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Main > Celtic folktales > Fairy tale "The mouldy Penny"

The mouldy Penny

These, on being brought up, showed that they were the ribs of an ancient boat. Learned men say that there was once a river here, which long since dried up. All the pieces of the boat were recovered, and, under the skilful hands of our ship carpenters, have been put together and the whole vessel is now set up and on view in our museum."

"We'll go down to-morrow on our way home from school, and see the curiosity," cried one of the Eerlyk boys, clapping his hands.

"Wait," said his father, "there's more in the story.

"To-day, the janitor of the museum, while examining a wide crack in one of the ribs, which was covered with wax, picked this substance away. He poked his finger in the crack, and finding something soft, pulled it out. It was a rough leather purse, inside of which was a coin, mouldy with age and dark as the wood. Even after cleaning it with acid, it was hard to read what was stamped on it; but, strange to say, the face of the coin had left its impression on the leather, which had been covered with wax. From this, though the metal of the coin was black, and the mould thick on the coin, what they saw showed that it was a silver penny of the age of Charlemagne, or the ninth century."

"Charlemagne is French, father, but we call him Karel de Groot, or

Charles the Great."

"Yes, my son. Don't you hear Karel's Klok (the curfew) sounding? 'Tis time for little folks to go to bed."

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