / rich wines and spices were set before him, and all sorts of delicate meats. The shepherd, unused to such fare, eat and drank plentifully, so that he was nearly dozing before midnight. "O shepherd," said the lady, "I have caught you napping!" "Noa, sweet ally, I was busy a-feeshing." "A-fishing!" said the princess in the utmost astonishment: "Nay, shepherd, there is no fish-pond in the hall." "No matter vor that, I have been feeshing in my pocket, and have just caught one." "Oh me!" said she, "let me see it." The shepherd slily drew the fish out of his pocket, and pretending to have caught it, showed it her, and she declared it was the finest she ever saw. About half an hour afterwards, she said, "Shepherd, do you think you could get me one more?" He replied, "Mayhap I may, when I have baited my hook;" and after a little while he brought out another, which was finer than the first, and the princess was so delighted that she gave him leave to go to sleep, and promised to excuse him to her father.
      In the morning the princess told the king, to his great astonishment, that the shepherd must not be beheaded, for he had been fishing in the hall all night; but when he heard how the shepherd had caught such beautiful fish out of his pocket, he asked him to catch one in his own. The shepherd readily undertook the task, and bidding the king lie down, he pretended to fish in his pocket, having another fish concealed ready in his hand, and giving him a sly prick with a needle, he held up the fish, and showed it to the king. His majesty did not much relish the operation, but he assented to the marvel of it, and the princess and shepherd were united the same day, and lived for many years in happiness and prosperity.

From oral tradition in Yorkshire.

      Once upon a time there was a boy whose name was Jack, and he lived with his mother on a dreary common. They were very poor, and the old woman got her living by spinning, but Jack was so lazy that he would do nothing but bask in the sun in the hot weather, and sit by the corner of the hearth in the winter time. His mother could not persuade him to do anything for her, and was obliged at last to tell him that if he did not begin to work for his porridge, she would turn him out to get his living as he could.
      This threat at length roused Jack, and he went out and hired himself for the day to a neighbouring farmer for a penny; but as he was coming home, never having had any money in his possession before, he lost it in passing over a brook. "You stupid boy," said his mother, "you should have put it in your pocket." "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
      The next day Jack went out again, and hired himself to a cowkeeper, who gave him a jar of milk for his day's work. Jack took the jar and put it into the large pocket of his jacket, spilling it all, long before he got home. "Dear me!" said the old woman; "you should have carried it on your head." "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
      The following day Jack hired himself again to a farmer, who agreed to give him a cream cheese for his services. In the evening, Jack took the cheese, and went home with it on his head. By the time he got home the cheese was completely spoilt, part of it being lost, and part matted with his hair. "You stupid lout," said his mother, "you should have carried it very carefully in your hands." "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
      The day after this Jack again went out, and hired p.38 / himself to a baker, who would give him nothing for his work but a large tom-cat. Jack took the cat, and began carrying it very carefully in his hands, but in a short time Pussy scratched him so much that he was compelled to let it go. When he got home, his mother said to him, "You silly fellow, you should have tied it with a string, and dragged it along after you." "I'll do so another time'" said Jack.
      The next day Jack hired himself to a butcher, who rewarded his labours by the handsome present of a shoulder of mutton. Jack took the mutton, tied it to a string, and trailed it along after him in the dirt, so that by the time he had got home the meat was completely spoilt. His mother was this time quite out of patience with him, for the next day was Sunday, and she was obliged to content herself with cabbage for her dinner. "You ninnyhammer," said she to her son, "you should have carried it on your shoulder" "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
      On the Monday Jack went once more, and hired himself to a cattle-keeper, who gave him a donkey for his trouble. Although Jack was very strong, he found some difficulty in hoisting the donkey on his shoulders, but at last he accomplished it, and began walking slowly home with his prize. Now it happened that in the course of his journey there lived a rich man with his only daughter, a beautiful girl, but unfortunately deaf and dumb; she had never laughed in her life, and the doctors said she would never recover till somebody made her laugh.*

An incident analogous to this occurs in Grimm, Die Goldene Gans. See Edgar Taylor's Gammer Grethel, 1839, p. 5.

Many tried without success, and at last the father, in despair, offered her in marriage to the first man who could make her laugh. This young lady happened to be looking out of the window when Jack was passing with the donkey on his shoulders, the legs sticking up in the air, and the sight was so comical and p.39 / strange, that she burst out into a great fit of laughter, and immediately recovered her speech and hearing. Her father was overjoyed, and fulfilled his promised by marrying her to Jack, who was thus made a rich gentleman. They lived in a large house, and Jack's mother lived with them in great happiness until she died.

This story is abridged from the old chap-book of the Three Kings of Colchester. The incident of the heads rising out of the well is very similar to one introduced in Peele's Old Wives Tale, 1595, and the verse is also of a similar character.

      Long before Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, there reigned in the eastern part of England a king who kept his court at Colchester. He was witty, strong, and valiant, by which means he subdued his enemies abroad, and secured peace among his subjects at home. Nevertheless, in the midst of his glory, his queen died, leaving behind her an only daughter, about fifteen years of age. This lady, from her courtly carriage, beauty, and affability, was the wonder of all that knew her; but, as covetousness is said to be the root of all evil, so it happened in this instance. The king hearing of a lady who had likewise an only daughter, for the sake of her riches had a mind to marry; though she was old, ugly, hook-nosed, and humpbacked, yet all this could not deter him from marrying her. Her daughter, also, was a yellow dowdy, full of envy and ill-nature; and, in short, was much of the same mould as her mother. This signified nothing, for in a few weeks the king, attended by the nobility and gentry, brought his intended bride to his palace, where the marriage rites were performed. They had not been long in the court before they set the king against his own beautiful daughter, which was done by false reports and accusations. The young princess, having lost her father's p.40 / love, grew weary of the court, and one day meeting with her father in the garden, she desired him, with tears in her eyes, to give her a small subsistence, and she would go and seek her fortune; to which the king consented, and ordered her mother-in-law to make up a small sum according to her discretion. She went to the queen, who gave her a canvass bag of brown bread and hard cheese, with a bottle of beer; though this was but a very pitiful dowry for a king's daughter. She took it, returned thanks, and proceeded on her journey, passing through groves, woods, and valleys, till at length she saw an old man sitting on a stone at the mouth of a cave, who said, "Good morrow, fair maiden, whither away so fast?" "Aged father," says she, "I am going to seek my fortune." "What has thou in thy bag and bottle?" "In my bag I have got bread and cheese, and in my bottle good small beer; will you please to partake of either?" "Yes," said he, "with all my heart." With that the lady pulled out her provisions, and bid him eat and welcome. He did so, and gave her many thanks, saying thus: "There is a thick thorny hedge before you, which will appear impassable, but take this wand in your hand, strike three times, and say, 'Pray, hedge, let me come through,' and it will open immediately; then, a little further, you will find a well; sit down on the brink of it, and there will come up three golden heads, which will speak: pray do whatever they require." Promising she would follow his directions, she took her leave of him. Arriving at the hedge, and pursuing the old man's directions, it divided, and gave her a passage; then, going to the well, she had no sooner sat down than a golden head came up singing —
Wash me, and comb me,
And lay me down softly,
And lay me on a bank to dry,
That I may look pretty,
When somebody comes by.

p.41 /

"Yes," said she, and putting forth her hand, with a silver comb performed the office, placing it upon a primrose bank. Then came up a second and a third head, making the same request, which she complied with. She then pulled out her provisions and ate her dinner. Then said the heads one to another, "What shall we do for this lady who hath used us so kindly?" The first said, "I will cause such addition to her beauty as shall charm the most powerful prince in the world." The second said, "I will endow her with such perfume, both in body and breath, as shall far exceed the sweetest flowers." The third said, "My gift shall be none of the least, for, as she is a king's daughter, I'll make her so fortunate that she shall become queen to the greatest prince that reigns." This done, at their request she let them down into the well again, and so proceeded on her journey. She had not travelled long before she saw a king hunting in the park with his nobles; she would have avoided him, but the king having caught a sight of her, approached, and what with her beauty and perfumed breath, was so powerfully smitten, that he was not able to subdue his passion, but commenced his courtship immediately, and was so successful that he gained her love, and, conducting her to his palace, he caused her to be clothed in the most magnificent manner.
      This being ended, and the king finding that she was the king of Colchester's daughter, ordered some chariots to be got ready, that he might pay the king a visit. The chariot in which the king and queen rode was adorned with rich ornamental gems of gold. The king, her father, was at first astonished that his daughter had been so fortunate as she was, till the young king made him sensible of all that happened. Great was the joy at court amongst all, with the exception of the queen and her club-footed daughter, who were ready to burst with malice, and envied her happiness; and the greater p.42 / was their madness because she was now above them all. Great rejoicings, with feasting and dancing, continued many days. Then at length, with the dowry her father gave her they returned home.
      The deformed daughter perceiving that her sister had been so happy in seeking her fortune, would needs do the same; so disclosing her mind to her mother, all preparations were made, and she was furnished not only with rich apparel, but sweetmeats, sugar, almonds, &c., in great quantities, and a large bottle of Malaga sack. Thus provided, she went the same road as her sister, and coming near the cave, the old man said, "Young woman, whither so fast?" "What is that to you," said she. "Then," said he, "what have you in your bag and bottle?" She answered, "Good things, which you shall not be troubled with." "Won't you give me some?" said he. "No, not a bit, nor a drop, unless it would choke you." The old man frowned, saying, "Evil fortune attend thee." Going on, she came to the hedge, through which she espied a gap, and thought to pass through it, but, going in, the hedge closed, and the thorns run into her flesh, so that it was with great difficulty that she got out. Being now in a painful condition, she searched for water to wash herself, and, looking round, she saw the well; she sat down on the brink of it, and one of the heads came up, saying "Wash me, comb me, and lay me down softly, &c." but she banged it with her bottle, saying, "Take this for your washing." So the second and third heads came up, and met with no better treatment than the first; whereupon the heads consulted among themselves what evils to plague her with for such usage. The first said, "Let her be struck with leprosy in her face." The second, "Let an additional smell be added to her breath." The third bestowed on her a husband, though but a poor country cobler. This done, she goes on till she came to a town, and it being market day, the people p.43 / looked at her, and seeing such an evil face fled out of her sight, all but a poor cobler (who not long before had mended the shoes of an old hermit, who having no money, gave him a box of ointment for the cure of the leprosy, and a bottle of spirits for a stinking breath.) Now the cobler having a mind to do an act of charity, was induced to go up to her and ask her who she was. "I am," said she, "the king of Colchester's daughter-in-law." "Well," said the cobler, "if I restore you to your natural complexion, and make a sound cure both in face and breath, will you in reward take me for a husband?" "Yes, friend," replied she, "with all my heart." With this the cobler applied the remedies, and they worked the effect in a few weeks, and then they were married, and after a few days they set forward for the court at Colchester. When the queen understood she had married a poor cobler, she fell into distraction, and hanged herself for vexation. The death of the queen was not a source of sorrow to the king, who had only married her for her fortune, and bore her no affection; and shortly afterwards he gave the cobler a hundred pounds to take the daughter to a remote part of the kingdom, where he lived many years mending shoes, while his wife assisted the housekeeping by spinning, and selling the results of her labours at the country market.

This tale of the frog-lover is known in every part of Germany, and is alluded to by several old writers of that country. It is the tale "Der Froschkönig, oder der Eiserne Heinrich," in Grimm. "These enchanted frogs," says Sir W. Scott, "have migrated from afar, and we suspect that they were originally crocodiles; we trace them in a tale forming part of a series of stories entitled the Relations of Ssidi Kur, extant amongst the Calmuck Tartars." Mr. Chambers has given a Scotch version of the tale, under the title of "The well o' the warld's end," in his Popular Rhymes, p.44 / p.236. The rhymes in the copy given above were obtained from the North of England, without, however, any reference to the story to which they evidently belong. The application, however, is so obvious to any one acquainted with the German and Scotch tale, that the framework I have ventured to give them cannot be considered incongruous; although I need not add how very desirable it would be to procure the traditional tale as related by the English peasantry. Perhaps some of our readers may be enabled to supply it.

p.43 /

      Many years ago there lived on the brow of a mountain, in the North of England, an old woman and her p.44 / daughter. They were very poor, and obliged to work very hard for their living, and the old woman's temper was not very good, so that the maiden, who was very beautiful, led but an ill life with her. The girl, indeed, was compelled to do the hardest work, for her mother got their principal means of subsistence by travelling to places in the neighbourhood with small articles for sale, and when she came home in the afternoon she was not able to do much more work. Nearly the whole domestic labour of the cottage devolved therefore on the daughter, the most wearisome part of which consisted in the necessity of fetching all the water they required from a well on the other side of the hill, there being no river or spring near their own cottage.
      It happened one morning that the daughter had the misfortune, in going to the well, to break the only pitcher they possessed, and having no other utensil she could use for the purpose, she was obliged to go home without bringing any water. When her mother returned she was unfortunately troubled with excessive thirst, and the girl, though trembling for the consequences of her misfortune, told her exactly the circumstance that had occurred. The old woman was furiously angry, and so far from making any allowances for her daughter, pointed to a sieve which happened to be on the table, and told her to go at once to the well and bring her some water in that, or never venture to appear again in her sight.
      The young maiden, frightened almost out of her wits by her mother's fury, speedily took the sieve, and though p.45 / she considered the task a hopeless one to accomplish, almost unconsciously hastened to the well. When she arrived there, beginning to reflect on the painful situation in which she was placed, and the utter impossibility of her obtaining a living by herself, she threw herself down on the brink of the well in an agony of despair. Whilst she was in this condition, a large frog came up to the top of the water, and asked her for what she was crying so bitterly. She was somewhat surprised at this, but not being the least frightened, told him the whole story, and that she was crying because she could not carry away water in the sieve. "Is that all?" said the frog; "cheer up, my hinny! for if you will only let me sleep with you for two nights, and then chop off my head, I will tell you how to do it." The maiden thought the frog could not be in earnest, but she was too impatient to consider much about it, and at once made the required promise. The frog then instructed her in the following words,—

Stop with fog (moss),
   And daub with clay;
And that will carry
   The water away.
Having said this, he dived immediately under the water, and the girl, having followed his advice, got the sieve full of water, and returned home with it, not thinking much of her promise to the frog. By the time she reached home the old woman's wrath was appeased, but as they were eating their frugal supper very quietly, what should they hear but the splashing and croaking of a frog near the door, and shortly afterwards the daughter recognised the voice of the frog of the well saying,—
Open the door, my hinny, my heart,
   Open the door, my own darling;
Remember the words you spoke to me
   In the meadow by the well-spring.

p.46 /

She was now dreadfully frightened, and hurriedly explained the matter to her mother, who was also so much alarmed at the circumstance, that she dared not refuse admittance to the frog, who, when the door was opened, leapt into the room, exclaiming:

Go wi' me to bed, my hinny, my heart,
   Go wi' me to bed, my own darling;
Remember the words you spoke to me,
   In the meadow by the well-spring.
This command was also obeyed, although, as may be readily supposed, she did not much relish such a bedfellow. The next day, the frog was very quiet, and evidently enjoyed the fare they placed before him, — the purest milk and the finest bread they could procure. In fact, neither the old woman nor her daughter spared any pains to render the frog comfortable. That night, immediately supper was finished, the frog again exclaimed:
Go wi' me to bed, my hinny, my heart,
   Go wi' me to bed, my own darling;
Remember the words you spoke to me,
   In the meadow by the well-spring.
She again allowed the frog to share her couch, and in the morning, as soon as she was dressed, he jumped towards her, saying:
Chop off my head, my hinny, my heart,
   Chop off my head, my own darling;
Remember the words you spoke to me,
   In the meadow by the well-spring.
The maiden had no sooner accomplished this last request, than in the stead of the frog there stood by her side the handsomest prince in the world, who had long been transformed by a magician, and who could never have recovered his natural shape until a beautiful virgin had consented, of her own accord, to make him her bedfellow for two nights. The joy of all parties was p.47 / complete; the girl and the prince were shortly afterwards married, and lived for many years in the enjoyment of every happiness.

A simple, but very curious tale, of considerable antiquity. It is alluded to by Shakespeare, and was contributed to the variorum edition by Blakeway. Part of this story will recall to the reader's memory the enchanted chamber of Britomart.

      Once upon a time there was a young lady called Lady Mary, who had two brothers. One summer they all three went to a country seat of theirs which they had not before visited. Among the other gentry in the neighbourhood who came to see them was a Mr. Fox, a bachelor, with whom they, particularly the young lady, were much pleased. He used often to dine with them, and frequently invited Lady Mary to come and see his house. One day, when her brothers were absent elsewhere, and she had nothing better to do, she determined to go thither, and accordingly set out unattended. When she arrived at the house and knocked at the door, no one answered. At length she opened it and went in, and over the portal of the door was written:
Be bold, be bold, but not too bold.
She advanced, and found the same inscription over the staircase; again at the entrance of a gallery; and lastly, at the door of a chamber, with the addition of a line:
Be bold, be bold, but not too bold,
Lest that your heart's blood should run cold!
She opened it, and what was her terror and astonishment to find the floor covered with bones and blood. She retreated in haste, and coming down stairs, she saw from a window Mr. Fox advancing towards the house with a drawn sword in one hand, while with the other he dragged along a young lady by the hair of her head. Lady Mary had just time to slip down, and hide herself p.48 / under the stairs, before Mr. Fox and his victim arrived at the foot of them. As he pulled the young lady upstairs, she caught hold of one of the bannisters with her hand, on which was a rich bracelet. Mr. Fox cut it off with his sword: the hand and bracelet fell into Lady Mary's lap, who then contrived to escape unobserved, and got safe home to her brothers' house.
      A few days afterwards, Mr. Fox came to dine with them as usual. After dinner, the guests began to amuse each other with extraordinary anecdotes, and Lady Mary said she would relate to them a remarkable dream she had lately had. I dreamt, said she, that as you, Mr. Fox, had often invited me to your house, I would go there one morning. When I came to the house, I knocked at the door, but no one answered. When I opened the door, over the hall I saw written, "Be bold, be bold, but not too bold." But, said she, turning to Mr. Fox, and smiling, "It is not so, nor it was not so." Then she pursued the rest of the story, concluding at every turn with, "It is not so, nor it was not so," till she came to the discovery of the room full of bones, when Mr. Fox took up the burden of the tale, and said:
It is not so, nor it was not so,
And God forbid it should be so!
which he continued to repeat at every subsequent turn of the dreadful story, till she came to the circumstance of his cutting off the young lady's hand, when, upon his saying, as usual,
It is not so, nor it was not so,
And God forbid it should be so!
Lady Mary retorts by saying,
But it is so, and it was so,
And here the hand I have to show!
at the same moment producing the hand and bracelet from her lap. Whereupon the guests drew their swords, and instantly cut Mr. Fox into a thousand pieces.

p.49 /

Obtained in Oxfordshire from tradition.

      Many years ago there lived at the University of Oxford a young student, who, having seduced the daughter of a tradesman, sought to conceal his crime by committing the more heinous one of murder. With this view, he made an appointment to meet her one evening in a secluded field. She was at the rendezvous considerably before the time agreed upon for their meeting, and hid herself in a tree. The student arrived on the spot shortly afterwards, but what was the astonishment of the girl to observe that he commenced digging a grave. Her fears and suspicions were aroused, and she did not leave her place of concealment till the student, despairing of her arrival, returned to his college. The next day, when she was at the door of her father's house, he passed and saluted her as usual. She returned his greeting by repeating the following lines:
One moonshiny night, as I sat high,
Waiting for one to come by,
The boughs did bend; my heart did ache
To see what hole the fox did make.
Astounded by her unexpected knowledge of his base design, in a moment of fury he stabbed her to the heart. This murder occasioned a violent conflict between the tradespeople and the students, the latter taking part with the murderer, and so fierce was the skirmish, that Brewer's Lane, it is said, ran down with blood. The place of appointment was adjoining the Divinity Walk, which was in time past far more secluded than at the present day, and she is said to have been buried in the grave made for her by her paramour.
      According to another version of the tale, the name of the student was Fox, and a fellow-student went with p.50 / him to assist in digging the grave. The verses in this account differ somewhat from the above.
As I went out in a moonlight night,
I set my back against the moon,
I looked for one, and saw two come:
The boughs did bend, the leaves did shake,
I saw the hole the Fox did make.

This little tale was most likely copied from the commencement of the original edition of Jack the Giant-killer, where similar incidents are related of that renowned hero.

      In the reign of King Arthur there lived near the Land's End, in Cornwall, a wealthy farmer, who had an only son, commonly called Jack Hornby. He was of a brisk and ready wit, and he was never known to be outwitted in any transaction.
      One day, when he was no more than seven years of age, his father sent him into the field to look after his oxen. While he was attending to them, the lord of the manor came across the field, and as Jack was known to be a clever boy, he began asking him questions. His first was, "How many commandments are there?" Jack told him there were nine. The lord corrected him, saying there were ten. "Nay," quoth Jack, "you are wrong there: it is true there were ten, but you broke one of them when you stole my father's cow for your rent." The lord of the manor was so struck by this answer, that he promised to return the poor man's cow.
      "Now," quoth Jack, "it is my turn to ask a question. Can you tell me how many sticks go to build a crow's nest?" "Yes," said he, "there are as many go as are sufficient for the size of the nest." "Oh!" quoth Jack, "you are out again; there are none go, for they are all carried!"
      Jack Hornby was never more troubled with questions by the lord of the manor.

p.51 /


      Stories of fairies appearing in the shape of cats are common in the North of England. Mr. Longstaffe relates that a farmer of Staindrop, in Durham, was one night crossing a bridge, when a cat jumped out, stood before him, and looking him full in the face, said:
Johnny Reed! Johnny Reed!
Tell Madam Momfort
That Mally Dixon's dead.
The farmer returned home, and in mickle wonder recited this awfu' stanza to his wife, when up started their black cat, saying, "Is she?" and disappeared for ever. It was supposed she was a fairy in disguise, who thus went to attend a sister's funeral, for in the North fairies do die, and green shady spots are pointed out by the country folks as the cemeteries of the tiny people. An analogous story is found in the people-literature of Denmark. Near a town called Lyng is the hill of Brondhoë, inhabited by the trold-folk, or imps. Amongst these trolds was an old sickly devil, peevish and ill-tempered, because he was married to a young wife. This unhappy trold often set the rest by the ears, so they nicknamed him Knurre-Murre, or Rumble-Grumble. Now it came to pass, that Knurre-Murre discovered that his young wife was inclined to honour him with a supplemental pair of horns; and the object of his jealousy, to avoid his vengeance, was compelled to fly for his life from the cavern, and take refuge, in the shape of a tortoise-shell cat, in the house of Goodman Platt, who harboured him with much hospitality, let him lie on the great wicker chair, and fed him twice a day with bread and milk out of a red earthenware pipkin. One evening the goodman came home, at a late hour, full of wonderment. "Goody," exclaimed p.52 / he to his wife, "as I was passing by Brondoë, there came out a trold, who spake to me, saying,
Hör du Plat,
Süg til din cat
At Knurre-Murre er död.

Hear thou, Platt,
Say to thy cat
That Knurre-Murre is dead."

The tortoise-shell cat was lying on the great wicker chair, and eating his supper of bread and milk out of the red earthenware pipkin, when the goodman came in; but as soon as the message was delivered, he jumped bolt upright upon his two hind legs, for all the world like a Christian, and kicking the red earthenware pipkin and the rest of the bread and milk before him, he whisked through the cottage door, mewing, "What! is Knurre-Murre dead? then I may go home again!"*

This analysis of the Danish tale is taken from an article in the Quarterly Review, xxi. 98.

This is a modern version, taken down from recitation, of the very old tale of the Black Bull of Norroway, mentioned in the Complaynt of Scotland, 1548. It is here taken, by the author's kind permission, from the Popular Rhymes of Scotland, by Mr. Robert Chambers, the most delightful book of the kind ever published.

To wilder measures next they turn:
   The black black bull of Norroway!
Sudden the tapers cease to burn,
   The minstrels cease to play!

      Once upon a time there lived a king who had three daughters; the two eldest were proud and ugly, but the youngest was the gentlest and most beautiful creature ever seen, and the pride not only of her father and mother, but of all in the land. As it fell out, the three p.53 / princesses were talking one night of whom they would marry. "I will have no one lower than a king," said the eldest princess; the second would take a prince, or a great duke even. "Pho, pho," said the youngest, laughing, "you are both so proud; now, I would be content with the Red Bull o' Norroway." Well, they thought no more of the matter till the next morning, when, as they sat at breakfast, they heard the most dreadful bellowing at the door, and what should it be but the Red Bull come for his bride. You may be sure they were all terribly frightened at this, for the Red Bull was one of the most horrible creatures ever seen in the world. And the king and queen did not know how to save their daughter. At last they determined to send him off with the old henwife. So they put her on his back, and away he went with her till he came to a great black forest, when, throwing her down, he returned, roaring louder and more frightfully than ever. They then sent, one by one, all the servants, then the two eldest princesses; but not one of them met with any better treatment than the old henwife, and at last they were forced to send their youngest and favorite child.
      On travelled the lady and the bull through many dreadful forests and lonely wastes, till they came at last to a noble castle, where a large company was assembled. The lord of the castle pressed them to stay, though much he wondered at the lovely princess and her strange companion. When they went in among the company, the princess espied a pin sticking in the bull's hide, which she pulled out, and, to the surprise of all, there appeared not a frightful wild beast, but one of the most beautiful princes ever beheld. You may believe how delighted the princess was to see him fall at her feet, and thank her for breaking his cruel enchantment. There were great rejoicings in the castle at this; but, alas! at that moment he suddenly disappeared, and though every place was sought, he was nowhere to be found. The p.54 / princess, however, determined to seek through all the world for him, and many weary ways she went, but nothing could she hear of her lover. Travelling once through a dark wood, she lost her way, and as night was coming on, she thought she must now certainly die of cold and hunger; but seeing a light through the trees, she went on till she came to a little hut, where an old woman lived, who took her in, and gave her both food and shelter. In the morning, the old wifie gave her three nuts, that she was not to break till her heart was "like to break, and owre again like to break;" so, showing her the way, she bade God speed her, and the princess once more set out on her wearisome journey.
      She had not gone far till a company of lords and ladies rode past her, all talking merrily of the fine doings they expected at the Duke o' Norroway's wedding. Then she came up to a number of people carrying all sorts of fine things, and they, too, were going to the duke's wedding. At last she came to a castle, where nothing was to be seen but cooks and bakers, some running one way, and some another, and all so busy that they did not know what to do first. Whilst she was looking at all this, she heard a noise of hunters behind her, and some one cried out, "Make way for the Duke o'Norroway!" and who should ride past but the prince and a beautiful lady! You may be sure her heart was now "like to break, and owre again like to break," at this sad sight; so she broke one of the nuts, and out came a wee wifie carding. The princess then went into the castle, and asked to see the lady, who no sooner saw the wee wifie so hard at work, than she offered the princess anything in her castle for it. "I will give it to you," said she, "only on condition that you put off for one day your marriage with the Duke o' Norroway, and that I may go into his room alone to-night." So anxious was the lady for the nut, that she consented. And when dark night was come, and the duke fast p.55 / asleep, the princess was put alone into his chamber. Sitting down by his bedside, she began singing:
Far hae I sought ye, near am I brought to ye;
Dear Duke o' Norroway, will ye no turn and speak to me?
Though she sang this over and over again, the duke never wakened, and in the morning the princess had to leave him, without his knowing she had ever been there. She then broke the second nut, and out came a wee wifie spinning, which so delighted the lady, that she readily agreed to put off her marriage another day for it; but the princess came no better speed the second night than the first, and, almost in despair, she broke the last nut, which contained a wee wifie reeling; and on the same condition as before, the lady got possession of it. When the duke was dressing in the morning, his man asked him what the strange singing and moaning that had been heard in his room for two nights meant. "I heard nothing," said the duke; "it could only have been your fancy." "Take no sleeping-draught to night, and be sure to lay aside your pillow of heaviness," said the man, "and you also will hear what for two nights has kept me awake." The duke did so, and the princess coming in, sat down sighing at his bedside, thinking this the last time she might ever see him. The duke started up when he heard the voice of his dearly-loved princess; and with many endearing expressions of surprise and joy, explained to her that he had long been in the power of an enchantress, whose spells over him were now happily ended by their once again meeting. The princess, happy to be the instrument of his second deliverance, consented to marry him, and the enchantress, who fled that country, afraid of the duke's anger, has never since been heard of. All was hurry and preparation in the castle, and the marriage which now took place at once ended the adventures of the Red Bull o' Norroway and the wanderings of the king's daughter.

p.56 /

One of the tales of Perrault, 1697. The plot was taken from the first novel of the eleventh night of Straparola. Its moral is that talents are equivalent to fortune. We have inserted this in our collection, although generally remembered, as a specimen of the simple tales founded by Perrault on older stories, and which soon became popular in this country. The others, as Blue Beard, and Little Riding Hood, are vanishing from the nursery, but are so universally known that reprints of them would be superfluous.

      There was a miller, who left no more estate to his three sons than his mill, his ass, and his cat. The partition was soon made, neither scrivener nor attorney being sent for. They would soon have eaten up all the patrimony. The eldest had the mill, the second the ass, and the youngest nothing but the cat.
      The poor young fellow was quite downcast at so poor a lot. "My brothers," said he, "may get their living handsomely enough by joining their stocks together, but for my part, when I have eaten up my cat, and made me a muff of his skin, I must die with hunger." The cat, who heard all this, yet made as if he did not, said to him, with a grave and serious air, "Do not thus afflict yourself, my good master; you have nothing else to do but give me a bag, and get a pair of boots made for me, that I may scamper through the dirt and the brambles, and you shall see that you have not so bad a portion as you imagine." Though he did not build very much upon what the cat said, he had however often seen him play a great many cunning tricks to catch rats and mice: as when he used to hang by the heels, or hide himself in the meal, and make as if he were dead; so that he did not altogether despair of his affording him some help in his miserable condition. When the cat had what he asked for, he booted himself very gallantly; and putting the bag about his neck, held the strings of it in his two fore paws, and went into a warren where there was a great abundance of rabbits. He put bran and sow-thistles into the bag, and stretching himself out at p.57 / length, as if he had been dead, he waited for some young rabbits not yet acquainted with the deceits of the world, to come and rummage his bag for what he had put into it.
      Scarce was he laid down, but he had what he wanted; a rash and foolish young rabbit jumped into his bag, and Monsieur Puss immediately drawing the strings close, took and killed him without pity. Proud of his prey, he went with it into the palace, and asked to speak with his majesty. He was shown upstairs into the king's apartment, and, making a low reverence, said to him, "I have brought you, Sire, a rabbit of the warren, which my noble lord, the Marquis of Carabas (for that was the title which Puss was pleased to give his master), has commanded me to present to your majesty from him." "Tell thy master," said the king, "that I thank him, and he does me a great deal of pleasure."
      Another time he went and hid himself amongst some standing corn, holding his bag open; and when a brace of partridges ran into it, he drew the strings, and so caught them both. He went and made a present of these to the king, as he had done before of the rabbit. The king received the partridges with great pleasure, and ordered him some money for drink.
      The cat continued, for two or three months, to carry game to his majesty. One day in particular, when he knew that the king was to take the air along the river side, with his daughter, the most beautiful princess in the world, he said to his master, "If you will follow my advice, your fortune is made; you have nothing else to do, but go and wash yourself in the river, in that part I shall show you, and leave the rest to me." The Marquis of Carabas did what the cat advised, without knowing why or wherefore.
      While he was washing, the king passed by, and the cat began to cry out, as loud as he could, "Help, help! my Lord Marquis of Carabas is going to be drowned!" p.58 / At this noise the king put his head out of the coach-window, and finding it was the cat who had so often brought him such good game, he commanded the guards to run immediately to the assistance of his lordship, the Marquis of Carabas.
      While they were drawing the poor marquis out of the river, the cat came up to the coach and told the king, that, while his master was washing, there came by some rogues who went off with his clothes, though he had cried out, "Thieves! thieves!" several times, as loud as he could. This cunning cat had hidden them under a great stone. The king immediately commanded the officers of his wardrobe to run and fetch one of his best suits for the Lord Marquis of Carabas.
      The king caressed him after a very extraordinary manner, and as the fine clothes he had given him extremely set off his good mien (for he was well-made and very handsome in his person), the king's daughter took a secret inclination to him, and the Marquis of Carabas had no sooner cast two or three respectful and tender glances, but she fell in love with him to distraction; and the king would have him come into his coach. The cat, overjoyed to see his project begin to succeed, marched on before, and meeting with some countrymen who were mowing a meadow, he said to them, "Good people, if you do not tell the king that the meadow you mow belongs to the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot."
      The king did not fail to ask the mowers to whom the meadow they were mowing belonged. "To my Lord Marquis of Carabas," answered they all together; for the cat's threats had made them terribly afraid. "You see, sir," said the marquis, "this is a meadow that never fails to yield a plentiful harvest every year." The cat, who still went on before, met with some reapers, and said to them, "Good people, you who are reaping, if you do not tell the king that all this corn belongs to p.59 / the Marquis of Carabas, you shall be chopped as small as herbs for the pot." The king, who passed by a moment after, would needs know to whom all that corn did belong. "To my Lord Marquis of Carabas," replied the reapers; and the king was very well pleased with it, as well as the marquis, whom he congratulated thereupon. The master cat went always before, saying the same words to all he met; and the king was astonished at the vast estates of my Lord Marquis of Carabas. Monsieur Puss came at last to a stately castle, the master of which was an ogre, the richest that had ever been known; for all the lands the king had then gone over belonged to him; the cat, having taken care to inform himself who this ogre was, and what he could do, asked to speak to him, saying, "He could not pass so near his castle, without having the honour of paying his respects to him."
      The ogre received him as civilly as an ogre could do, and made him sit down. "I have been assured," said the cat, "that you have the gift of being able to change yourself into all sorts of creatures you have a mind to; you can, for example, transform yourself into a lion or elephant, and the like." "This is true," answered the ogre, very briskly, "and to convince you, you shall see me now become a lion." Puss was so sadly terrified at the sight of a lion so near him, that he immediately got into the gutter, not without great trouble and danger, because of his boots, which were of no use at all to him in walking upon the tiles. A little while after, when Puss saw that the ogre had resumed his natural form, he came down, and owned that he had been very much frightened.
      "I have been moreover informed," said the cat, "but I know not how to believe it, that you have also the power to take upon you the smallest animals, for example, to change yourself into a rat or a mouse, but I must own to you, I take this to be impossible." p.60 / "Impossible!" cried the ogre, "you shall see that presently;" and at the same time changed himself into a mouse, and began to run about the floor. Puss no sooner perceived this, but he fell upon him, and eat him up.
      Meanwhile the king, who saw as he passed this fine castle of the ogre's, had a mind to go into it. Puss, who heard the noise of his majesty's coach running over the drawbridge, ran out, and said to the king, "Your majesty is welcome to this castle of the Lord Marquis of Carabas." "What! my lord marquis," cried the king, "and does this castle also belong to you? there can be nothing finer than this court, and all the stately buildings which surround it: let us go into it, if you please."
      The king went up first, the marquis, handing the princess, following; they passed into a spacious hall, where they found a magnificent collation the ogre had prepared for his friends, who dared not enter, knowing the king was there. His majesty was perfectly charmed with the good qualities of the marquis, and his daughter was violently in love with him. The king, after having drank five or six glasses, said to him, "My lord marquis, you will be only to blame, if you are not my son-in-law." The marquis, making several low bows, accepted the honour his majesty conferred upon him, and forthwith the very same day married the princess.
      Puss became a great lord, and never ran after mice any more but only for his diversion.


      [The present copy of this tale is taken, with a few necessary alterations, from the original editions, which differ very considerably from the modern versions; and it is worthy of preservation in its antique costume, for the story is undoubtedly of Teutonic origin. "Jack, commonly called the Giant Killer," says Sir W. Scott, p.61 / "and Thomas Thumb landed in England from the very same keels and war-ships which conveyed Hengist and Horsa, and Ebba the Saxon." One incident in the romance exactly corresponds to a device played by the giant Skrimner, when he and Thor travelled to Utgard Castle, related in the Edda of Snorro. Skrimner placed an immense rock on the leafy couch where Thor supposed he was sleeping, and when the latter, desiring to rid himself of his companion, heard the giant snore, he struck the rock with his tremendous hammer, thinking it was the monster's head. "Hath a leaf fallen upon me from the tree?" exclaimed the awakened giant. He went to sleep again, and snoring louder than ever, Thor gave a blow which he thought must have cracked his skull. "What is the matter?" quoth Skrimner, "hath an acorn fallen on my head?" A third time the snore was heard, and a third time the hammer fell with redoubled force, insomuch that Thor weened the iron had buried itself in Skrimner's temples. "Methinks," quoth the giant, rubbing his cheek, "some moss hath fallen on my face!" Jack's invisible coat, his magic sword, and his shoes of swiftness, are also undoubtedly borrowed from Northern romance.*

The last is also found in the second relation of Ssidi Kur, a Calmuck romance.

      An incident very similar to the blows with the rat's tail occurs in the story of the Brave Little Tailor, in Grimm; who outwits a giant in several ingenious ways, one of which may be described. On one occasion the giant wished to try the strength of the tailor, by challenging him to carry a tree. The latter said, "Very well, you carry the butt-end, while I will carry all the branches, by far the heaviest part of the tree." So the giant lifted the tree up on his shoulders, and the tailor very coolly sat on the branches while the giant carried the tree. At length he was so tired with his load, he was obliged to drop it, and the tailor, nimbly jumping p.62 / off, made belief as if he had been carrying the branches all the time, and said: "A pretty fellow you are, that can't carry a tree!"
      The edition of Jack the Giant-killer here used was printed at Newcastle-on-Tyne in 1711. The earliest in the British Museum is dated 1809, nor does the Bodleian, I believe, contain a copy of a more ancient type.
      Jack and the Bean-stalk may be added to the series of English nursery-tales derived from the Teutonic. The bean-stalk is a descendant of the wonderful ash in the Edda. The distich put into the mouth of the giant,

Snouk but, snouk ben,
I find the smell of earthly men;
is, says Scott, scarcely inferior to the keen-scented anthropophaginian in Jack the Giant-killer.]
      In the reign of King Arthur, and in the county of Cornwall, near to the Land's End of England, there lived a wealthy farmer, who had an only son named Jack. He was brisk, and of a lively ready wit, so that whatever he could not perform by force and strength, he accomplished by ingenious wit and policy. Never was any person heard of that could worst him, and he very often even baffled the learned by his sharp and ready inventions.
      In those days the Mount of Cornwall was kept by a huge and monstrous giant of eighteen feet in height, and about three yards in compass, of a fierce and grim countenance, the terror of all the neighbouring towns and villages. He inhabited a cave in the middle of the mount, and he was such a selfish monster that he would not suffer any one to live near him. He fed on other men's cattle, which often became his prey, for whensoever he wanted food, he would wade over to the main land, where he would furnish himself with whatever came in his way. The inhabitants, at his approach, forsook their habitations, while he seized on their cattle, p.63 / making nothing of carrying half-a-dozen oxen on his back at a time; and as for their sheep and hogs, he would tie them round his waist like a bunch of bandoleers.*

Bandoleers were little wooden cases covered with leather, each of them containing the charge of powder for a musket, and fastened to a broad band of leather, which the person who was to use them put round his neck.

This course he had followed for many years, so that a great part of the county was impoverished by his depredations.
      This was the state of affairs, when Jack, happening one day to be present at the town-hall when the authorities were consulting about the giant, had the curiousity to ask what reward would be given to the person who destroyed him. The giant's treasure was declared as the recompense, and Jack at once undertook the task.
      In order to accomplish his purpose, he furnished himself with a horn, shovel, and pickaxe, and went over to the Mount in the beginning of a dark winter's evening, when he fell to work, and before morning had dug a pit twenty-two feet deep, and nearly as broad, covering it over with long sticks and straw. Then strewing a little mould upon it, it appeared like plain ground. This accomplished, Jack placed himself on the side of the pit which was furthest from the giant's lodging, and, just at the break of day, he put the horn to his mouth, and blew with all his might. Although Jack was a little fellow, and the powers of his voice are not described as being very great, he managed to make noise enough to arouse the giant, and excite his indignation. The monster accordingly rushed from his cave, exclaiming, "You incorrigible villain, are you come here to disturb my rest? you shall pay dearly for this. Satisfaction I will have, for I will take you whole and broil you for breakfast." He had no sooner uttered this cruel threat, than tumbling into the pit, he made the very foundations of the Mount ring again. "Oh, giant," said Jack, "where are you now? Oh faith, p.64 / you are gotten now into Lob's Pound,*

An old jocular term for a prison, or any place of confinement.

where I will surely plague you for your threatening words: what do you think now of broiling me for your breakfast? will no other diet serve you but poor Jack?" Thus did little Jack tantalize the big giant, as a cat does a mouse when she knows it cannot escape, and when he had tired of that amusement, he gave him a heavy blow with his pickaxe on the very crown of his head, which "tumbled him down," and killed him on the spot. When Jack saw he was dead, he filled up the pit with earth, and went to search the cave, which he found contained much treasure. The magistrates, in the exhuberance of their joy, did not add to Jack's gains from their own, but after the best and cheapest mode of payment, made a declaration he should henceforth be termed Jack the Giant-killer, and presented him with a sword and embroidered belt, on the latter of which were inscribed these words in letters of gold:

Here's the right valiant Cornish man,
Who slew the giant Cormelian. [in pen: Cormoran]
      The news of Jack's victory, as might be expected, soon spread over all the West of England, so that another giant, named Thunderbore [in pen: Blunderbore], hearing of it, and entertaining a partiality for his race, vowed to be revenged on the little hero, if ever it was his fortune to light on him. This giant was the lord of an enchanted castle, situated in the midst of a lonely wood. Now Jack, about four months after his last exploit, walking near this castle in his journey towards Wales, being weary, seated himself near a pleasant fountain in the wood, "o'ercanopied with luscious woodbine," and presently fell asleep. While he was enjoying his repose, the giant, coming to the fountain for water, of course discovered him, and recognised the hated individual by the lines written on the belt. He immediately took Jack on his p.65 / shoulders, and carried him towards his enchanted castle. Now, as they passed through a thicket, the rustling of the boughs awakened Jack, who was uncomfortably surprised to find himself in the clutches of the giant. His terror was not diminished when, on entering the castle, he saw the court-yard strewed with human bones, the giant maliciously telling him his own would ere long increase the hateful pile. After this assurance, the cannibal locked poor Jack in an upper chamber, leaving him there while he went to fetch another giant living in the same wood to keep him company in the anticipated destruction of their enemy. While he was gone, dreadful shrieks and lamentations affrighted Jack, especially a voice which continually cried,—
Do what you can to get away,
Or you'll become the giant's prey;
He's gone to fetch his brother, who
Will kill, and likewise torture you.
[This is corrected in ink to the following:]
Haste valiant stranger, haste away,
Or you'll become the giant's prey;
On his return, he'll bring another
Still more savage than his brother.
A horrid, cruel, monster, who
Before he kills, will torture you.
      This warning, and the hideous tone in which it was delivered, almost distracted poor Jack, who going to the window, and opening a casement, beheld afar off the two giants approaching towards the castle. "Now," quoth Jack to himself, "my death or my deliverance is at hand." The event proved that his anticipations were well founded, for the giants of those days, however powerful, were at best very stupid fellows, and readily conquered by stratagem, were it of the humblest kind. There happened to be strong cords in the room in which Jack was confined, two of which he took, and made a strong noose at the end of each; and while the giant was unlocking the iron gate of the castle, he threw the ropes over each of their heads, and then, before the giants knew what he was about, he drew the other ends across a beam, and, pulling with all his might, throttled them till they were black in the face. Then, sliding down the rope, he came to their heads, and as they p.66 / could not defend themselves, easily despatched them with his sword. This business so adroitly accomplished, Jack released the fair prisoners in the castle, delivered the keys to them, and, like a true knight-errant, continued his journey without condescending to improve the condition of his purse.
      This plan, however honorable, was not without its disadvantages, and owing to his slender stock of money, he was obliged to make the best of his way by travelling as hard as he could. At length, losing his road, he was belated, and could not get to any place of entertainment until, coming to a lonesome valley, he found a large house, and by reason of his present necessity, took courage to knock at the gate. But what was his astonishment, when there came forth a monstrous giant with two heads; yet he did not appear so fiery as the others were, for he was a Welsh giant, and what he did was by private and secret malice under the false show of friendship. Jack having unfolded his condition to the giant, was shown into a bedroom, where, in the dead of night, he heard his host in another apartment uttering these formidable words:
Though here you lodge with me this night,
You shall not see the morning light:
My club shall dash your brains out quite!
      "Say'st thou so," quoth Jack; "that is like one of your Welsh tricks, yet I hope to be cunning enough for you." He immediately got out of bed, and, feeling about in the dark, found a thick billet of wood, which he laid in the bed in his stead, and hid himself in a dark corner of the room. Shortly after he had done so, in came the Welsh giant, who thoroughly pummelled the billet with his club, thinking, naturally enough, he had broken every bone in Jack's skin. The next morning, however, to the inexpressible surprise of the giant, Jack came down stairs as if nothing had happened, and gave p.67 / him thanks for his night's lodging. "How have you rested," quoth the giant; "did you not feel anything in the night?" Jack provokingly replied, "No, nothing but a rat which gave me two or three flaps with her tail." This reply was totally incomprehensible to the giant, who of course saw anything but a joke in it. However, concealing his amazement as well as he could, he took Jack in to breakfast, assigning to each a bowl containing four gallons of hasty pudding. One would have thought that the greater portion of so extravagant an allowance would have been declined by our hero, but he was unwilling the giant should imagine his incapability to eat it, and accordingly placed a large leather bag under his loose coat, in such a position that he could convey the pudding into it without the deception being perceived. Breakfast at length being finished, Jack excited the giant's curiousity by offering to show him an extraordinary sleight of hand; so taking a knife, he ripped the leather bag, and out of course descended on the ground all the hasty pudding. The giant had not the slightest suspicion of the trick, veritably believing the pudding came from its natural receptacle; and having the same antipathy to being beaten, exclaimed in true Welsh, "Odds splutter, hur can do that trick hurself." The sequel may be readily guessed. The monster took the knife, and thinking to follow Jack's example with impunity, killed himself on the spot.*

The foregoing portion of this wonderful history is that most generally known; but the incidents now become more complicated, and after the introduction of Arthur's son upon the scene, we arrive at particulars which have long been banished from the nursery library

      King Arthur's only son requested his father to furnish him with a large sum of money, in order that he might go and seek his fortune in the principality of Wales, where lived a beautiful lady possessed with seven evil spirits. The king tried all he could do to persuade him to p.68 / alter his determination, but it was all in vain, so at last he granted his request, and the prince set out with two horses, one loaded with money, the other for himself to ride upon. Now, after several days' travel, he came to a market-town in Wales, where he beheld a vast concourse of people gathered together. The prince demanded the reason of it, and was told that they had arrested a corpse for several large sums of money which the deceased owed when he died. The prince replied that it was a pity creditors should be so cruel, and said, "Go bury the dead, and let his creditors come to my lodging, and there their debts shall be discharged." They accordingly came, but in such great numbers, that before night he had almost left himself penniless.
      Now Jack the Giant-killer happened to be in the town while these transactions took place, and he was so pleased with the generosity exhibited by the prince, that he offered to become his servant, an offer which was immediately accepted. The next morning they set forward on their journey, when, as they were just leaving the town, an old woman called after the prince, saying, "He has owed me twopence these seven years; pray pay me as well as the rest." So reasonable and urgent a demand could not be resisted, and the prince immediately discharged the debt, but it took the last penny he had to accomplish it. This event, though generally ridiculed by heroes, was one by no means overlooked by the prince, who required all Jack's assuring eloquence to console him. Jack himself, indeed, had a very poor exchequer, and after their day's refreshment, they were entirely without money. When night drew on, the prince was anxious to secure a lodging, but as they had no means to hire one, Jack said, "Never mind, master, we shall do well enough, for I have an uncle lives within two miles of this place; he is a huge and monstrous giant with three heads; he'll fight five hundred men in armour, and make them flee before him." "Alas!" p.69 / quoth the prince, "what shall we do there? He'll certainly chop us up at a mouthful. Nay, we are scarce enough to fill his hollow tooth!" "It is no matter for that," quoth Jack; "I myself will go before, and prepare the way for you; therefore tarry and wait till I return." Jack then rides off full speed, and coming to the gate of the castle, he knocked so loud that the neighbouring hills resounded like thunder. The giant, terribly vexed with the liberty taken by Jack, roared out, "Who's there?" He was answered, "None but your poor cousin Jack." Quoth he, "What news with my poor cousin Jack?" He replied, "Dear uncle, heavy news." "God wot," quoth the giant, "prithee what heavy news can come to me? I am a giant with three heads, and besides thou knowest I can fight five hundred men in armour, and make them fly like chaff before the wind." "Oh, but," quoth Jack, "here's the prince a-coming with a thousand men in armour to kill you, and destroy all that you have!" "Oh, cousin Jack," said the giant, "this is heavy news indeed! I will immediately run and hide myself, and thou shalt lock, bolt, and bar me in, and keep the keys till the prince is gone." Jack joyfully complied with the giant's request, and fetching his master, they feasted and made themselves merry whilst the poor giant laid trembling in a vault under ground.
      In the morning, Jack furnished the prince with a fresh supply of gold and silver, and then sent him three miles forward on his journey, concluding, according to the story-book, "he was then pretty well out of the smell of the giant." Jack afterwards returned, and liberated the giant from the vault, who asked what he should give him for preserving the castle from destruction. "Why," quoth Jack, "I desire nothing but the old coat and cap, together with the old rusty sword and slippers which are at your bed's head." Quoth the giant, "Thou shalt have them, and pray p.70 / keep them for my sake, for they are things of excellent use; the coat will keep you invisible, the cap will furnish you with knowledge, the sword cuts asunder whatever you strike, and the shoes are of extraordinary swiftness. These may be serviceable to you: therefore take them with all my heart."
      Jack was delighted with these useful presents, and having overtaken his master, they quickly arrived at the lady's house, who, finding the prince to be a suitor, prepared a splendid banquet for him. After the repast was concluded, she wiped his mouth with a handkerchief, and then concealed it in her dress, saying, "You must show me that handkerchief to-morrow morning, or else you will lose your head." The prince went to bed in great sorrow at this hard condition, but fortunately Jack's cap of knowledge instructed him how it was to be fulfilled. In the middle of the night she called upon her familiar*

An attendant spirit.

to carry her to the evil spirit. Jack immediately put on his coat of darkness, and his shoes of swiftness, and was there before her, his coat rendering him invisible. When she entered the lower regions, she gave the handkerchief to the spirit, who laid it upon a shelf, whence Jack took it, and brought it to his master, who showed it to the lady the next day, and so saved his life. The next evening at supper she saluted the prince, telling him he must show her the lips tomorrow morning that she kissed last this night, or lose his head. He replied, "If you kiss none but mine, I will." "That is neither here nor there," said she, "if you do not, death is your portion!" At midnight she went below as before, and was angry with the spirit for letting the handkerchief go: "But now," quoth she, "I will be too hard for the prince, for I will kiss thee, and he is to show me thy lips." She did so, and Jack, who was standing by, cut off the spirit's head, and brought it under his invisible coat to his master, who p.71 / produced it triumphantly the next morning before the lady. This feat destroyed the enchantment, the evil spirits immediately forsook her, and she appeared still more sweet and lovely, beautiful as she was before. They were married the next morning, and shortly afterwards went to the court of King Arthur, where Jack, for his eminent services, was created one of the knights of the Round Table.
      Our hero, having been successful in all his undertakings, and resolving not to remain idle, but to perform what services he could for the honour of his country, humbly besought his majesty to fit him out with a horse and money to enable him to travel in search of new adventures; for, said he, "there are many giants yet living in the remote part of Wales, to the unspeakable damage of your majesty's subjects; wherefore may it please you to encourage me, I do not doubt but in a short time to cut them off root and branch, and so rid all the realm of those giants and monsters in human shape." We need scarcely say that Jack's generous offer was at once accepted. The king furnished him with the necessary accoutrements, and Jack set out with his magical cap, sword, and shoes, the better to perform the dangerous enterprises which now lay before him.
      After travelling over several hills and mountains, the country through which he passed offering many impediments to travellers, on the third day he arrived at a very large wood, which he had no sooner entered than his ears were assailed with piercing shrieks. Advancing softly towards the place where the cries appeared to proceed from, he was horror-struck at perceiving a huge giant dragging along a fair lady, and a knight her husband, by the hair of their heads, "with as much ease," says the original narrative, "as if they had been a pair of gloves." Jack shed tears of pity on the fate of this hapless couple, but not suffering his feelings to render him neglectful of action, he put on his invisible coat, p.72 / and taking with him his infallible sword, succeeded, after considerable trouble, and many cuts, to despatch the monster, whose dying groans were so terrible, that they made the whole wood ring again. The courteous knight and his fair lady were overpowered with gratitude, and, after returning Jack their best thanks, they invited him to their residence, there to recruit his strength after the frightful encounter, and receive more substantial demonstrations of their obligations to him. Jack, however, declared that he would not rest until he had found out the giant's habitation. The knight, on hearing his determination, was very sorrowful, and replied, "Noble stranger, it is too much to run a second hazard: this monster lived in a den under yonder mountain, with a brother more fierce and cruel than himself. Therefore, if you should go thither, and perish in the attempt, it would be a heart-breaking to me and my lady: let me persuade you to go with us, and desist from any further pursuit." The knight's reasoning had the very opposite effect that was intended, for Jack, hearing of another giant, eagerly embraced the opportunity of displaying his skill, promising, however, to return to the knight when he had accomplished his second labour.
      He had not ridden more than a mile and a half, when the cave mentioned by the knight appeared to view, near the entrance of which he beheld the giant, sitting upon a block of timber, with a knotted iron club by his side, waiting, as he supposed, for his brother's return with his barbarous prey. This giant is described as having "goggle eyes like flames of fire, a countenance grim and ugly, cheeks like a couple of large flitches of bacon, the bristles of his beard resembling rods of iron wire, and locks that hung down upon his brawny shoulders like curled snakes or hissing adders." Jack alighted from his horse, and putting on the invisible coat, approached near the giant, and said softly, "Oh! are you there? it will not be long ere I shall take you fast by the beard." p.73 / The giant all this while could not see him, on account of his invisible coat, so that Jack, coming up close to the monster, struck a blow with his sword at his head, but unfortunatly missing his aim, he cut off the nose instead. The giant, as we may suppose, "roared like claps of thunder," and began to lay about him in all directions with his iron club so desperately, that even Jack was frightened, but exercising his usual ingenuity, he soon despatched him. After this, Jack cut off the giant's head, and sent it, together with that of his brother, to King Arthur, by a waggoner he hired for that purpose, who gave an account of all his wonderful proceedings.
      The redoubtable Jack next proceeded to search the giant's cave in search of his treasure, and passing along through a great many winding passages, he came at length to a large room paved with freestone, at the upper end of which was a boiling caldron, and on the right hand a large table, at which the giants usually dined. After passing this dining-room, he came to a large and well-secured den filled with human captives, who were fattened and taken at intervals for food, as we do poultry. Jack set the poor prisoners at liberty, and, to compensate them for their sufferings and dreadful anticipations, shared the giant's treasure equally amongst them, and sent them to their homes overjoyed at their unexpected deliverance.
      It was about sunrise when Jack, after the conclusion of this adventure, having had a good night's rest, mounted his horse to proceed on his journey, and, by the help of directions, reached the knight's house about noon. He was received with the most extraordinary demonstrations of joy, and his kind host, out of respect to Jack, prepared a feast which lasted many days, all the nobility and gentry in the neighbourhood being invited to it. The knight related the hero's adventures to his assembled guests, and presented him with a beautiful ring, on which was engraved a representation of the p.74 / giant dragging the distressed knight and his lady, with this motto:

We were in sad distress you see,
   Under the giant's fierce command,
But gain'd our lives and liberty
   By valiant Jack's victorious hand.
      But earthly happiness is not generally of long duration, and so in some respects it proved on the present occasion, for in the midst of the festivities arrived a messenger with the dismal intelligence that one Thunderdell, a giant with two heads, having heard of the death of his two kinsmen, came from the north to be revenged on Jack, and was already within a mile of the knight's house, the country people flying before him in all directions. The intelligence had no effect on the dauntless Jack, who immediately said, "Let him come! I have a tool to pick his teeth;" and with this elegant assertion, he invited the guests to witness his performance from a high terrace in the garden of the castle.
      It is now necessary to inform the reader that the knight's house or castle was situated in an island encompassed with a moat thirty feet deep, and twenty feet wide, passable by a drawbridge. Now Jack, intending to accomplish his purpose by a clever stratagem, employed men to cut through this drawbridge on both sides nearly to the middle; and then, dressing himself in his invisible coat, he marched against the giant with his well-tried sword. As he approached his adversary, although invisible, the giant, being, as it appears, an epicure in such matters, was aware of his approach, and exclaimed, in a fearful tone of voice—
Fi, fee, fo, fum!*
   I smell the blood of an English man!
Be he alive or be he dead,
   I'll grind his bones to make me bread!
These lines are quoted by Edgar in the tragedy of King Lear.

p.75 /

      "Say you so," said Jack; "then you are a monstrous miller indeed." The giant, deeply incensed, replied, "Art thou that villain who killed my kinsman? then I will tear thee with my teeth, and grind thy bones to powder." "But," says Jack, still provoking him, "you must catch me first, if you please:" so putting aside his invisible coat, so that the giant might see him, and putting on his wonderful shoes, he enticed him into a chase by just approaching near enough to give him an apparent chance of capture. The giant, we are told, "followed like a walking castle, so that the very foundations of the earth seemed to shake at every step." Jack led him a good distance, in order that the wondering guests at the castle might see him to advantage, but at last, to end the matter, he ran over the drawbridge, the giant pursuing him with his club; but coming to the place where the bridge was cut, the giant's great weight burst it asunder, and he was precipitated into the moat, where he rolled about, says the author, "like a vast whale." While the monster was in this condition, Jack sadly bantered him about the boast he had made of grinding his bones to powder, but at length, having teased him sufficiently, a cart-rope was cast over the two heads of the giant, and he was drawn ashore by a team of horses, where Jack served him as he had done his relatives, cut off his heads, and sent them to King Arthur.
      It would seem that the giant-killer rested a short time after this adventure, but he was soon tired of inactivity, and again went in search of another giant, the last whose head he was destined to chop off. After passing a long distance, he came at length to a large mountain, at the foot of which was a very lonely house. Knocking at the door, it was opened by "an ancient* man, with a head as white as snow,"

An old man.

who received Jack very courteously, and at once consented to his request for a lodging. Whilst they were at supper, the old man, who appears p.76 / to have known more than was suspected, thus addressed the hero: "Son, I am sensible you are a conqueror of giants, and I therefore inform you that on the top of this mountain is an enchanted castle, maintained by a giant named Galligantus, who, by the help of a conjuror, gets many knights into his castle, where they are transformed into sundry shapes and forms: but, above all, I especially lament a duke's daughter, whom they took from her father's garden, bringing her through the air in a chariot drawn by fiery dragons, and securing her within the castle walls, transformed her into the shape of a hind. Now, though a great many knights have endeavoured to break the enchantment, and work her deliverance, yet no one has been able to accomplish it, on account of two fiery griffins which are placed at the gate, and which destroyed them at their approach; but you, my son, being furnished with an invisible coat, may pass by them undiscovered, and on the gates of the castle you will find engraven in large characters by what means the enchantment may be broken." The undaunted Jack at once accepted the commission, and pledged his faith to the old man to proceed early in the morning on this new adventure.
      In the morning, as soon as it was daylight, Jack put on his invisible coat, and prepared himself for the enterprise. When he had reached the top of the mountain, he discovered the two fiery griffins, but, being invisible, he passed them without the slightest danger. When he had reached the gate of the castle, he noticed a golden trumpet attached to it, under which were written in large characters the following lines:

Whoever doth this trumpet blow,*
Shall soon the giant overthrow,
And break the black enchantment straight,
So all shall be in happy state.
Variations of this incident are found in romances of all nations.

p.77 /

      Jack at once accepted the challenge, and putting the trumpet to his mouth, gave a blast that made the hills re-echo. The castle trembled to its foundations, and the giant and conjuror were overstricken with fear, knowing that the reign of their enchantments was at an end. The former was speedily slain by Jack, but the conjuror, mounting up into the air, was carried away in a whirlwind, and never heard of more. The enchantments were immediately broken, and all the lords and ladies, who had so long been cruelly transformed, were standing on the native earth in their natural shapes, the castle having vanished with the conjuror.
      The only relic of the giant which was left was the head, which Jack cut off in the first instance, and which we must suppose rolled away from the influence of the enchanted castle, or it would have "vanished into thin air" with the body. It was fortunate that it did so, for it proved an inestimable trophy at the court of King Arthur, where Jack the Giant-killer was shortly afterwards united to the duke's daughter whom he had freed from enchantment, "not only to the joy of the court, but of all the kingdom." To complete his happiness, he was endowed with a noble house and estates, and his penchant for giant-killing having subsided, or, what is more probable, no more monsters appearing to interrupt his tranquillity, he accomplished the usual conclusion to these romantic narratives, by passing the remainder of his life in the enjoyment of every domestic felicity.

      [I have alluded to the quotation from this primitive romance made by Shakespeare in King Lear, but if the story of Rowland, published by Mr. Jamieson, is to be trusted, it would seem that the great dramatist was indebted to a ballad of the time. This position would, however, compel us to adopt the belief that the words of the giant are also taken from the ballad; a supposition to which I am most unwilling to assent. In fact, I p.78 / believe that Edgar quotes from two different compositions, the first line from a ballad on Rowland, the second from Jack and the Giants. "And Rowland into the castle came" is a line in the second ballad of Rosmer Hafmand, or the Merman Rosmer, in the Danish Kœmpe Viser, p. 165. The story alluded to above may be briefly given as follows.
      The sons of King Arthur were playing at ball in the merry town of Carlisle, and their sister, "Burd* Ellen" was in the midst of them.

It is almost unnecessary to observe that burd was an ancient term for lady.

Now it happened that Child Rowland gave the ball such a powerful kick with his foot that "o'er the kirk he gar'd it flee." Burd Ellen went round about in search of the ball, but what was the consternation of her brothers when they found that she did not return, although "they bade lang and ay langer," —

They sought her east, they sought her west,
   They sought her up and down;
And wae were the hearts in merry Carlisle,
   For she was nae gait found.
At last her eldest brother went to the Warlock or Wizard Merlin, and asked him if he knew where his sister, the fair Burd Ellen, was. "The fair Burd Ellen," said the Warlock Merlin, "is carried away by the fairies, and is now in the castle of the King of Elfland; and it were too bold an undertaking for the stoutest knight in Christendom to bring her back." The brother, however, insisted upon undertaking the enterprise, and after receiving proper instructions from Merlin, which he failed in observing, he set out on his perilous expedition, and was never more seen.
      The other brothers took the same course, and shared a similar fate, till it came to the turn of Child Rowland, who with great difficulty obtained the consent of his p.79 / mother, for Queen Guinever began to be afraid of losing all her children. Rowland, having received her blessing, girt on his father's celebrated sword Excaliber, that never struck in vain, and repaired to Merlin's cave. The wizard gave him all necessary instructions for his journey and conduct, the most important of which were that he should kill every person he met with after entering the land of Faerie, and should neither eat nor drink of what was offered him in that country, whatever his hunger or thirst might be; for if he tasted or touched in Elfland, he must remain in the power of the elves, and never see middle-earth again.
      Child Rowland faithfully promised to observe the instructions of Merlin, and he accordingly went to Elfland, where he found, as the wizard had foretold, the king's horseherd feeding his horses. "Canst thou tell me," said Rowland, "where the castle of the king of Elfland is?" "I cannot," replied the horseherd, "but go a little further, and thou wilt come to a cowherd, and perhaps he will know." When he had made this answer, Rowland, remembering his instructions, took his good sword, and cut off the head of the horseherd. He then went a little further, and met with a cowherd, to whom he repeated the same question, and obtained the same answer. Child Rowland then cut off the cowherd's head, and having pursued exactly the same course with a shepherd, goatherd, and a swineherd, he is referred by the last to a hen-wife, who, in reply to his question, said, "Go on yet a little farther till you come to a round green hill, surrounded with terraces from the bottom to the top: go round it three times widershins,*

The contrary way to the course of the sun.

and every time say, 'Open door, open door, and let me come in!' and the third time the door will open, and you may go in." Child Rowland immediately cut off the hen-wife's head in return for her intelligence, and p.80 / following her directions, a door in the hill opened, and he went in. As soon as he entered, the door closed behind him, and he traversed a long passage, which was dimly but pleasantly lighted by crystallized rock, till he came to two wide and lofty folding-doors, which stood ajar. He opened them, and entered an immense hall, which seemed nearly as big as the hill itself. It was the most magnificent apartment in all the land of Faerie, for the pillars were of gold and silver, and the keystones ornamented with clusters of diamonds. A gold chain hung from the middle of the roof, supporting an enormous lamp composed of one hollowed transparent pearl, in the midst of which was a large magical carbuncle that beautifully illumined the whole of the hall.
      At the upper end of the hall, seated on a splendid sofa, under a rich canopy, was his sister the Burd Ellen, "kembing her yellow hair wi' a silver kemb," who immediately perceiving him, was sorrow-struck at the anticipation of his being destroyed by the king of Elfland,—

And hear ye this, my youngest brither,
   Why badena ye not at hame?
Had ye a hunder and thousand lives,
   Ye canna brook ane o' them.
And she informs him that he will certainly lose his life if the king finds him in the hall. A long conversation then took place, and Rowland tells her all his adventures, concluding his narrative with the observation that, after his long journey, he is very hungry.
      On this the Burd Ellen shook her head, and looked sorrowfully at him; but, impelled by her enchantment, she rose up, and procured him a golden bowl full of bread and milk. It was then that the Child Rowland remembered the instructions of the Warlock Merlin, and he passionately exclaimed, "Burd Ellen, I will neither eat nor drink till I set thee free!" Immediately this speech was uttered, p.81 / the folding-doors of the hall burst open with tremendous violence, and in came the king of Elf-land, —
With, Fe, fi, fo, fum,
I smell the blood of a Christian man!
Be he dead, be he living, wi' my brand
I'll clash his harns frae his harn-pan!*

Literally, "I will dash his brains from his skull with my sword."

      "Strike, then, Bogle, if thou darest," exclaimed the undaunted Child Rowland, and a furious combat ensued, but Rowland, by the help of his good sword, conquered the elf-king, sparing his life on condition that he would restore to him his two brothers and sister. The king joyfully consented, and having disenchanted them by the anointment of a bright red liquor, they all four returned in triumph to merry Carlisle.]


      [Tom Hickathrift belongs to the same series as Jack the Giant-killer, one of the popular corruptions of old northern romances. It seems to allude to some of the insurrections in the Isle of Ely, such as that of Hereward, described in Wright's Essays, ii. 91. Spelman, however, describes a tradition, which he says was credited by the inhabitants of Tylney, in which Hickifric appears as the assertor of the rights of their ancestors, and the means he employed on the occasion correspond with incidents in the following tale. The entire passage is worth transcription. "In Marslandia sitae sunt Walsoka, Waltona, et Walpola. In viciniis jacent Terrington et St. Maries — adjacet Tylney veteris utique Tylneiorum familiae radix. Hic se expandit insignis area quae a planicie nuncupatur Tylney Smeeth, pinguis adeo et luxurians ut Paduana pascua videatur superasse. Tuentur eam indigenae velut aras et focos, fabellamque recitant longa petitam vetustate de Hickifrico (nescio quo) Haii illius instar in Scotorum Chronicis qui civium p.82 / suorum dedignatus fuga, aratrum quod agebat solvit; arreptoque temone furibundus insiliit in hostes victoriamque ademit exultantibus. Sic cum de agri istius possessione acriter olim dimicatum esset, inter fundi dominum et villarum incolas, nec valerent hi adversus eum consistere, redeuntibus occurret Hickifrickus, axemque excutiens a curru quem agebat, eo vice gladii usus; rota, clypei; invasores repulit ad ipsos quibus nunc funguntur terminos. Ostendunt in cœmeterio Tilniensi sepulchrum sui pugilis, axem cum rota insculptum exhibens." — Icenia, Descriptio Norfolciae, p.138. Hearne mentions this gravestone, and perhaps some Norfolk topographer will tell us if it now exists.]

      The author of the renowned History of Tom Hickathrift prefaces his narrative with the following consolatory exordium:—

And if thou dost buy this book,
Be sure that you do on it look,
And read it o'er, then thou wilt say
Thy money is not thrown away.
      In the reign before William the Conqueror, I have read in ancient history that there dwelt a man in the parish of the Isle of Ely, in the county of Cambridge, named Thomas Hickathrift, a poor labouring man, but so strong that he was able to do in one day the ordinary work of two. He had an only son, whom he christened Thomas, after his own name. The old man put his son "to good learning," but he would take none, for he was, as we call them in this age, none of the wisest, but something soft, and had no docility at all in him. God calling this good man, the father, to his rest, his mother, being tender of him, maintained him by her hard labour as well as she could; but this was no easy matter, for Tom would sit all day in the chimney-corner, instead of doing anything to assist her, and although at the period we are speaking of, he was p.83 / only ten years old, he would eat more than four or five ordinary men, and was five feet and a half in height, and two feet and a half broad. His hand was more like a shoulder of mutton than a boy's hand, and he was altogether like a little monster, "but yet his great strength was not known."
      Tom's strength came to be known in this manner. His mother, it appears, as well as himself, for they lived in the primitive days of merry old England, slept upon straw. This was in character with the wretched mud hovels then occupied by the labouring population, not half so good as many pigsties are now-a-days. Now being a tidy old creature, she must every now and then replenish her homely couch, and one day, having been promised a "bottle" of straw by a neighbouring farmer, after considerable entreaty, she prevailed on her son to go to fetch it. Tom, however, made her borrow a cart-rope first, before he would budge a step, without condescending to enter into any explanation respecting the use he intended it for; and the poor woman, too glad to obtain his assistance on any terms, readily complied with his singular request. Tom, swinging the rope round his shoulders, went to the farmer's, and found him with two men, thrashing in a barn. Having mentioned the object of his visit, the farmer somewhat inconsiderately told him he might take as much straw as he could carry. Tom immediately took him at his word, and, placing the rope in a right position, rapidly made up a bundle containing at least a cartload, the men jeering him on the absurdity of raising a pile they imagined no man could carry, and maliciously asking him if his rope was long enough. Their merriment, however, was not of long duration, for Tom flung the enormous bundle over his shoulders, and walked away with it without any apparent exertion, much to the astonishment and dismay of the master and his men.
      After this exploit, Tom was no longer suffered to p.84 / enoy his idle humours. Every one was endeavouring to secure his services, and we are told many remarkable tales of his extraordinary strength, still more wonderful than the one just related. On one occasion, having been offered as great a bundle of firewood as he could carry, he marched off with one of the largest trees in the forest! Tom was also extremely fond of attending fairs; and in cudgelling, wrestling, or throwing the hammer, there was no one who could compete with him. He thought nothing of flinging a huge hammer into the middle of a river a mile off, and in fact performed such extraordinary feats, that he was currently reported throughout the country he had dealings with the Evil One.
      Tom Hickathrift, too, was a very care-for-nothing fellow, and there were very few persons in all the Isle of Ely who dared to give him an ill word. Those who did paid very dearly for their impertinence, and Tom was, in fact, paramount over his companions. His great strength, however, caused him to be much sought after by those who were in want of efficient labour, and at length a brewer at Lynn, who required a strong, lusty fellow to carry his beer to the Marsh and to Wisbech, after much persuasion, and promising him a new suit of clothes, and as much as he liked to eat and drink, secured Tom for this purpose. The distance he daily travelled with the beer was upwards of twenty miles, for although there was a shorter cut through the Marsh, no one durst go that way for fear of a monstrous giant, who was lord of a portion of the district, and who killed or made slaves of every one he could lay his hands upon.
      Now in the course of time, Tom was thoroughly tired of going such a roundabout way, and without communicating his purpose to any one, he was resolved to pass through the giant's domain, or lose his life in the attempt. This was a bold undertaking, but good p.85 / living had so increased Tom's strength and courage, that, venturesome as he was before, his hardiness was so much increased that he would have faced a still greater danger. He accordingly drove his cart in the forbidden direction, flinging the gates wide open, as if for the purpose of making his daring more conspicuous. At length he was espied by the giant, who was indignant at his boldness, but consoled himself with the reflection that Tom and the beer would soon become his prey. "Sirrah," said the monster, "who gave you permission to come this way? Do you not know how I make all stand in fear of me? and you, like an impudent rogue, must come and fling my gates open at your pleasure! How dare you presume to do so? Are you careless of your life? Do not you care what you do? But I will make you an example for all rogues under the sun! Dost thou not see how many thousand heads hang upon yonder tree, heads of those who have offended against my laws; but thy head shall hang higher than all the rest for an example!" But Tom made him this impudent answer, "A dishclout in your teeth for your news, for you shall not find me to be one of them!" "No!" said the giant, in astonishment and indignation; "and what a fool you must be if you come to fight with such a one as I am, and bring never a weapon to defend yourself!" Quoth Tom, "I have a weapon here will make you know you are a traitorly rogue." This impertinent speech highly incensed the giant, who immediately ran to his cave for his club, intending to dash out Tom's brains at one blow. Tom was now much distressed for a weapon, that necessary accoutrement in his expedition having by some means escaped his memory, and he began to reflect how very little his whip would avail him against a monster twelve feet in height, and six feet round the waist, small dimensions certainly for a giant, but sufficient to be formidable. But while the giant was gone for his club, p.86 / Tom bethought himself, and turning his cart upside down, adroitly takes out the axletree, which would serve him for a staff, and removing a wheel, adapts it to his arm in lieu of a shield; very good weapons indeed in time of trouble, and worthy of Tom's ingenuity. When the monster returned with his club, he was amazed to see the weapons with which Tom had armed himself, but uttering a word of defiance, he bore down upon the poor fellow with such heavy strokes, that it was as much as Tom could do to defend himself with his wheel. Tom, however, at length managed to give the giant* a heavy blow with the axletree on the side of his head, that he nearly reeled over.

In the original it is lent the giant, the term lent being old English or Saxon for gave. The expression sufficiently proves the antiquity of the version.

"What!" said Tom, "are you tipsy with my strong beer already?" This inquiry did not, as we may suppose, mollify the giant, who laid on his blows so sharply and heavily that Tom was obliged to act on the defensive. By and by, not making any impression on the wheel, he got almost tired out, and was obliged to ask Tom if he would let him drink a little, and then he would fight again. "No," said Tom, "my mother did not teach me that wit; who would be fool then?" The sequel may readily be imagined, and Tom having beaten the giant, and, disregarding his supplications for mercy, cut off his head, entered the cave, which he found completely filled with gold and silver.
      The news of this celebrated victory rapidly spread throughout the country, for the giant had been a common enemy to the inhabitants. They made bonfires for joy, and testified their respect to Tom by every means in their power. A few days afterwards, Tom took possession of the cave and all the giant's treasure. He pulled down the former, and built a magnificent house on the spot; but with respect to the land forcibly ob- p.87 / tained by the giant, part of it he gave to the poor for their common, merely reserving enough to maintain himself and his good old mother, Jane Hickathrift. His treasure, we may suppose, notwithstanding this great liberality, enabled him to maintain a noble establishment, for he is represented as having numbers of servants, and a magnificent park of deer. He also built a famous church, which was called St. James's, because it was on that saint's day that he had killed the giant. And what was as good and better than all this, he was no longer called Tom Hickathrift by the people, but "Mr. Hickathrift," a title then implying a greater advancement in social position that can now scarcely be imagined.
      Like many other persons who have become suddenly possessed of great wealth, Tom was sadly at a loss to know what to do with his money; nor does this sage history condescend to inform us in what manner he expended it. He seems, however, to have amused himself rarely, attending every sport he could hear of for miles round, cracking skulls at cudgel-playing, bear-baiting, and all the gentlemanly recreations current in those days. At football he could scarcely have been a welcome addition to the company, for one kick from his foot, if he caught it in the middle, was sure to send the ball so great a distance over hedges and trees that it was never seen again. Tom was, also, one evening attacked by four robbers; but they sadly mistook the person they had to deal with, for he quickly killed two of them, made the others sue for mercy, and carried off their booty, which amounted to the large sum of two hundred pounds. One would have thought the Hickathrifts were wealthy enough before, but this addition to their store was, somehow or other, a source of great delight and merriment to Tom's aged mother.
      Tom was a long time before he found any one that could match him; but, one day, going through his p.88 / woods, he met with a lusty tinker, who had a great staff on his shoulder, and a large dog to carry his bag and tools. Tom was not particularly courteous; it may readily be supposed that his unvarying successes had made him rather overbearing; and he somewhat rudely asked the tinker what was his business there. But the tinker was no man to succumb, and as rudely answered, "What's that to you? Fools must needs be meddling!" A quarrel was soon raised, and the two laid on in good earnest, blow for blow, till the wood re-echoed with their strokes. The issue of the context was long doubtful, but, the tinker was so persevering, that Tom confessed he was fairly vanquished; and they then went home together, and were sworn brothers in arms ever afterwards. It happened, from the events that followed, to be a fortunate occurrence.
      In and about the Isle of Ely, many disaffected persons, to the number of ten thousand and upwards, drew themselves up in a body, presuming to content for their ancient rights and liberties, insomuch that the gentry and civil magistrates of the county were in great danger. The danger was so great, that the sheriff was obliged to come to Tom Hickathrift, under cover of the night, for shelter and protection, and gave him a full account of the rebellion. The tinker and Tom immediately promised their assistance, and they went out as soon as it was day, armed with their clubs, the sheriff conducting them to the rendezvous of the rebels. When they arrived there, Tom and the tinker marched up to the leaders of the multitude, and asked them the reason of their disturbing the government. To this they answered loudly, "Our will is our law, and by that alone will we be governed." "Nay," quoth Tom, "if it be so, these trusty clubs are our weapons, and by them alone you shall be chastised." These words were no sooner uttered, than they madly rushed on the immense multitude, bearing all before them, laying twenty or p.89 / thirty sprawling with every blow. It is also related, as something rather remarkable, that the tinker struck a tall man on the nape of the neck with such immense force that his head flew off, and was carried forty feet from the body with such violence that it knocked down one of the chief ringleaders, killing him on the spot. The feats of Tom were no less wonderful; for, after having slain hundreds, and at length broke his club, he seized upon "a lusty rawboned miller" as a substitute, and made use of him as a weapon, till he had quite cleared the field.
      The king of course received intelligence of these extraordinary exploits, and sent for the two heroes to his palace, where a royal banquet was prepared for their honour and entertainment, most of the nobility being present. Now after the banquet was over, the king made a speech, neither too short nor too long, but having the extraordinary merit of being much to the purpose. We cannot omit so remarkable a specimen of royal eloquence. "These, my guests," said the king, "are my trusty and well-beloved subjects, men of approved courage and valour; they are the men that overcame and conquered ten thousand rebels who were combined for the purpose of disturbing the peace of my realm. According to the character I have received of Thomas Hickathrift and Henry Nonsuch, my two worthy guests here present, they cannot be matched in any other kingdom in the world. Were it possible to have an army of twenty thousand such as these, I dare venture to assert I would act the part of Alexander the Great over again. In the meanwhile, as a proof of my royal favour, kneel down, Thomas Hickathrift, and receive the ancient order of knighthood. And with respect to Henry Nonsuch, I will settle upon him, as a reward for his great services, the sum of forty shillings a year for life." After the delivery of this excellent address, the king retired, and Tom and Henry shortly p.90 / afterwards took their departure, attended for many miles by a portion of the court.
      When Sir Thomas Hickathrift returned home, he found, to his great sorrow, that his mother had died during his stay at the court. It can scarcely be said that he was inconsolable for her loss, but being "left alone in a large and spacious house, he found himself strange and uncouth." He therefore began to consider whether it would not be advisable to seek out for a wife, and hearing of a wealthy young widow not far from Cambridge, he went and paid his addresses to her. At his first coming, she appeared to favour his suit, but, before he paid her a second visit, her fancy had been attracted by a more elegant wooer, and Sir Thomas actually found him at her feet. The young spark, relying on the lady's favour, was vehemently abusive to the knight, calling him a great lubberly whelp, a brewer's servant, and a person altogether unfitted to make love to a lady. Sir Thomas was not a likely man to allow such an affront to go unpunished, so going out in the courtyard with the dandy to settle the matter, he gave him a kick which sent him over the tops of the houses into a pond some distance off, where he would have been drowned, had not a poor shepherd, passing by, pulled him out with his crook.
      The gallant studied every means of being revenged upon the knight, and for this purpose engaged two troopers to lie in ambush for him. Tom, however, according to the story, "crushed them like cucumbers."*

The author is not very particular in his similes, but this appears to be quite peculiar to this history.

Even when he was going to church with his bride to be married, he was set upon by one-and-twenty ruffians in armour; but, borrowing a back-sword from one of the company, he laid about him with such dexterity, that, purposely desiring not to kill any one, at every blow he chopped off a leg or an arm, the ground being strewed p.91 / with the relics, "as it is with tiles from the tops of the houses after a dreadful storm." His intended and friends were mightily amused at all this, and the fair one jokingly observed, "What a splendid lot of cripples he has made in the twinkling of an eye!" Sir Thomas only received a slight scratch, and he consoled himself for the trifling misfortune by the conviction he had only lost a drop of blood for every limb he had chopped off.
      The marriage ceremony took place without any further adventure, and Sir Thomas gave a great feast on the occasion, to which all the poor widows for miles round were invited in honour of his deceased mother, and it lasted for four days, in memory of the four last victories he had obtained. The only occurrence at this feast worth mentioning was the theft of a silver cup, which was traced to the possession of an old woman of the name of Stumbelup,*

This incident has been slightly altered, the original narrative being of a nature that will not bear an exact transcription.

and the others were so disgusted at her ingratitude to their kind host, that she would have been hanged on the spot, had not Sir Thomas interfered, and undertook the appointment of the punishment. Nor was it otherwise than comical, for she was condemned to be drawn through all the streets and lanes of Cambridge on a wheelbarrow, holding a placard in her hands, which informed the public,—

I am the naughty Stumbelup,
Who tried to steal the silver cup.
      The news of Tom's wedding soon reached the court, and the king, remembering his eminent services, immediately invited him and his lady, who visited their sovereign immediately, and were received by him most affectionately. While they were on this visit, intelligence arrived that an extraordinary invasion had taken place in the county of Kent. A huge giant riding on a dragon, and accompanied with a large number of bears p.92 / and lions, had landed on the coast of that unfortunate county, and was ravaging it in all directions. The king, says the history, was "a little startled," and well he might be, at such a visitation; but, taking advantage of the opportune presence of Tom Hickathrift, he solved the difficulty by creating him governor of the Isle of Thanet,* and thus making him responsible for the protection of the inhabitants from this terrible monster.

In the heading of the chapter in the original it is East Angles, now called the Isle of Thanet, an error which favours the supposition of the story having been adapted from a much older original.

      There was a castle in the island, from which the country was visible for miles round, and this was the governor's abode. He had not been there long before he caught a view of the giant, who is described as "mounted upon a dreadful dragon, with an iron club upon his shoulders, having but one eye, the which was placed in his forehead; this eye was larger in compass than a barber's bason, and appeared like a flame of fire; his visage was dreadful to behold, grim and tawny; the hair of his head hung down his back and shoulders like snakes of an enormous length; and the bristles of his beard were like rusty wire!" It is difficult to imagine a being more terrible than this, but Tom was only surprised, not frightened, when he saw one day the giant making his way to the castle on his formidable dragon. After he had well viewed the edifice with his glaring eye, he tied the dragon up to a tree, and went up to the castle as if he had intended to thrust it down with his shoulder. But somehow or other he managed to slip down, so that he could not extricate himself, and Tom, advancing with his two-handed sword, cut off the giant's head at one blow, and the dragon's at four, and sent them up in a "waggon" to the court of his sovereign.
      The news of Tom's victories reached the ears of his old companion, the tinker, who became desirous of sharing in his glory, and accordingly joined him at his castle. p.93 / After mutual congratulations, Tom informed him of his wish to destroy, without delay, the beasts of prey that infested the island. They started for this purpose in company, Tom armed with his two-handed sword, and the tinker with his long pikestaff. After they had travelled about four or five hours, it was their fortune to meet with the whole knot of wild beasts together, being in number fourteen, six bears and eight lions. The two heroes waited for them with their backs against a tree, and whenever they came "within cutting distance" they cut their heads off, and in this manner killed all but one lion, who, unfortunately, by an inconsiderate movement on the part of Tom, crushed the poor tinker to death. The animal was, however, ultimately slain by Sir Thomas.
      Sir Thomas Hickathrift had killed the giants, dragon, and lions, and he had conquered the rebels, but his happiness was by no means completed, for he was inconsolate for the loss of his friend. He, however, returned home to his lady, and made a grand feast in commemoration of his important victories. The history terminates with the following brilliant metrical speech he made on this festive occasion:

My friends, while I have strength to stand,
     Most manfully I will pursue
All dangers, till I clear this land
     Of lions, bears, and tigers, too.

This you'll find true, or I'm to blame,
     Let it remain upon record,—
Tom Hickathrift's most glorious fame,
     Who never yet has broke his word!

p.94 /


      [Thumb stories are common in German and Danish, and the English tale comprises much that is found in the Northern versions. A writer in the Quarterly Review, xxi. 100, enters into some speculations respecting the mythological origin of Tom Thumb, and records his persuasion, in which we agree, that several of our common nursery tales are remnants of ancient muqoi. Sir W. Scott mentions the Danish popular history of Svend Tomling, analysed by Nierup, "a man no bigger than a thumb, who would be married to a woman three ells and three quarters long." This personage is probably commemorated in the nursery rhyme,
I had a little husband
     No bigger than my thumb:
I put him in a pint-pot,
     And there I bid him drum.
      According to popular tradition, Tom Thumb died at Lincoln, and a little blue flagstone in the pavement of the cathedral used to be pointed out as his monument.
      "It was my good fortune," says Dr. Wagstaffe, "some time ago, to have the library of a schoolboy committed to my charge, where, among other undiscovered valuable authors, I pitched upon Tom Thumb and Tom Hickathrift, authors indeed more proper to adorn the shelves of Bodley or the Vatican, than to be confined to the retirement and obscurity of a private study. I have perused the first of these with an infinite pleasure, and a more than ordinary application, and have made some observations on it, which may not, I hope, prove unacceptable to the public, and however it may have been ridiculed and looked upon as an entertainment only for children and those of younger years, may be found perhaps a performance not unworthy the perusal of the judicious, and the model superior to either of p.95 / those incomparable poems of Chevy Chase or the Children in the Wood. The design was undoubtedly to recommend virtue, and to show that however any one may labour under the disadvantages of stature and deformity, or the meanness of parentage, yet if his mind and actions are above the ordinary level, those very disadvantages that seem to depress him add a lustre to his character." — A Comment upon the History of Tom Thumb, 1711, p. 4.]

      In the merry days of good King Arthur, there lived in one of the counties of England a ploughman and his wife. They were poor, but as the husband was a strong workman, and his partner an able assistant in all matters pertaining to the farmhouse, the dairy, and poultry, they managed to make a very good living, and would have been contented and happy, had Nature blessed them with any offspring. But although they had been married several years, no olive branch had yet appeared, and the worthy couple sadly lamented their hard lot.
      There lived at this period, at the court of Arthur, a celebrated conjuror and magician, whose name was Merlin, the astonishment of the whole world, for he knew the past, present, and future, and nothing appeared impossible to him. Persons of all classes solicited his assistance and advice, and he was perfectly accessible to the humblest applicant. Aware of this, the ploughman, after a long consultation with his "better half," determined to consult him, and, for this purpose, travelled to the court, and, with tears in his eyes, beseeched Merlin that he might have a child, "even though it should be no bigger than his thumb."
      Now Merlin had a strange knack of taking people exactly at their words, and without waiting for any more explicit declaration of the ploughman's wishes, at once p.96 / granted his request. What was the poor countryman's astonishment to find, when he reached home, that his wife had given birth to a gentleman so diminutive, that it required a strong exercise of the vision to see him. His growth was equally wonderful, for—

In four minutes he grew so fast,
     That he became as tall
As was the ploughman's thumb in length,
     And so she did him call.
      The christening of this little fellow was a matter of much ceremony, for the fairy queen, attended by all her company of elves, was present at the rite, and he formally received the name of Tom Thumb. Her majesty and attendants attired him with their choicest weeds, and his costume is worth a brief notice. His hat was made of a beautiful oak leaf; his shirt was composed of a fine spider's web, and his hose and doublet of thistle-down. His stockings were made with the rind of a delicate green apple, and the garters were two of the finest little hairs one can imagine, plucked from his mother's eyebrows. Shoes made of the skin of a little mouse, "and tanned most curiously," completed his fairy-like accoutrement.
      It may easily be imagined that Tom was an object of astonishment and ridicule amongst the other children of the village, but they soon discovered that, notwithstanding his diminutive size, he was more than a match for them. It was a matter of very little consequence to Tom whether he lost or won, for if he found his stock of counters or cherrystones run low, he soon crept into the pockets of his companions, and replenished his store. It happened, on one occasion, that he was detected, and the aggrieved party punished Tom by shutting him up in a pin-box. The fairy boy was sadly annoyed at his imprisonment, but the next day he amply revenged himself; for hanging a row of glasses on a p.97 / sunbeam, his companions thought they would follow his example, and, not possessing Tom's fairy gifts, broke the glasses, and were severely whipped, whilst the little imp was overjoyed at their misfortune, standing by, and laughing till the tears run down his face.
      The boys were so irritated with the trick that had been played upon them, that Tom's mother was afraid to trust him any longer in their company. She accordingly kept him at home, and made him assist her in any light work suitable for so small a child. One day, while she was making a batter-pudding, Tom stood on the edge of the bowl, with a lighted candle in his hand, so that she might see it was properly made. Unfortunately, however, when her back was turned, Tom accidentally fell in the bowl, and his mother not missing him, stirred him up in the pudding "instead of minced fat," and put the pudding in the kettle with Tom in it. The poor woman paid dearly for her mistake, for Tom had no sooner felt the warm water, than he danced about like mad, and the pudding jumped about till she was nearly frightened out of her wits, and was glad to give it to a tinker who happened to be passing that way. He was thankful for a present so acceptable, and anticipated the pleasure of eating a better dinner than he had enjoyed for many a long day. But his joy was of short duration, for as he was getting over a stile, he happened to sneeze very hard, and Tom, who had hitherto remained silent, cried out, "Hollo, Pickens!" which so terrified the tinker, that he threw the pudding into the field, and scampered away as fast as ever he could go. The pudding tumbled to pieces with the fall, and Tom, creeping out, went home to his mother, who had been in great affliction on account of his absence.
      A few days after this adventure, Tom accompanied his mother when she went into the fields to milk the cows, and for fear he should be blown away by the p.98 / wind, she tied him to a thistle with a small piece of thread. While in this position, a cow came by, and swallowed him up:
But, being missed, his mother went,
     Calling him everywhere:
Where art thou, Tom? where art thou, Tom?
     Quoth he, Here, mother, here!

Within the red cow's stomach, here
     Your son is swallowed up;
All which within her fearful heart
     Much woful dolour put.

The cow, however, was soon tired of her subject, for Tom kicked and scratched till the poor animal was nearly mad, and at length tumbled him out of her mouth, when he was caught by his mother, and carried safely home.
      A succession of untoward accidents followed. One day, Tom's father took him to the fields a-ploughing, and gave him "a whip made of a barley straw" to drive the oxen with, but the dwarf was soon lost in a furrow. While he was there, a great raven came and carried him an immense distance to the top of a giant's castle. The giant soon swallowed him up, but he made such a disturbance when he got inside, that the monster was soon glad to get rid of him, and threw the mischievous little imp full three miles into the sea. But he was not drowned, for he had scarcely reached the water before he was swallowed by a huge fish, which was shortly after captured, and sent to King Arthur by the fisherman for a new-year's gift. Tom was now discovered, and at once adopted by the king as his dwarf;
Long time he liv'd in jollity,
     Belov'd of the court,
And none like Tom was so esteem'd
     Amongst the better sort.
      The queen was delighted with the little dwarf, and p.99 / made him dance a galliard on her left hand. His performance was so satisfactory, that King Arthur gave him a ring which he wore about his middle like a girdle; and he literally "crept up the royal sleeve," requesting leave to visit his parents, and take them as much money as he could carry:
And so away goes lusty Tom
     With threepence at his back,
A heavy burthen, which did make
     His very bones to crack.
      Tom remained three days with the old couple, and feasted upon a hazel-nut so extravagantly that he grew ill. His indisposition was not of long continuance, and Arthur was so anxious for the return of his dwarf, that his mother took a birding-trunk, and blew him to the court. He was received by the king with every demonstration of affection and delight, and tournaments were immediately proclaimed:
Thus he at tilt and tournament
     Was entertained so,
That all the rest of Arthur's knights
     Did him much pleasure show.

And good Sir Launcelot du Lake,
     Sir Tristram and Sir Guy,
Yet none compar'd to brave Tom Thumb
     In acts of chivalry.

      Tom, however, paid dearly for his victories, for the exertions he made upon this celebrated occasion threw him into an illness which ultimately occasioned his death. But the hero was carried away by his godmother, the fairy queen, into the land of Faerie, and after the lapse of two centuries, he was suffered to return to earth, and again amuse men by his comical adventures. On one occasion, after his return from fairy-land, he jumped down a miller's throat, and played all manner of pranks p.100 / on the poor fellow, telling him of all his misdeeds, for millers in former days were the greatest rogues, as everybody knows, that ever lived. A short time afterwards, Tom a second time is swallowed by a fish, which is caught, and set for sale at the town of Rye, where a steward haggles for it,—
Amongst the rest the steward came,
     Who would the salmon buy,
And other fish that he did name,
     But he would not comply.

The steward said, You are so stout,
     If so, I'll not buy any.
So then bespoke Tom Thumb aloud,
     "Sir, give the other penny!"

At this they began to stare,
     To hear this sudden joke:
Nay, some were frighted to the heart,
     And thought the dead fish spoke.

So the steward made no more ado,
     But bid a penny more;
Because, he said, I never heard
     A fish to speak before.

      The remainder of the history, which details Tom's adventures with the queen, his coach drawn by six beautiful white mice, his escaping on the back of a butterfly, and his death in a spider's web, is undoubtedly a later addition to the original, and may therefore be omitted in this analysis. It is, in fact, a very poor imitation of the first part of the tale.