And from out the cool wood step King Oberon and Queen Mab, with all their Fairy train that glitters in the moonshine like a long string of jewels. The royal train advances into the middle of the meadow. The King and Queen seat themselves on a throne of moss. At their left is capering Puck mowing and mouthing; at their right, [Pg 6] Ariel the sweetest singer. All present bow themselves before the throne.
Queen Mab raises her wand, and each little Elf and Fairy scurries and hurries to make himself comfortable. Some sway on the blades of grass; others climb the flower stalks and curl up inside the fragrant blossoms; while still others swing and rock in the trees, or nestle among the ferns and under toadstool umbrellas.
Every wee Elf, and every tiny Fairy, and every little Imp, from all the world over, is here. Indeed, all the members of the entire Fairy Family are present except the human-sized ones. They are too busy to come. The Elfin Princes are searching cottages and palaces for mortal brides to carry off to Fairyland.
Queen Mab waves her wand! All is hushed. Once upon a time, when men did eat more and drink less, when men did know no knavery, there were wont to walk many harmless sprites called Fairies, dancing in brave order in Fairy Rings on green hills, to sweet music. These sprites would make themselves invisible, and many mad pranks would they play, pinching careless housemaids black and blue, and turning ill-kept houses topsy-turvy.
Now, in those Fairy days there was born on earth a tiny Elfin boy whom folk called Robin Goodfellow. And wonderful were the gifts from Fairyland that came to Robin when he was a baby. In his room suddenly would appear rich embroidered cushions, delicate linen garments, and all sorts of delicious things to eat and drink. So he was never in want. Now, when Robin was grown to six years, he [Pg 10] was so mischievous that the neighbours all complained of his pranks until he was forced to run away.
He wandered about until he began to get hungry; then, going to a tailor, he took service with him. He remained there until he grew so mischievous that he was obliged to run away again. No sooner had he closed his eyes than he fancied he saw tiny beings tripping on the grass before him, to the sound of sweet music.
And when he awoke, he found, to his surprise, a scroll lying near by on which were these verses, written in letters of gold:—. Robin, having read this, was very joyful, for he perceived that he had Fairy power. He straightway wished for something to eat, and it appeared before him. Then he wished himself a horse, and no sooner did he say so than he became a handsome colt, curveting and leaping about. He wished himself a dog, and was one. After that he turned himself into any shape he liked.
Then taking his own form again, he once more started on his travels. Once, seeing a rude and clownish fellow searching for a lost horse, Robin turned himself into a horse, and led the rude man a chase over field and briar, until he allowed the man to catch him and mount his back. One night he came to a house where there was a good and handsome maid. And while she slept Robin did her work, more than she could have done in twelve hours. The maid wondered the next morning to see all done so finely, and that night she watched to see what would follow. At twelve of the clock in came Robin and, singing, fell to work breaking her hemp and doing her spinning, and as he worked he sang a mad song:—.
The maid, seeing that he had no clothes, pitied him, and the next night she laid out a little suit that she had cut and sewed during the day. Robin, coming in, spied the clothes, whereat he started, and said:—. At length Oberon, King of Fairyland, seeing so many honest and merry tricks, called one night to Robin as he lay sleeping in the green-wood:—. Robin, hearing this, woke and rose hastily, and, looking about, saw in the moonlight King Oberon, and many Fairies with him dressed in green silk.
And all these did welcome Robin Goodfellow into their company. King Oberon took Robin by the hand and led him a dance. And near by sat little Tom Thumb, the Fairy piper, no bigger than a plum. This pipe made music so shrill and sweet, that naught might be compared to it. Thus they danced for a good space, then sat themselves down upon the grass, and the Fairies told Robin of many Elfish tricks and merry capers; until, the time passing, a shepherd in a field near by blew his pipes so loudly that he frightened little Tom Thumb.
The Fairies punished the shepherd by the loss of his pipes, so that they presently broke in his hand, to his great amazement. The morning being come, at cock-crow the Fairies hastened away to Fairyland, where I think they yet remain. Some folk say that the Little People, the Fairies, were once angels that were cast out of Heaven for their sins.
They fell to earth and grew smaller and smaller. And to-day they dance on moonlit nights in Fairy Rings, and play all manner of pranks. Be that as it may, one night a merry troop of them was capering in the moonshine. And so light were their feet that the dew trembled, but was not disturbed. So they danced, spinning around and around, and twirling, and bobbing, and diving, until one of them chirped:—. And away all the Fairies scampered as fast as they could. Some hid under the green leaves of the Foxglove, their little caps peeping out like crimson bells. Others crept under the shadow of stones, or beneath the bank of the river.
He was thinking to himself that he would end his journey at the first cabin he came to. And a welcome guest, you may be sure, was Father Horrigan, for no man was better loved in all that country. But when Dermod saw him enter, he was troubled, for he had nothing to offer for supper except some potatoes that his wife was boiling in a pot over the fire. Then he remembered that he had set a net in the river. So down to the river went Dermod. He found as fine a salmon in the net as ever jumped from water. But as he was taking it out, the net was jerked from his hands, and away the salmon went, swimming along as though nothing had happened.
Dermod looked sorrowfully at the wake that the fish left shining like a line of silver in the moonlight. There were a [Pg 17] hundred or more of us pulling against you! But the little Fairy was not to be repulsed. Dermod considered for a moment. And, if you wish us well, Dermod Leary, you will bring the word that he says. They are in thousands down on the bank of the river waiting for your word. So back Dermod hurried to the river. The Fairies came swarming around him.
They pressed close to his feet, with faces upturned as they anxiously waited. And when they heard that, the whole multitude of little Fairies uttered shrill cries and groans; and they whisked past Dermod in such numbers that he was quite bewildered. Then in a trice he found himself alone. He went slowly back to his cabin.
He opened [Pg 19] the door. The fire was burning brightly. The candles were lighted. Dermod sat down at the table, and began to eat without a word. And when Father Horrigan was through the good Priest smacked his lips, and said that he had relished the hot tasty potatoes, more than a dozen fat salmon, and a whole Fairy feast! In Tipperary is one of the most singularly shaped hills in the world.
It has a peak at the top like a conical nightcap. On this very peak, long years ago, a herdsman spent his nights and days watching the herd. Now, the hill was ancient Fairy ground, and the Little People were angry that the scene of their light and airy gambols should be trampled by the rude hoofs of bulls and cows.
The lowing of the cattle sounded sad in their ears. So the Queen of the Fairies determined to drive away the herdsman. One night the moon shone brightly on the hill. The cattle were lying down. The herdsman, wrapped in his mantle, was watching the twinkling stars, when suddenly there appeared before him a great horse with the wings of an eagle, and the tail of a dragon. And then the Queen of the Fairies—for of course it was she—roared, neighed, hissed, bellowed, howled, and hooted so fearfully that the poor herdsman in terror covered his head with his mantle.
But it was of no use, for with one puff of wind she blew away the fold of his mantle, let him hold it never so tightly. As for the poor man, he could not stir or close his eyes, but was forced to sit there gazing at this terrible sight until his hair lifted his hat half a foot from his head, and his teeth chattered so that they almost fell out of his mouth.
Meanwhile the frightened cattle scampered about like mad, as if bitten by fleas, and so they continued to do until the sun rose. Then the Fairy Queen disappeared. Night after night, the same thing happened, and the cattle went mad. Some fell into pits, or tumbled into the river and were drowned. By and by, not a herdsman was willing to tend the cattle at night. The farmer who owned the hill offered triple and quadruple wages, but not a man was found who would face the terrors of the Fairy Ring.
The herd gradually thinned, and the Fairies, on moonlit nights, danced and gambolled as merrily as before, sipping dew-drops from acorn-cups, and spreading their feasts on the heads of mushrooms. Now, there dwelt in that part of the country [Pg 22] a man named Larry Hoolahan, who played on the pipes better than any other player within fifteen parishes. A dashing, roving blade was Larry, and afraid of nothing. One day the farmer met him, and told him all his misfortunes. Were there as many Fairies on the hill as there are potato-blossoms in Tipperary, I would face them.
But, if you make your words good, and watch my herds for a week on top of the hill, your hand shall be free of my dish till the sun has burnt itself down to the bigness of a farthing rushlight! The bargain was struck, and Larry went to the hill-top when the moon was beginning to peep over its brow.
He took his seat on a big stone under a hollow of the hill, with his back to the wind, and pulled out his pipes. He had not played long when the voices of the Fairies were heard upon the blast like a low stream of music. Presently they burst into a loud laugh, and Larry could plainly hear one say:—. And away they flew, and Larry felt them pass by his face like a swarm of midges. Looking up hastily he saw, between the moon and him, a great black cat, standing on the very tip of its claws, with its back up, and mewing with a voice like a water-mill.
Presently it swelled up toward the sky, and, turning round on its left hind leg, whirled till it fell to the ground. Then it started up in the shape of a salmon with a cravat round its neck, and wearing a pair of new top-boots. But the Queen of the Fairies—for of course it was she—turned into this and that and the other; but still Larry played on, as well as he knew how. At last she lost patience, and changed herself into a calf, milk-white as the cream of Cork, and with eyes as mild as those of a loving girl. She came up gentle and fawning, hoping to throw him off his guard, and then to work him some wrong.
But Larry was not so deceived, for when she came near, dropping his pipes, he leaped on her back. Now, from the top of the hill, as you look westward, you may see the broad river Shannon, full [Pg 24] ten miles away. On this night its waters shone beautifully under the moon, and no sooner had Larry leaped on the back of the Fairy Queen than she sprang from the hill-top, and bounded clear at one jump, over the Shannon.
It was done in a second; and, when she alighted on the distant bank, she kicked up her heels, and flung Larry on the soft turf. So she changed to a calf again, and Larry got on her back. At another bound they were standing inside the Fairy Ring. The day dawns. Go down to the farmer, and tell him this. And, if anything I can do will be of service to you, ask and you shall have it. He died at last; and is buried in a green valley of pleasant Tipperary. But whether the Fairies returned to the hill after his death is more than I can say.
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Betty. Her mother was a widow and very poor, and owned only a tumble-down house and two goats. Nevertheless, Betty was always cheerful. From Spring to Autumn she pastured the goats in the birch wood. Every morning when she left home, her mother gave her a little basket in which were a slice of bread and a spindle.
And, as Betty had no distaff, she wound the flax around her head, took the basket, and, with a skip and a jump, led her goats to the birch wood. There she sat under a tree and drew fibres of the flax from her head with her left hand, and let down the spindle with her right, so that it just hummed over the ground. And all the while she sang merrily, and the goats nibbled the green grass. When the sun showed that it was midday she put aside her work, called her goats, and, after giving them each a morsel of bread, bounded into the wood to look for strawberries.
When she came back she ate her fruit and bread, and, folding [Pg 27] her hands, danced and sang. And at evening she drove her goats home, and her mother never had to scold her for bringing the spindle back empty. One lovely Spring day, just as Betty sprang up to dance, suddenly—where she came, there she came! She wore a white dress as thin as gossamer, golden hair flowed to her waist, and on her head was a garland of wood flowers.
Betty was struck dumb with astonishment. The musicians sat on branches of the birches. They were clad in black, ash-coloured, and variegated coats. They were choice musicians who had come together at the call of the beautiful [Pg 28] maiden—nightingales, larks, linnets, goldfinches, thrushes, blackbirds, and a very skillful mocking-bird. She could only gaze at her partner, who whirled her around with the most charming movements, and so lightly that the grass did not bend beneath her delicate weight. Then the beautiful maiden stopped, the music ceased, and as she came, so she went, and she vanished as if the earth had swallowed her.
Betty looked about. The sun had set. She clapped her hands to the top of her head, and remembered that her spindle was by no means full. She took the flax and put it with the spindle into her basket, and drove the goats home. That night her mother did not ask to see her work. Next morning Betty again drove the goats to pasture.
All happened as before. Where she came, there she came! Then Betty saw that the sun was setting and her spindle nearly empty, so she began to cry. The spindle [Pg 29] just swung over the ground. It grew fuller and fuller, and before the sun set behind the wood, all the yarn was spun.
And as she came, so she went, and she vanished as if the ground had swallowed her. Betty drove the goats home, and gave her mother the full spindle. Well, the next day all happened as before.
Then the maiden handed Betty a covered basket, saying:—. At first Betty was afraid to peep into the basket, but when she was halfway home, she could not restrain herself. She lifted the cover and peeped, and, oh! I reeled and I reeled, and the spindle remained full. One skein! Tell me the meaning of this. Lucky for you that she did not tickle you to death!
The next morning they both went to the place where Betty had thrown out the leaves, but on the road lay nothing but birch leaves. However, the gold Betty had brought home was enough to make them rich. Her mother bought a fine house and garden. They had many cattle. Betty had handsome clothes, and she did not need to pasture the goats any more.
But though she had everything she desired, nothing gave her so great delight as the dance with the Wood-Fairy. She often went to the birch wood hoping to see the beautiful maiden, but she never again set eyes upon her. There once lived a lad in old Ireland named Lusmore. He had a great hump on his back, and whenever he sat down he had to rest his chin on his knee for support.
But, in spite of this, he was as happy as a cricket, and used to go about the country with a sprig of Fairy-cap, or Foxglove, in his little straw hat. He went from house to house plaiting baskets out of rushes, and in that way he earned a living. And he was so merry that people always gave him a penny more than he asked. One evening, he was returning from a distant town, and as he walked slowly on account of his hump, it grew dark before he could reach home.
He came to an old mound by the side of the road, and, being tired, sat down on it to rest. He had not been sitting there long when he heard strains of music, and many little voices singing sweetly. He laid his ear to the mound, and perceived that the music and singing came from inside it. And he could hear the words that the little voices were chanting over and over again:—.
He waited politely until the voices had finished their song, then he called:—. And he went falling and twirling round and round as light as a feather. He found himself in a palace so bright that it dazzled his eyes. Then all the Fairies stopped capering and dancing, and came crowding around him. And one, wearing a crown, stepped forward and said:—. And as these words were being said, Lusmore felt himself grow so light and happy, that he could have bounded up to the moon.
And he saw his hump tumble off his back and roll on the floor.
Then the Fairies took hands, and danced around him, and as they did so he became dizzy and fell asleep. He put his hand to his hump. It was gone! And there he was, as tall, straight, and handsome as any other lad in Ireland.
And, besides all that, he was dressed in a full suit of beautiful clothes. He went toward his home stepping out lightly, and jumping high at every step, so full of joy was he. And as he passed his neighbours, they hardly knew him without his hump, and because he was so straight and handsome, and was dressed so finely. Now, in another village, not far away, lived a lad named Jack Madden. He also had a great hump on his back. He was a peevish, cunning creature, and liked to scratch and pinch all who came near him.
So one night after darkness had fallen, he sat down on the mound all alone, and waited. He had not been there long before he heard the music, and the sweet voices singing:—. No sooner had the words left his lips, than he was taken up quickly, and whisked through the mound with terrific force. And the Fairies came crowding around him, screeching and buzzing with anger, and crying out:—.
Then out of the mound they kicked him. And when morning was come, he crept home with the two humps on his back—and he is wearing them still. Many a good old man or woman, on moonlit nights, had seen the Fairies dancing there at their revels, and had been rewarded with gifts small but rich. Now, there was one greedy old man, who, having heard his neighbours tell of the Fairy Gold at the revels, decided to steal some of the treasure.
As he drew near he heard delightful music, which seemed to come from inside the hillock.
The notes were now slow and solemn, and now quick and gay, so that the old man had to weep and laugh in one breath. Then before he knew it, he began to dance to the Fairy measure. He was forced by some unseen power to whirl round and round; but in spite of this he kept his wits about him, and watched to see what would happen. Suddenly there was a crashing sound, and a door in the hillock opened.
Instantly the old man saw that everything about him was ablaze with coloured lights. Each blade of grass was hung [Pg 40] with tiny bright lamps, and every tree and bush was illuminated with stars. Out of the opening in the hillock marched a band of Goblins, as if to clear the way. Then came a number of Fairy musicians playing on every kind of musical instrument.
These were followed by troop after troop of Elfin soldiers, carrying waving banners. This vast array having disposed itself, next from the hillock came a crowd of Elfin servants carrying pitchers of silver and gold, and goblets cut out of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and other precious stones.
Servants followed bearing aloft gold and silver platters heaped high with the richest meats, pastries, candies, and glowing fruits. A number of Elfin boys, clad in crimson, then set out small tables made of ivory curiously carved, and the servants arranged the feast with order. Then out of the hillock came crowding thousands and thousands of lovely winged Fairies clad in gossamer robes of every colour, like the rainbow.
And as he stood still, the perfume of a thousand rich flowers filled the air, and the whole vast host of Fairies began to sing a song as clear and sweet as the tinkle of silver bells. Then from the hillock issued forth line after line of Elfin boys dressed in green and gold, and behind them on an ivory throne, borne aloft by a hundred Fairies, came the King and Queen of Fairyland blazing with beauty and jewels. The throne was placed upon the hillock, which immediately bloomed with lilies and roses. Before the King and Queen was set the most beautiful of all the little tables laden with gold and silver dishes and precious goblets.
The Fairies took their places at the other tables, and began to feast with a will. And with his greedy mind set on this, he crouched down, and began very slowly to creep toward the throne. But he did not see that thousands of Goblins had cast fine threads about his body, and were holding the ends in their hands.
Trembling with greed, the old man crept closer [Pg 42] and closer to the Fairy King and Queen. He took his hat from his head, and raised it carefully to cover the royal throne and table; and, as he did so, he heard a shrill whistle. Instantly his hand was fixed powerless in the air. Then, with a sudden crash, all became dark around him. Then he was thrown violently upon his back with his arms outstretched; and his arms and legs were fastened to the ground with magic chains. His tongue seemed tied with cords so that he could not call out.
And as he lay there trembling with fright and pain, he felt as though swarms of insects were running over him. Then he saw standing on his nose a grinning Goblin. This little monster stamped and jumped with great delight; then making a fearful grimace, shouted:—. And the old man saw the Fairies no more. He shook himself free, and got up.
Wet, cold, ashamed, and pinched black and blue, he returned to his home. And you may be sure that he never again tried to steal the Fairy Gold. It was in the good days, when the Little People were more frequently seen than they are in these unbelieving times, that a farmer, named Mick Purcell, rented a few acres of barren ground not far from the city of Cork. Mick had a wife and seven children.
They did all that they could to get on, which was very little, for the poor man had no child grown big enough to help him in his work; and all that the poor woman could do was to mind the children, milk the cow, boil the potatoes, and carry the eggs to market. So besides the difficulty of getting enough to eat, it was hard on them to pay the rent. And you know how good He was to us when little Billy was sick, and we had nothing at all for him to take—that good doctor gentleman came riding past and asked for a drink of milk, and he gave us two shillings, and sent me things and a bottle for the child; and he came to see Billy and never left off his goodness until he was well.
Molly told him he should have everything right. He drove the beast slowly through a little stream that crossed the road under the walls of an old fort; and as he passed, he glanced his eyes on a pile of stones and an old elder tree that stood up sharply against the sky. Then he moved on after his beast. Mick started. He was afraid to have anything to do with the little man, but he was more afraid to say no.
Mick looked at him and the bottle, and in spite of his terror he could not help bursting into a loud fit of laughter. Mick laughed again. And how should I pay the rent? And what should we do without a penny of money? Then he moved swiftly off after the cow. Well, Mick, rather sick at heart, retraced his steps toward his cabin, and as he went he could not help turning his head to look after the little man; but he had vanished completely.
He soon reached his cabin, and surprised his wife sitting over the turf fire in the big chimney. Mick, are you come back? What has happened to you? Where is the cow? Did you sell her? How much money did you get for her? What news have you? Tell us everything. His poor wife was thunderstruck. She sat crying, while Mick told her his story, with many a crossing and blessing between him and harm.
She could not help believing him, for she had great faith in Fairies. So she got up, and, without saying a word, began to sweep the earthen floor with a bunch of heather. Then she tidied everything, and put the long table in the middle of the room, and spread over it a clean cloth. Look there, mammy! Look there!
And when all was done, the two tiny fellows went into the bottle again. Mick and his wife looked at everything with astonishment; they had never seen such dishes [Pg 50] and plates before, and the very sight of them almost took their appetites away. But at length Molly said:—. So they all sat down at the table. After they had eaten as much as they wished, Molly said:—. They waited, but no one came; so Molly put the dishes and plates carefully aside.
The next day Mick went to Cork and sold some of them, and bought a horse and cart. Weeks passed by, and the neighbours saw that Mick was making money; and, though he and his wife did all they could to keep the bottle a secret, their landlord soon found out about it. Then he took the bottle by force away from Mick, and carried it carefully home. As for Mick and his wife, they had so much money left that the loss of the bottle did not worry them much at first; but they kept on spending their wealth as if there was no end to it. And to make a long story short, they became poorer and poorer, until they had to sell their last cow.
So one morning early, Mick once more drove his cow to the Fair of Cork. It was hardly daybreak [Pg 51] when he left home, and he walked on until he reached the big hill; and just as he got to its top, and cast his eyes before and around him, up started the little man out of the hill. And if you happen to have another bottle, here is the cow for it. Mick hurried away, anxious to get home with the bottle. He arrived with it safely enough, and called out to Molly to put the room to rights; and to lay a clean cloth on the table. Which she did. In a twinkling two great, stout men with two huge clubs, issued from the bottle, and belaboured poor Mick and his family until they lay groaning on the floor.
Then the two men went into the bottle again. Mick, as soon as he came to himself, got up and looked around him. He thought and he thought. He lifted up his wife and children, then leaving them to recover as best they could, he put the [Pg 52] bottle under his arm, and went to visit his landlord. The landlord was having a great feast, and when he saw that Mick had another bottle, he invited him heartily to come in. So Mick set it on the floor, and spoke the proper words; and in a moment the landlord tumbled to the floor, and all his guests were running, and roaring, and sprawling, and kicking, and shrieking, while the two great, stout men belaboured them well.
Mick put his old bottle in his bosom. Then the two great, stout men jumped into the new one, and Mick carried both bottles safely home. And to make my story short, from that time on Mick prospered. And both Mick and his wife lived to a great old age. They died on the same day, and at their wake the servants broke both bottles. But the hill has the name upon it; for so it will always be Bottle Hill to the end of the world, for this is a strange story. There was once a poor boy who used to drive his cart along the road, and sell turf to the neighbours.
He was a strange boy, very silent, and spent his evenings in his little hut, where he lived alone, reading old bits of books he had picked up in his rambles. And as he read, he longed to be rich and live in a fine house with a garden all round him, and to have plenty of books. And how they chuckle as they work, for they know where the pots of Fairy Gold are hidden. So, evening after evening, the boy watched the hedges hoping to catch a glimpse of a little cobbler, and to hear the click-clack of his tiny hammer. At last, one evening, just as the sun was setting, the boy saw a little Leprechaun sitting under a dock-leaf, and working away hard on a small boot.
He was dressed in green and wore a red cap on his head.
The boy jumped down from his cart, [Pg 64] and catching the Leprechaun by the neck, cried merrily:—. I could harm you, if I wished, for I have the power; but I like you, and you are an industrious lad. Carrying the Leprechaun carefully, the boy took a few steps, and found himself close to the ruins of an old fort. A door opened in a stone wall, and he walked in. Then the boy saw that the whole ground was covered with gold pieces, while pots full of gold and silver money stood about in such plenty that it seemed as if all the riches of the world were there.
The boy hurried, and gathered his arms full of gold and silver, and hastening out of the door, flung all into the cart. Then he brought out some of the pots; but when he was on his way back for more, the door shut with a clap like thunder, and night fell, and all was dark. When he reached his hut, he counted all the bright yellow pieces and shining silver ones, and found that he was as rich as a king. And because he was wise, he told no one about his adventure, but the next day drove to town and put all his money in the bank.
After that he ordered a fine house, and laid out a spacious garden, and had servants, and carriages, and many books.
Then he married the daughter of a magistrate, and became great and powerful. His memory is still held in reverence by his townspeople. His descendants are living rich and happy; and no matter how much they give to the poor, their wealth always increases. Tom was as clean, clever, and tight looking a lad as any in the whole county Cork. One fine holiday in harvest-time, he was taking a ramble and was sauntering along the sunny side of a hedge, when suddenly he heard a crackling sound among the leaves. And with that he stole along, going on the tips of his toes, to see if he could get sight of what was making the noise.
He looked sharply under the bushes, and what should he see in a nook in the hedge but a big brown pitcher holding a gallon or more of dark looking liquor. And standing close to it was a little, diny, dony bit of an old man as big as your thumb, with a tiny cocked hat stuck on the top of his head, and a deesy, daushy, leather apron hanging down before him. The little old man pulled a little brown stool from under the hedge, and, standing upon it, dipped a little cup into the pitcher. Then he took the cup out, full of the brown liquor, and putting it on the ground, sat down on the stool [Pg 67] under the shadow of the pitcher.
He began to put a heel-piece on a bit of a boot just the size for himself. So Tom stole nearer, with his eyes fixed on the little man, just as a cat does with a mouse. And when he got close up to him, he said softly:—. Tom was so taken by surprise at this, that he was just going to turn his head to look for the cows, when he remembered not to take his eyes off the Leprechaun. Looked-after and adopted children will identify with the heroine, as will any child who has ever been excluded, either by poverty or the cruelty of others. Mothers do die or can be seriously ill at childbirth. There are kind people who help those in need.
And we are or should be aware of the random nature of life and how much is attributable to luck, however hard we work. The language is carefully chosen: simple enough to be easily read by a child but dense and precise, modelled on the economic style of the Grimm Brothers. Tales originally intended for oral retelling, frequently with the same words and patterns, could not be too ornate.
This is a well crafted story - not too long for a single sitting, plenty of colourful action and passes the test of re-reading - essential for any fairy tale. Aug 04, Flora Stewart rated it it was amazing Shelves: traditional-tales. Firstly, I love the way this book is split into different stories by sections. I feel it makes the book a great manageable read for children becoming more confident and reading independently.
In addition, it helps develop that love for reading that is so important for children. I th Firstly, I love the way this book is split into different stories by sections. I think the illustrations and the way the words are laid out on the pages are brilliant and so engaging for children because it is so different. I think this story could be used in so many different ways, from book predictions, to drama, to art.
The story follows along the classic fairy-tale structure, including the classic characters of a lovely queen that tragically dies, an evil queen, princes and a king. Talking about similarities and differences of Blackerry Blue and a classic fairy-tale like Cinderella would be very useful for a class to show how creative fairy-tales can be.
I think the illustrations in the book really add to the story. A really fun activity for children could be drawing what they think a character looks like from the description in the book, and then comparing it to what is in the novel. I think this book could be used in so many different ways in the classroom. The book could be used across many different genres of writing for the children, spending one lesson familiarising the children with the style of writing, the next looking at examples and planning, and then the third almost doing a silent concentrated writing lesson where they write up the work in best.
For example making missing posters for the prince when he gets lost and is made into a wolf. Or writing and decorating invites for the balls the king holds. Writing diary entries including emotive language for how Blackberry Blue feels in different stages. Writing a newspaper article on the events that have occurred. Writing a set of instructions for how to weave the dresses Blackberry Blue wore etc. Equally this book could be used to create drama, art and much more.
It could be used for drama by children acting out what they think might happen next in the book, or creating freeze frames for the most important sections of the book. In art the children could draw what they think the characters might look like based on the descriptions or decorate invites they make for the balls. Jane Scholey This is an excellent review - detailed and thoughtful. Oct 03, AM.
Sep 28, Gabriella rated it it was amazing Shelves: year-5 , year I have just read Blackberry Blue and Co. The book contains short stories. Some are based on similar traditional tales but adapted and re-modelled. Some were sinister and may not be suitable for younger children. All engaging and gripping stories. There are many teaching opportunities for the stories: Questions: Is the forest a safe or a threatening place in this story? How does Jamila Gavin make you feel that? If so, what do you think it is? What does this make you think or feel?
The Golden Carp: Read the preface to this story. Do you agree that Greed and Laziness are two of the deadliest sins? How could a Golden Carp be involved in the story? Find out about the Hindu goddess, Shasti. What does she have in connection with the old woman in The Purple Lady? How important is Miskouri to the story? Are there any points in the story where Abu takes the lead? Why do you think Shasti demands an eye for helping Abu to rescue Leyla? Who do they think this woman is?
Reread and ask the children to visualise the character and then draw what they see. Apr 22, Becky Allen rated it really liked it Shelves: traditional-tales. Gavin creates a collection of fairy tales reminiscent of the Grimm tales, with their darker, unfriendly sides, yet given a slightly more modern spin.
What Gavin does is to give us some slightly different protagonists to inspire us. Gavin herself says that she was aiming to depict a more modern repres Gavin creates a collection of fairy tales reminiscent of the Grimm tales, with their darker, unfriendly sides, yet given a slightly more modern spin. Instead she gives us young men, women and children from much more diverse backgrounds.
Not only is this inspiring for younger readers, it feels a little more believable and is refreshingly just a bit more interesting. I thoroughly enjoyed her collection of tales and although I would not normally choose to read traditional fairy tales in my free time I thought each was captivating in its own way and each held a very different sentiment, yet every time I simply wanted good to outwit evil which thankfully it did.
If studying traditional tales, I would certainly recommend this collection as a contrast to those we know well from our cultures. I certainly think they would inspire a different sort of story writing in children, encouraging a little more out of the box thinking! Jul 06, Alice Bennett rated it really liked it Shelves: novels , traditional-tales. This is a captivating book filled with fairytale stories that feel familiar to traditional tales such as Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel and yet, there are new twists and unexpected endings that made me want to keep reading.
It falls very much into the fantasy and fairytale genre and would be best for a KS2 class as both a storybook and a vehicle for some lovely writing in Literacy. The use of names for each of the characters in the stories tell the reader a little bit about what kind of person they are before they read the story. Children could use quotes from the book to compare and contrast the different characters and the way that they are described by Gavin.
Children could explore these relationships by finding quotes in the text to describe the characteristics of the two siblings and write diary entries from both points of review to explore the relationships between them. For example, Princess Night sacrifices herself in the light of the sun so that her human love can live happily with his fiance. Children could discuss whether they would have done the same in each of the characters positions and explore other ways the characters could have saved their loved ones. For example, if they have fallen out with a friend in the playground they might try and think about why it happened and how the other person might be feeling to rekindle the friendship.
I would create an inviting display to bring this book to life in my classroom. I would have lots of branches, flowers, animals, fruits and a big play castle in the room to create a sense of a magical place to transport the children to another land. We would visit a lake and skim stones like Chi does and imagine our hopes and dreams for the future as the pebbles fall. This would help the children understand how Abu felt without his sense of sight, his emotions and what is like to have to rely completely on someone else. We could also do a conscience alley for some of the characters to uncover their emotions in different parts of the story to help the children write some excellent descriptive stories in different perspectives.
I would teach my class about Indian culture to give them an understanding of the context in the book and further help them compare it to traditional European fairy tales. May 01, Mathew rated it really liked it Shelves: adventure , coming-of-age , key-stage-3 , rebirth , dark-magic , disguised-identity , family , absence-of-parents , overcoming-fears , animal-helpers. The premise behind this retelling of European fairytales was to rewrite stories which cover a diverse range of cultures and societies.
The book tells six stories which are both familiar and unfamiliar and, for me, this was part of their appeal. I like some more than others but especially loved The Purple Lady which I thought was magnificent in its telling and scope. Recognition should also go to Richard Collingridge's illustrations which, I felt, supported the sense of diversity. Feb 03, Nadhira Ramadhani rated it it was amazing Shelves: novels , traditional-tales. The Giver of Life and Death treats everyone equally, and Happiness is like a butterfly.
Who knows whether it will settle on you? Beautiful story.. Simply beautiful.. Made me reflect about the things that make us truly happy, content and grateful. It about the real 'stuff' in life May 21, Kira rated it it was amazing. This book is so incredibly wonderful. Jamila Gavin knocks it out of the park with this, at times grim, hopeful, macabre collection of original stories. Illustrations are delicately woven through the book lending to the magic of the stories themselves. Notable: all of the heroes and heroines are persons of color. Some stories get a bit dark, there are monsters, bones, dismemberment.
Recommended for fans of Gidowitz's Grimm series. A great collection of fairy tales which manage to be both new and timeless at the same time. Jamila Gavin's tales are also enhanced by Richard Collingridge's beautiful illustrations which intermingle with the text and sometimes have the text curling around them. An instant classic.
Jun 05, Leona rated it it was amazing. This was an enchanting book with beautiful stories and illistrations. This book is full of short fairy tales and each story enters a new world of magic and mystery. Each story is different; there are scary stories, romantic stories and magical stories. In each story the author has written words in bold and words and phrases are sometimes wiggly. This is effective because the author has chosen important events in then stories to bring dramatic effect and tension. Does the novel belong to a particular genre? The novel belongs to the fantasy genre, the book is written with short fairly tale stories.
Each fairly tale has introductory paragraph riddle that sets the scene and asks questions to help the reader predict and question what may happen in each tale. Can you see in patterns in the ideas in the book? In each fairy tale that was an ongoing pattern of love between ladies and gentleman, siblings and parents and their children. Each fairy tale is spooky or magical and this keeps the reader on edge and engaged to find out how the tale will end. Every tale has a bad person who is trying to persuade the main character not to carry out something or they are trying to harm or taunt them.
Can you see patterns in the language? There are patterns of decorative writing, bold lettering and illustrations. These patterns draw the reader into the book and make the reader aware of dramatic and tense events that happen in the stories. The illustrations help the reader to imagine the tale of the story in their mind. In the book Jamillia Gavin has created short phrases and poems in a few of her short stories: Dearest Daughter, sweetest born, Make a cloak of briar and thorn, It will keep you safe and well And save you from the witches spell.
This short poem in the short story Blackberry Blue is effective because it has rhyming couplets. This is effective for the reader because it engages them and makes them curious on the message the author is trying to give. In this case the author has written this short poem with beautiful phrases to engage the reader and make them aware of the important event of the girl realising that her mum was alive.
The book is also full of adjectives and similes to describe the appearance of the fairy tales characters and to describe an important setting or event. A simile that is used to describe the character Leyla in the tale purple lady. The simile again is used to describe her appearance; her skin like polished bronze, her hair shinning like chestnuts, her eye, thought deep and dark as starts in a midnight.
To his dismay Bean finds himself out amongst the trick-or-treaters, where he learns the real truth about goblins. Clyde and the Ghost Cat. From the beginning of time to the distant future, special animals of all species have answered the call to fight evil. From dogs and cats to birds, horses, even dinosaurs, and one unusual fish, these spirited tales of ghost hunting adventures will thrill and delight readers.
This anthology is edited by J. Campbell ; all of the stories are set in her Brown, Ghost Hunting Dog universe. The Switch. Edith agrees to help her friend, even though it means entering the world of crime at age seventy-two. They find a music box that looks similar, and Edith sneaks it in to the museum to switch it out for the real one.
Will what she finds cause her to make a switch of her own? Scylla is caught by surprise when her mother, the river nymph Crataeis, shows up unexpectedly. The cliff Scylla lives on juts out into a narrow straight of water; an arrow-shot away lives the monster Charybdis, who sucks water — and any ships unfortunate enough to be close by — down a whirlpool and into her great maw several times a day.
Scylla agrees, on the condition that her mother go to Circe and plead with her to return Scylla to her normal human form. This monstrously fun collection of 19 tales of myths, monsters, and mayhem was curated by A. We love to fear them and fight them. Monsters come in many forms, from the monsters within to the monsters outside and under the bed. Dare you venture into the caverns and the castles? Dare you enter the darkness of an accursed soul?
This short story is in the Faerie Summer bundle. The Next Dance. Nelle is a saloon girl in a mining town in Colorado in the Old West. Her job is to get the men who come in to spend their earnings on drinks and dancing.
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So Nelle spends her nights dancing and laughing, getting her feet stomped on by poor dance partners, and drinking colored sugar water while the men drink whiskey and beer. This short story is in the Tavern Tales issue of Fiction River. The Scent of Roses. Lori recently moved into an old Victorian which, as is often the case with old houses, makes creaks and hisses and all kinds of noises.