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

The Wee Bannock

"Tibby," quoth he, "what's that?"

"Oh," quoth she, "it's a wee bannock."

"It's well come," quoth he, "for our porrage were but thin to-day. Grip it, my woman; grip it."

"Ay," quoth she; "what recks! That's a clever bannock. Catch it, Willie; catch it, man."

"Hout," quoth Willie, "cast the clue at it."

But the bannock dodged round about, and off it went, and over the hill, like a new-tarred sheep or a mad cow. And forward it runs to the neat-house, to the fireside; and there was the goodwife churning.

"Come away, wee bannock," quoth she; "I'll have cream and bread to-day." But the wee bannock dodged round about the churn, and the wife after it, and in the hurry she had near-hand overturned the churn. And before she got it set right again, the wee bannock was off and down the brae to the mill; and in it ran.

The miller was sifting meal in the trough; but, looking up: "Ay," quoth he, "it's a sign of plenty when ye're running about, and nobody to look after ye. But I like a bannock and cheese. Come your way hither, and I'll give ye a night's quarters." But the bannock wouldn't trust itself with the miller and his cheese. So it turned and ran its way out; but the miller didn't fash his head with it.

So it toddled away and ran till it came to the smithy; and in it runs, and up to the anvil. The smith was making horse-nails. Quoth he: "I like a glass of good ale and a well-toasted bannock. Come your way in by here." But the bannock was frightened when it heard about the ale, and turned and was off as hard as it could, and the smith after it, and cast the hammer. But it missed, and the bannock was out of sight in a crack, and ran till it came to a farmhouse with a good peat-stack at the end of it. Inside it runs to the fireside. The goodman was cloving lint, and the goodwife heckling. "O Janet," quoth he, "there's a wee bannock; I'll have the half of it."

"Well, John, I'll have the other half. Hit it over the back with the clove." But the bannock played dodgings.

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