So when the lad awoke, he took his cloth and went off with it, and that day he got home to his mother.
"Now," said he, "I've been to the North Wind's house, and a good fellow he is, for he gave me this cloth, and when I only say to it, 'Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes,' I get any sort of food I please."
"All very true, I dare say," said his mother, "but seeing is believing, and I shan't believe it till I see it."
So the lad made haste, drew out a table, laid the cloth on it, and said- "Cloth, spread yourself, and serve up all kinds of good dishes."
But never a bit of dry bread did the cloth serve
"Well," said the lad, "there's no help for it but to go to the North Wind again;" and away he went.
So late in the afternoon he came to where the North Wind lived.
"Good evening!" said the lad.
"Good evening!" said the North Wind. "I want my rights for that meal of ours which you took," said the lad; "for, as for that cloth I got, it isn't worth a penny."
"I've got no meal," said the North Wind; "but yonder you have a ram which coins nothing but golden ducats as soon as you say to it-
"'Ram, ram! Make money!'"
So the lad thought this a fine thing; but as it was too far to get home that day, he stopped for the night at the same inn where he had slept before.
Before he called for anything, he tried the truth of what the North Wind had said of the ram, and found it all right; but when the landlord saw that, he thought it was a famous ram, and, when the lad had fallen asleep, he took another which couldn't coin gold ducats, and changed the two.
Next morning off went the lad; and when he got home to his mother, he said-"After all, the North Wind is a jolly fellow; for now he has given me a ram which can coin golden ducats if I only say, 'Ram, ram! Make money!'"
"All very true, I dare say," said his mother; "but I shan't believe any such stuff until I see the ducats made."
"Ram, ram! Make money!" said the lad; but the ram made no money.
So the lad went back again to the North Wind, and blew him up, and said the ram was worth nothing, and he must have his rights for the meal.
"Well," said the North Wind, "I've nothing else to give you but that old stick in the corner yonder; but it's a stick of that kind that if you say- 'Stick, stick! lay on!' it lays on till you say, 'Stick, stick! now stop!'
So, as the way was long the lad turned in this night, too, to the landlord; but as he could pretty well guess how things stood as to the cloth and the ram, he lay down at once on the bench and began to snore, as if he were asleep.
Now the landlord, who easily saw that the stick must be worth something, hunted up one which was like it, and when he heard the lad snore, was going to change the two, but just as the landlord was about to take it, the lad bawled out- "Stick, stick! lay on!"
So the stick began to beat the landlord till he jumped over chairs, and tables, and benches, and yelled and roared,- "Oh my! oh my! bid the stick be still, else it will beat me to death, and you shall have back your cloth and your ram,
When the lad thought the landlord had got enough, he said- "Stick, stick! now stop!"
Then he took the cloth and put it into his pocket, and went home with his stick in his hand, leading the ram by a cord round its horns; and so he got his rights for the meal he had lost.
THE HUSBAND WHO WAS TO MIND THE HOUSE
By Sir George Webbe Dasent
ONCE upon a time there was a man, so surly and cross, he never thought his wife did anything right in the house. So one evening in haymaking time, he came home, scolding and swearing, and showing his teeth and making a dust.
"Dear love, don't be so angry; there's a good man," said his goody; "to-morrow let's change our work. I'll go out with the mowers and mow, and you shall mind the house at home."
Yes, the husband thought that would do very well. He was quite willing, he said.
So early next morning his goody took a scythe over her neck, and went out into the hayfield with the mowers and began to mow; but the man was to mind the house, and do the work at home.
First of all he wanted to churn the butter; but when he had churned a while, he got thirsty, and went down to the cellar to tap a barrel of ale. So, just when he had knocked in the bung, and was putting the tap into the cask, he heard overhead the pig come into the kitchen. Then off he ran up the cellar steps, with the tap in his hand, as fast as he could, to look after the pig, lest it should upset the churn; but when he got up, and saw that the pig had already knocked the churn over, and stood there, routing and grunting amid the cream which was running all over the floor, he got so wild with rage that he quite forgot his ale barrel and ran at the pig as hard as he could. He caught it, too, just as it ran out of doors, and gave it such a kick that piggy lay for dead on the spot. Then all at once he remembered he had the tap in his hand, but when he got down to the cellar, every drop of ale had run out of the cask.
Then he went into the dairy and found enough cream left to fill the churn again, and so he began to churn, for butter they must have for dinner. When he had churned a bit, he remembered that their milking cow was still shut up in the brye, and hadn't had a bit to eat or a drop to drink all the morning, though the sun was high. Then all at once he thought 'twas too far to take her down to the meadow, so he'd just get her up on the housetop-for the house, you must know, was thatched with sods, and a fine crop of grass was growing there.
Now their house lay close up against a steep down, and he thought if he laid a plank across to the thatch at the back he'd easily get the cow up.
But still he couldn't leave the churn, for there was his little babe crawling about the floor, and "if I leave it," he thought, "the child is sure to upset it!" So he took the churn on his back, and went out with it; but then he thought he'd better first water the cow before he turned her out on the thatch; so he took up a bucket to draw water out of the well; but, as he stooped down at the well's brink, all the cream ran out of the churn over his shoulders, and so down into the well.
Now it was near dinner time, and he hadn't even got the butter yet; so he thought he'd best boil the porridge, and filled the pot with water, and hung it over the fire. When he had done that, he thought the cow might perhaps fall off the thatch and break her legs or her neck. So he got up on the house to tie her up. One end of the rope he made fast to the cow's neck, and the other he slipped down the chimney and tied round his own thigh; and he had to make haste, for the water now began to boil in the pot, and he had still to grind the oatmeal.
So he began to grind away; but while he was hard at it, down fell the cow off the housetop after all, and as she fell, she dragged the man up the chimney by the rope. There he stuck fast; and as for the cow, she hung halfway down the wall, swinging between heaven and earth, for she could neither get down nor up.
And now the goody had waited seven lengths and seven breadths for her husband to come and call them home to dinner; but never a call they had. At last she thought she'd waited long enough, and went home. But when she got there and saw the cow hanging in such an ugly place, she ran up and cut the rope in two with her scythe. But as she did this, down came her husband out of the chimney; and so when his old dame came inside the kitchen, there she found him standing on his head in the porridge pot.
HOW ONE WENT OUT TO WOO
By Sir George Webbe Dasent
O NCE upon a time there was a lad who went out to woo him a wife.
Among other places he came to a farmhouse, where the household were little better than beggars; but when the wooer came in they wanted to make out that they were well to do, as you may guess. Now the husband had got a new arm to his coat.
"Pray, take a seat," he said to the wooer; "but there's a shocking dust in the house."
So he went about rubbing and wiping all the benches and tables with his new arm, but he kept the other all the while behind his back.
The wife she had got one new shoe, and she went stamping and sliding with it up against the stools and chairs saying, "How untidy it is here! Everything is out of place!"
Then they called out to their daughter to come down and put things to rights; but the daughter she had got a new cap; so she put her head in at the door, and kept nodding and nodding, first to this side and then to that.
"Well! For my part, She said, I can't be everywhere at once."
Aye! Aye! That was a well-to-do household the wooer had come to.
WHY THE BEAR IS STUMPY-TAILED
By Sir George Webbe Dasent
ONE day the Bear met the Fox, who came slinking along with a string of fish he had stolen.
"Whence did you get these from?" asked the Bear.