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

The Wee Bannock

"Hout, tout," quoth the wife, and made the heckle flee at it. But it was too clever for her.

And off and up the burn it ran to the next house, and rolled its way to the fireside. The goodwife was stirring the soup, and the goodman plaiting sprit-binnings for the cows. "Ho, Jock," quoth the goodwife, "here come. You're always crying about a wee bannock. Here's one. Come in, haste ye, and I'll help ye to grip it."

"Ay, mother, where is it?"

"See there. Run over on that side."

But the bannock ran in behind the goodman's chair. Jock fell among the sprits. The goodman cast a binning, and the goodwife the spurtle. But it was too clever for Jock and her both. It was off and out of sight in a crack, and through among the whins, and down the road to the next house, and in and snug by the fireside. The folk were just sitting down to their soup, and the goodwife scraping the pot. "Look," quoth she, "there's a wee bannock come in to warm itself at our fireside."

"Shut the door," quoth the goodman, "and we'll try to get a grip of it."

When the bannock heard that, it ran out of the house and they after it with their spoons, and the goodman shied his hat. But it rolled away and ran, and ran, till it came to another house; and when it went in the folk were just going to their beds. The goodman was taking off his breeches, and the goodwife raking the fire.

"What's that?" quoth he.

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

Quoth he, "I could eat the half of it."

"Grip it," quoth the wife, "and I'll have a bit too."

"Cast your breeches at it!" The goodman shied his breeches, and had nearly smothered it. But it wriggled out and ran, and the goodman after it without his breeches; and there was a clean chase over the craft park, and in among the whins; and the goodman lost it, and had to come away, trotting home half naked. But now it was grown dark, and the wee bannock couldn't see; but it went into the side of a big whin bush, and into a fox's hole. The fox had had no meat for two days.

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