Narrator: Once upon a time there was a rich farmer who had a thrifty wife. She used to go out and gather all the little bits of wool which she could find on the hillsides, and bring them home.
Wife: Now that my family has gone to bed, I will sit down and card the wool and spin it into yarn, then I will weave the yarn into cloth to make garments for my children.
Narrator:But all this work made her feel very tired, so that one night, sitting in her bedroom she thought.
Wife: Oh, how I wish that some one would come from far or near, from land or sea, to help me!
Narrator: No sooner had the words left her lips than she heard some one knocking at the door.
Wife: Who is there?
Fairy 1: Tell Quary, good housewife. Open the door to me. As long as I have you’ll get.
Narrator: She opened the door and there on the threshold stood a strange, little woman, dressed in a green gown and wearing a white cap on her head.
Wife: Who are you?
Narrator: Without a word the little fairy ran past her, and sat in the spinning-wheel. The good housewife shut the door, but just then she heard another knock.
Wife: Who is there?
Fairy 2: Tell Quary, good housewife. Open the door to me, As long as I have you’ll get.
Narrator: And when she opened the door there was another strange, little fairy , in a lilac frock and a green cap, standing on the door. She, too, ran into the house without waiting to say
Fairy 2: By your leave.
Narrator: Then she picked up the distaff, began to put some wool on it. Then before the housewife could get the door shut, a funny little manikin, with green trousers and a red cap, came running in, and followed the tiny women into the kitchen, took a handful of wool, and began to card it. Another wee, wee woman followed him, and then another tiny manikin, and another, and another, until it seemed to the good housewife that all the fairies and pixies were coming into her house.
Manikin 1: I will hang this big pot over the fire to boil water to wash the wool that is dirty.
Manikin 2: And I will card it.
Manikin 3: I will turn it into yarn.
Manikin 4: And I will weave the yarn into webs of cloth.
All Manikins: Splash! Splash! Clack! Clack!
Fairies 1 and 2: We are hungry! We need something to eat.
Wife: Here take this bread.
Narrator: The fairies ate the bread as fast as they could.
Fairies: We need some more!
Wife: I have to tell my husband about this. I can´t handle it anymore.
Narrator: Then she went into the next room to wake her husband.
Wife: Husband, wake up, wake up!
Narrator: But she could not wake him.
Wife: Oh, he seems to be bewitched. I have to get out of here.
Narrator: While the frairies were still eating she went the cottage of the Wise Man who lived a mile away.
Wife: Please, open the door.
Narrator: When the woman was inside the house she told him the whole story.
Wise Man: Foolish woman, this is a lesson to never pray for things you don´t need! Before your husband can be loosed from the spell, the Fairies must be got out of the house and the fulling-water, which they have boiled, must be thrown over him. Hurry to the little hill that lies behind your cottage, climb to the top of it, and set the bushes on fire; then you must shout three times: `Burg Hill’s on fire!’ Then all the little Fairies will run out to see if this be true, because they live under the hill. When they are all out of the cottage, go into the house as quickly as you can, and turn the kitchen upside down. Turn upside down everything the Fairies have worked with, everything their fingers have touched will open the door to them, and will let them in.
Wife: I will do as you say. I have to hurry.
Narrator: She climbed to the top of the little hill back of her cottage, set the bushes on fire.
Wife: Burg Hill’s on fire! Burg Hill’s on fire! Burg Hill’s on fire!
Fairies: Listen, the hill is on fire! Run, run, run.
Narrator: In the confusion the good housewife slipped away, and ran as fast as she could to her cottage.
Wife: Now I have to turn everything upside down. I have to take off the band of the spinning-wheel, and twist the head of the distaff, lift the pot of fulling-water off the fire, and turned the room topsy-turvy, and threw down the carding-combs.
Narrator: At that moment the Fairies returned, and knocked at the door.
Fairies: Good housewife! let us in.
Wife: The door is shut and bolted, and I will not open it.
Fairies: Good spinning-wheel, get up and open the door.
Spinning-Wheel: I can´t my band is broken.
Fairies: Kind distaff, open the door for us.
Distaff: That would I gladly do, but I cannot walk, my head is turned the wrong way.
Fairies: Weaving-loom, have pity, and open the door.
Weaving-Loom: I am all topsy-turvy, and cannot move.
Fairies: Fulling-water, open the door.
Fulling Water: I am off the fire, and all my strength is gone.
Fairies: Oh! Is there nothing that will come to our aid, and open the door?
Bread: I will.
Narrator: The bread that was left toasting stood up and started going quickly across the floor.
Wife: Oh no! You are not going anywhere.
Narrator: She took the bread in her hands and since it was only half-baked it fell and broke in the cold floor.
Fairy 1: Let´s get in through the windows.
Narrator: The Firies went into the room where the good housewife’s husband was sleeping, and they swarmed upon his bed and tickled him until he tossed about and muttered as if he had a fever.
Wife: I remembered what the Wise Man tolde me about the fulling-water. I have to run to the kitchen and get the pot.
Narrator: Then she carried the pot and threw it over the bed where her husband was.
Husband: What happened to me?
Narrator: Then he jumped out of bed, ran across the room and opened the door, and the Fairies vanished. And they have never been seen from that day to this.
A CELTIC FAIRY TALE – from a story adaped by Elizabeth W. Grierson
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