My grandfather, Andrew Coffey, was known to the whole barony as a quiet, decent man. And if the whole barony knew him, he knew the whole barony, every inch, hill and dale, bog and pasture, field and covert. Fancy his surprise one evening, when he found himself in a part of the demesne he couldn't recognise a bit. He and his good horse were always stumbling up against some tree or stumbling down into some bog-hole that by rights didn't ought to be there. On the top of all this the rain came pelting down wherever there was a clearing, and the cold March wind tore through the trees. Glad he was then when he saw a light in the distance, and drawing near found a cabin, though for the life of him he couldn't think how it came there. However, in he walked, after tying up his horse, and right welcome was the brushwood fire blazing on the hearth. And there stood a chair right and tight, that seemed to say, "Come, sit down in me." There wasn't a soul else in the room. Well, he did sit, and got a little warm and cheered after his drenching. But all the while he was wondering and wondering.
"Andrew Coffey! Andrew Coffey!"
Good heavens! who was calling him, and not a soul in sight? Look around as he might, indoors and out, he could find no creature with two legs or four, for his horse was gone.
"ANDREW COFFEY! ANDREW COFFEY! tell me a story."
It was louder this time, and it was nearer. And then what a thing to ask for! It was bad enough not to be let sit by the fire and dry oneself, without being bothered for a story.
"ANDREW COFFEY! ANDREW COFFEY!! Tell me a story, or it'll be the worse for you."
My poor grandfather was so dumbfounded that he could only stand and stare.
"ANDREW COFFEY! ANDREW COFFEY! I told you it'd be the worse for you."
And with that, out there bounced, from a cupboard that Andrew Coffey had never noticed before, a man. And the man was in a towering rage. But it wasn't that. And he carried as fine a blackthorn as you'd wish to crack a man's head with.
The Laughing Prince: The Story of the Boy Who Could Talk Nonsense
Category: Slavic Folktale
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