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Main > Celtic folktales > Fairy tale "Jack and his comrades"

Jack and his comrades

Jack put it all in the two ends of a sack and laid it across Neddy's back, and all took the road in their hands. Away they went, through bogs, up hills, down dales, and sometimes along the yellow high road, till they came to the hall-door of the Lord of Dunlavin, and who should be there, airing his powdered head, his white stockings, and his red breeches, but the thief of a porter.

He gave a cross look to the visitors, and says he to Jack, "What do you want here, my fine fellow? there isn't room for you all."

"We want," says Jack, "what I'm sure you haven't to give us—and that is, common civility."

"Come, be off, you lazy strollers!" says he, "while a cat 'ud be licking her ear, or I'll let the dogs at you."

"Would you tell a body," says the cock that was perched on the ass's head, "who was it that opened the door for the robbers the other night?"

Ah! maybe the porter's red face didn't turn the colour of his frill, and the Lord of Dunlavin and his pretty daughter, that were standing at the parlour window unknownst to the porter, put out their heads.

"I'd be glad, Barney," says the master, "to hear your answer to the gentleman with the red comb on him."

"Ah, my lord, don't believe the rascal; sure I didn't open the door to the six robbers."

"And how did you know there were six, you poor innocent?" said the lord.

"Never mind, sir," says Jack, "all your gold and silver is there in that sack, and I don't think you will begrudge us our supper and bed after our long march from the wood of Athsalach."

"Begrudge, indeed! Not one of you will ever see a poor day if I can help it."

So all were welcomed to their heart's content, and the ass and the dog and the cock got the best posts in the farmyard, and the cat took possession of the kitchen. The lord took Jack in hands, dressed him from top to toe in broadcloth, and frills as white as snow, and turnpumps, and put a watch in his fob. When they sat down to dinner, the lady of the house said Jack had the air of a born gentleman about him, and the lord said he'd make him his steward.

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