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Once upon a time, Tommy Grimes was sometimes a good boy, and sometimes a bad boy; and when he was a bad boy, he was a very bad boy. Now his mother used to say to him: ‘Tommy, Tommy, be a good boy, and don’t go out of the street, or else Mr Miacca will take you.’ But still when he was a bad boy he would go out of the street; and one day, sure enough, he had scarcely got round the corner, when Mr Miacca did catch him and popped him into a bag upside down, and took him off to his house.

When Mr Miacca got Tommy inside, he pulled him out of the bag and sat him down, and felt his arms and legs. ‘You’re rather tough,’ says he; ‘but you’re all I’ve got for supper, and you’ll not taste bad boiled. But body o’ me, I’ve forgot the herbs, and it’s bitter you’ll taste without herbs. Sally! Here, I say, Sally!’ and he called Mrs Miacca.

So Mrs Miacca came out of another room and said: ‘What d’ye want, my dear?’

‘Oh, here’s a little boy for supper,’ said Mr Miacca, ‘and I’ve forgot the herbs. Mind him, will ye, while I go for them.’

‘All right, my love,’ says Mrs Miacca, and off he goes.

Then Tommy Grimes said to Mrs Miacca: ‘Does Mr Miacca always have little boys for supper?’

‘Mostly, my dear,’ said Mrs Miacca, ‘if little boys are bad enough, and get in his way.’

‘And don’t you have anything else but boy-meat? No pudding?’ asked Tommy.

‘Ah, I loves pudding,’ says Mrs Miacca. ‘But it’s not often the likes of me gets pudding.’

‘Why, my mother is making a pudding this very day,’ said Tommy Grimes, ‘and I am sure she’d give you some, if I ask her. Shall I run and get some?’

‘Now, that’s a thoughtful boy,’ said Mrs Miacca, ‘only don’t be long and be sure to be back for supper.’

So off Tommy pelted, and right glad he was to get off so cheap; and for many a long day he was as good as good could be, and never went round the corner of the street. But he couldn’t always be good; and one day he went round the corner, and as luck would have it, he hadn’t scarcely got round it when Mr Miacca grabbed him up, popped him in his bag, and took him home.

When he got him there, Mr Miacca dropped him out; and when he saw him, he said: ‘Ah, you’re the youngster that served me and my missus such a shabby trick, leaving us without any supper. Well, you shan’t do it again. I’ll watch over you myself. Here, get under the sofa, and I’ll set on it and watch the pot boil for you.’

So poor Tommy Grimes had to creep under the sofa, and Mr Miacca sat on it and waited for the pot to boil. And they waited and they waited, but still the pot didn’t boil, till at last Mr

Miacca got tired of waiting, and he said: ‘Here, you under there, I’m not going to wait any longer; put out your leg, and I’ll stop your giving us the slip.’

 

So Tommy put out a leg and Mr Miacca got a chopper, and chopped it off, and pops it in the pot.

Suddenly he calls out: ‘Sally, my dear, Sally!’ and nobody answered. So he went into the next room to look out for Mrs Miacca, and while he was there Tommy crept out from under the sofa and ran out of the door. For it was a leg of the sofa that he had put out.

So Tommy Grimes ran home, and he never went round the corner again till he was old enough to go alone.

 

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/english-fairy-tales_p23332613.htm

ISBN: 978-1-907256-04-2

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There were two lasses, daughters of one mother, and as they came from the fair, they saw a right bonny young man stand at the house-door before them. They never saw such a bonny man before. He had gold on his cap, gold on his finger, gold on his neck, a red gold watch-chain — eh! but he had brass. He had a golden ball in each hand. He gave a ball to each lass, and she was to keep it, and if she lost it, she was to be hanged. One of the lasses, ’twas the youngest, lost her ball. I’ll tell thee how. She was by a park paling, and she was tossing her ball, and it went up, and up, and up, till it went fair over the paling; and when she climbed up to look, the ball ran along the green grass, and it went right forward to the door of the house, and the ball went in and she saw it no more.

 

So she was taken away to be hanged by the neck till she was dead because she’d lost her ball.

 

But she had a sweetheart, and he said he would go and get the ball. So he went to the park gate, but ’twas shut; so he climbed the hedge, and when he got to the top of the hedge, an old woman rose up out of the dyke before him, and said, if he wanted to get the ball, he must sleep three nights in the house. He said he would.

 

Then he went into the house, and looked for the ball, but could not find it. Night came on and he heard bogles move in the courtyard; so he looked out o’ the window, and the yard was full of them.

 

Presently he heard steps coming upstairs. He hid behind the door, and was as still as a mouse. Then in came a big giant five times as tall as he, and the giant looked round but did not see the lad, so he went to the window and bowed to look out; and as he bowed on his elbows to see the bogles in the yard, the lad stepped behind him, and with one blow of his sword he cut him in twain, so that the top part of him fell in the yard, and the bottom part stood looking out of the window.

 

There was a great cry from the bogles when they saw half the giant come tumbling down to them, and they called out, ‘There comes half our master; give us the other half.’

 

So the lad said, ‘It’s no use of thee, thou pair of legs, standing alone at the window, as thou hast no eye to see with, so go join thy brother’; and he cast the lower part of the giant after the top part. Now when the bogles had gotten all the giant they were quiet.

 

Next night the lad was at the house again, and now a second giant came in at the door, and as he came in the lad cut him in twain, but the legs walked on to the chimney and went up it. ‘Go, get thee after thy legs,’ said the lad to the head, and he cast the head up the chimney, too.

 

The third night the lad got into bed, and he heard the bogles striving under the bed, and they had the ball there, and they were casting it to and fro.

 

Now one of them has his leg thrust out from under the bed, so the lad brings his sword down and cuts it off. Then another thrusts his arm out at other side of the bed, and the lad cuts that off. So at last he had maimed them all, and they all went crying and wailing off, and forgot the ball, but he took it from under the bed, and went to seek his true-love.

 

Now the lass was taken to York to be hanged; she was brought out on the scaffold, and the hangman said, ‘Now, lass, thou must hang by the neck till thou be’st dead.’ But she cried out:

 

‘Stop, stop, I think I see my mother coming!
O mother, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?’

 

‘I’ve neither brought thy golden ball
Nor come to set thee free,
But I have come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.’

 

Then the hangman said, ‘Now, lass, say thy prayers, for thou must die.’ But she said:

 

‘Stop, stop, I think I see my father coming!
O father, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?’

 

‘I’ve neither brought thy golden ball
Nor come to set thee free,
But I have come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.’

 

Then the hangman said, ‘Hast thee done thy prayers? Now, lass, put thy head into the noose.’

 

But she answered, ‘Stop, stop, I think I see my brother coming!’ And again she sang, and then she thought she saw her sister coming, then her uncle, then her aunt, then her cousin; but after this the hangman said, ‘I will stop no longer; thou’rt making game of me. Thou must be hung at once.’

 

But now she saw her sweetheart coming through the crowd, and he held over his head in the air her own golden ball; so she said:

 

‘Stop, stop, I see my sweetheart coming!
Sweetheart, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?’

 

‘Aye, I have brought thy golden ball
And come to set thee free,
I have not come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.’

 

And he took her home, and they lived happy ever after.

—————————

From More English Fairy Tales

ISBN: 978-1-907256-09-7

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_meft.html

 

 

 

There once lived a king and a queen as many a one has been. They were long married and had no children; but at last a baby boy came to the queen when the king was away in the far countries. The queen would not christen the boy till the king came back, and she said: ‘We will just call him Nix Nought Nothing until his father comes home.’ But it was long before he came home, and the boy had grown a fine, bonny laddie. At length the king was on his way back; but he had a big river to cross, and there was a whirlpool, and he could not get over the water. But a giant came up to him, and said: ‘I’ll carry you over.’ But the king said: ‘What’s your pay?’ ‘Oh, give me Nix, Nought, Nothing, and I will carry you over the water on my back.’ The king had never heard that his son was called Nix Nought Nothing, and so he said: ‘Oh, I’ll give you that and my thanks into the bargain.’ When the king got home again, he was very happy to see his wife again, and his young son. She told him that she had not given the child any name, but just Nix Nought Nothing, until he should come home again himself. The poor king was in a terrible case. He said: ‘What have I done? I promised to give the giant who carried me over the river on his back Nix Nought Nothing.’ The king and the queen were sad and sorry, but they said: ‘When the giant comes we will give him the hen-wife’s boy; he will never know the difference.’ The next day the giant came to claim the king’s promise, and he sent for the hen-wife’s boy; and the giant went away with the boy on his back. He travelled till he came to a big stone, and there he sat down to rest. He said: ‘Hidge, Hodge, on my back, what time of day is that?’

 

The poor little lad said: ‘It is the time that my mother, the hen-wife, takes up the eggs for the queen’s breakfast.’

 

Then the giant was very angry, and dashed the boy on the stone and killed him.

 

Back he went in a tower of a temper and this time they gave him the gardener’s boy. He went off with him on his back till they got to the stone again when the giant sat down to rest. And he said: ‘Hidge, Hodge, on my back, what time of day do you make that?’

 

The gardener’s boy said: ‘Surely, it’s the time that my mother takes up the vegetables for the queen’s dinner.’

 

Then the giant was as wild as could be, and killed him, too.

 

Then the giant went back to the king’s house in a terrible temper and said he would destroy them all if they did not give him Nix Nought Nothing this time. They had to do it; and when he came to the big stone, the giant said: ‘What time of day is that?’ Nix Nought Nothing said: ‘It is the time that my father the king will be sitting down to supper.’ The giant said: ‘I’ve got the right one now’; and took Nix Nought Nothing to his own house and brought him up till he was a man.

 

The giant had a bonny daughter, and she and the lad grew very fond of each other. The giant said one day to Nix Nought Nothing: ‘I’ve work for you tomorrow. There is a stable seven miles long and seven miles broad, and it has not been cleaned for seven years, and you must clean it tomorrow, or I will have you for my supper.’

 

The giant’s daughter went out next morning with the lad’s breakfast, and found him in a terrible state, for always as he cleaned out a bit, it just fell in again. The giant’s daughter said she would help him, and she cried all the beasts in the field, and all the fowls in the air, and in a minute they all came, and carried away everything that was in the stable and made it all clean before the giant came home. He said: ‘Shame on the wit that helped you; but I have a worse job for you tomorrow.’ Then he said to Nix Nought Nothing: ‘There is a lake seven miles long, and seven miles deep, and seven miles broad, and you must drain it tomorrow by nightfall, or else I’ll have you for my supper.’ Nix Nought Nothing began early next morning and tried to lave the water with his pail, but the lake was never getting any less, and he didn’t know what to do; but the giant’s daughter called on all the fish in the sea to come and drink the water, and very soon they drank it dry. When the giant saw the work done he was in a rage, and said: ‘I’ve a worse job for you tomorrow; there is a tree, seven miles high, and no branch on it, till you get to the top, and there is a nest with seven eggs in it, and you must bring down all the eggs without breaking one, or else I’ll have you for my supper.’ At first the giant’s daughter did not know how to help Nix Nought Nothing; but she cut off first her fingers and then her toes, and made steps of them, and he climb the tree and got all the eggs safe till he came just to the bottom, and then one was broken. So they determined to run away together, and after the giant’s daughter had gone back to her room and got her magic flask, they set out together as fast as they could run. And they hadn’t got but three fields away when they looked back and saw the giant walking along at full speed after them. ‘Quick! quick!’ called out the giant’s daughter, ‘take my comb from my hair and throw it down.’ Nix Nought Nothing took her comb from her hair and threw it down, and out of every one of its prongs there sprung up a fine thick briar in the way of the giant. You may be sure it took him a long time to work his way through the briar bush, and by the time he was well through, Nix Nought Nothing and his sweetheart had run far, far away from him. But he soon came along after them, and was just like to catch ’em up when the giant’s daughter called out to Nix Nought Nothing, ‘Take my hair dagger and throw it down, quick, quick!’ So Nix Nought Nothing threw down the hair dagger and out of it grew as quick as lightning a thick hedge of sharp razors placed cuss-cross. The giant had to tread very cautiously to get through all this and meanwhile they both ran hard, and on, and on, and on, till they were nearly out of sight. But at last the giant was through, and it wasn’t ‘long before he was like to catch them up. But just as he was stretching out his hand to catch Nix Nought Nothing his daughter took out her magic flask and dashed it on the ground. And as it broke, out of it welled a big, big wave that grew, and that grew, till it reached the giant’s waist and then his neck, and when it got to his head, he was drowned dead, and dead, and dead indeed.

 

But Nix Nought Nothing fled on till where do you think they came to? Why, to near the castle of Nix Nought Nothing’s father and mother. But the giant’s daughter was so weary that she couldn’t move a step further. So Nix Nought Nothing told her to wait there while he went and found out a lodging for the night. And he went on towards the lights of the castle, and on the way he came to the cottage of the hen-wife whose boy, you’ll remember, had been killed by the giant. Now she knew Nix Nought Nothing in a moment, and hated him because he was the cause of her son’s death. So when he asked his way to the castle, she put a spell upon him, and when he got to the castle, no sooner was he let in than he fell down dead asleep upon a bench in the hail. The king and queen tried all they could do to wake him up, but all in vain, So the king promised that if any maiden could wake him she could marry him.

 

Meanwhile the giant’s daughter was waiting and waiting for him to come back. And she went up into a tree to watch for him. The gardener’s daughter, going to draw water in the well, saw the shadow of the lady in the water and thought it was herself, and said: ‘If I’m so bonny, if I’m so brave, why do you send me to draw water?’ So she threw down her pail and went to see if she could wed the sleeping stranger. And she went to the hen-wife, who taught her an unspelling charm which would keep Nix Nought Nothing awake as long as the gardener’s daughter liked. So she went up to the castle and sang her charm and Nix Nought Nothing was wakened for a while and they promised to wed him to the gardener’s daughter. Meanwhile the gardener went down to draw water from the well and saw the shadow of the lady in the water. So he looked up and found her, and he brought the lady from the tree, and led her into his house. And he told her that a stranger was to marry his daughter, and took her up to the castle and showed her the man: and it was Nix Nought Nothing asleep in a chair. And she saw him, and she cried to him: ‘Waken, waken, and speak to me!’ But he would not waken, and soon she cried: ‘I cleaned the stable, I laved the lake, and I clomb the tree, And all for the love of thee, And thou wilt not waken and speak to me.’

 

The king and queen heard this, and came to the bonny young lady, and she said: ‘I cannot get Nix Nought Nothing to speak to me, for all that I can do.’

 

Then were they greatly astonished when she spoke of Nix Nought Nothing, and asked where he was, and she said: ‘He that sits there in that chair.’ Then they ran to him and kissed him and called him their own dear son; so they called for the gardener’s daughter and made her sing her charm, and he wakened, and told them all that the giant’s daughter had done for him, and of all her kindness. Then they took her in their arms and kissed her, and said she should now be their daughter, for their son should marry her. But as for the hen-wife, she was put to death. And they lived happy all their days.

 

———————-

From English Fairy Tales

ISBN: 978-1-907256-04-2

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_eft.html

 

 

 

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