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Main > English folktales > Fairy tale "The Old Witch"

The Old Witch

When she did this a great bag of money fell down in her lap. This happened again and again. So the girl started to go off home.

When she had gone some way she heard the witch coming after her. So she ran to the apple tree and cried:

"Apple-tree, apple-tree hide me,

So the old witch can't find me;

If she does she'll pick my bones,

And bury me under the marble stones."

So the apple-tree hid her. When the witch came up she said:

"Tree of mine, tree of mine,

Have you seen a girl

With a willy-willy wag, and a long-tailed bag,

Who's stole my money, all I had?"

And the apple-tree said, "No, mother; not for seven year."

When the witch had gone down another way, the girl went on again, and just as she got to the cow heard the witch coming after her again, so she ran to the cow and cried:

"Cow, cow, hide me,

So the old witch can't find me;

If she does she'll pick my bones,

And bury me under the marble stones."

So the cow hid her.

When the old witch came up, she looked about and said to the cow:

"Cow of mine, cow of mine,

Have you seen a girl

With a willy-willy wag, and a long-tailed bag,

Who's stole my money, all I had?"

And the cow said, "No, mother, not for seven year."

When the witch had gone off another way, the little girl went on again, and when she was near the oven she heard the witch coming after her again, so she ran to the oven and cried:

"Oven, oven, hide me,

So the old witch can't find me;

If she does she'll break my bones,

And bury me under the marble stones."

And the oven said, "I've no room, ask the baker," and the baker hid her behind the oven.

When the witch came up she looked here and there and everywhere, and then said to the baker:

"Man of mine, man of mine,

Have you seen a girl,

With a willy-willy wag, and a long-tailed bag,

Who's stole my money, all I had?"

So the baker said, "Look in the oven." The old witch went to look, and the oven said, "Get in and look in the furthest corner." The witch did so, and when she was inside the oven shut her door, and the witch was kept there for a very long time.

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