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Main > English folktales > Fairy tale "The Wee, Wee Mannie"

The Wee, Wee Mannie

Once upon a time, when all big folks were wee ones and all lies were true, there was a wee, wee Mannie that had a big, big Coo. And out he went to milk her of a morning, and said—

"Hold still, my Coo, my hinny,

Hold still, my hinny, my Coo,

And ye shall have for your dinner

What but a milk white doo."

But the big, big Coo wouldn't hold still. "Hout!" said the wee, wee Mannie—

"Hold still, my Coo, my dearie,

And fill my bucket wi' milk,

And if ye 'll be no contrairy

I'll gi'e ye a gown o' silk."

But the big, big Coo wouldn't hold still. "Look at that, now!" said the wee, wee Mannie—

"What's a wee, wee mannie to do,

Wi' such a big contrairy Coo?"

So off he went to his mother at the house. "Mother," said he, "Coo won't stand still, and wee, wee Mannie can't milk big, big Coo."

"Hout!" says his mother, "take stick and beat Coo."

So off he went to get a stick from the tree, and said—

"Break, stick, break,

And I'll gi'e ye a cake."

But the stick wouldn't break, so back he went to the house. "Mother," says he, "Coo won't hold still, stick won't break, wee, wee Mannie can't beat big, big Coo."

"Hout!" says his mother, "go to the Butcher and bid him kill Coo."

So off he went to the Butcher, and said—

"Butcher, kill the big, big Coo,

She'll gi'e us no more milk noo."

But the Butcher wouldn't kill the Coo without a silver penny, so back the Mannie went to the house. "Mother," says he, "Coo won't hold still, stick won't break, Butcher won't kill without a silver penny, and wee, wee Mannie can't milk big, big Coo."

"Well," said his mother, "go to the Coo and tell her there's a weary, weary lady with long yellow hair weeping for a cup o' milk."

So off he went and told the Coo, but she wouldn't hold still, so back he went and told his mother.

"Well," said she, "tell the Coo there's a fine, fine laddie from the wars sitting by the weary, weary lady with golden hair, and she weeping for a sup o' milk."

So off he went and told the Coo, but she wouldn't hold still, so back he went and told his mother.

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