The Fairies Banished
Once in a small town in Wales
there was a small farmhouse where the kitchen and cowshed were on the very
same floor with only a wooden partition between. To this farmhouse
a troop of fairies came a-haunting, and no good came from them.
If the family was sitting
at a meal in the kitchen, the fairies went a-racketing in the cowshed:
flinging straw about, pulling the cows' tails, and generally making a nuisance
And if the family was engaged
in milking the cows, the fairies were making a riot in the kitchen: getting
into the flour and flinging it about, leaving tiny handprints in the butter,
and dumping the precious salt onto the floor.
Oh, there was no end to their
Now one evening, after a
long month of this rioting, a parcel of reapers were at their harvest dinner
in the kitchen. The fairies started up with the cows, laughing and
dancing and throwing quantities of dirt and dust around that, of course,
spread over the partition and quite spoiled the meal.
One of the reapers, an old
woman who had been traveling for most of her long years, took the mistress
of the house aside. "I can provide a remedy for this mischief," she
"Oh, please," said the housewife.
"For we arc out of our minds with it."
So taking aside six of, the
reapers, the old woman, in the hearing of the fairies, said, "The mistress
invites you all to come to dinner again tomorrow. "
When they arrived the next
evening, the mistress of the house, according to instructions from the
old woman, had boiled up a pudding in an eggshell.
The fairies gathered on top
of the partition and watched, muttering among themselves. However,
the six men acted as if nothing were unusual and ate the eggshell pudding
with loud smackings of their lips. For the old woman had told them what
parts they were to play.
At length one of the fairies
announced: "We have lived long in this world, having been born just after
the Earth was made and before the first acorn was planted. Yet we
never saw a harvest dinner pudding made in an eggshell and served to six
strong men. There must be something wrong with this house, and we
will stay here no longer."
Then away they went and never
returned. As for the old woman, she got to stop her travelings and
live comfortably in the farmhouse as a member of the family till the end
of her days.