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Main > English folktales > Fairy tale "The Wee Bannock"

The Wee Bannock

"Grannie, grannie, come tell us the story of the wee bannock."

"Hout, childer, ye've heard it a hundred times afore. I needn't tell it over again."

"Ah! but, grannie, it's such a fine one. You must tell it. Just once."

"Well, well, if ye'll all promise to be good, I'll tell it ye again."

There lived an old man and an old woman at the side of a burn. They had two cows, five hens, and a cock, a cat and two kittens. The old man looked after the cows, and the old wife span on the distaff. The kittens oft gripped at the old wife's spindle, as it tussled over the hearthstone. "Sho, sho," she would say, "go away;" and so it tussled about.

One day, after breakfast, she thought she would have a bannock. So she baked two oatmeal bannocks, and set them on to the fire to harden. After a while, the old man came in, and sat down beside the fire, and takes one of the bannocks, and snaps it through the middle. When the other one sees this, it runs off as fast as it could, and the old wife after it, with the spindle in the one hand, and the distaff in the other. But the wee bannock ran away and out of sight, and ran till it came to a pretty large thatched house, and it ran boldly up inside to the fireside; and there were three tailors sitting on a big bench. When they saw the wee bannock come in, they jumped up, and got behind the goodwife, that was carding tow by the fire. "Hout," quoth she, "be no afeard; it's but a wee bannock. Grip it, and I'll give ye a sup of milk with it." Up she gets with the tow-cards and the tailor with the goose, and the two 'prentices, the one with the big shears, and the other with the lawbrod; but it dodged them, and ran round about the fire; and one of the 'prentices, thinking to snap it with the shears, fell into the ashes. The tailor cast the goose, and the goodwife the tow-cards; but it wouldn't do. The bannock ran away, and ran till it came to a wee house at the roadside; and in it runs and there was a weaver sitting at the loom, and the wife winding a clue of yarn.

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