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Main > English folktales > Fairy tale "Yallery Brown"

Yallery Brown

Once upon a time, and a very good time it was, though it wasn't in my time, nor in your time, nor any one else's time, there was a young lad of eighteen or so named Tom Tiver working on the Hall Farm. One Sunday he was walking across the west field, 't was a beautiful July night, warm and still and the air was full of little sounds as though the trees and grass were chattering to themselves. And all at once there came a bit ahead of him the pitifullest greetings ever he heard, sob, sobbing, like a bairn spent with fear, and nigh heartbroken; breaking off into a moan and then rising again in a long whimpering wailing that made him feel sick to hark to it. He began to look everywhere for the poor creature. "It must be Sally Bratton's child," he thought to himself; "she was always a flighty thing, and never looked after it. Like as not, she's flaunting about the lanes, and has clean forgot the babby." But though he looked and looked, he could see nought. And presently the whimpering got louder and stronger in the quietness, and he thought he could make out words of some sort. He hearkened with all his ears, and the sorry thing was saying words all mixed up with sobbing—

"Ooh! the stone, the great big stone! ooh! the stones on top!"

Naturally he wondered where the stone might be, and he looked again, and there by the hedge bottom was a great flat stone, nigh buried in the mools, and hid in the cotted grass and weeds. One of the stones was called the "Strangers' Table." However, down he fell on his knee-bones by that stone, and hearkened again. Clearer than ever, but tired and spent with greeting came the little sobbing voice—"Ooh! ooh! the stone, the stone on top." He was gey, and mis-liking to meddle with the thing, but he couldn't stand the whimpering babby, and he tore like mad at the stone, till he felt it lifting from the mools, and all at once it came with a sough out o' the damp earth and the tangled grass and growing things. And there in the hole lay a tiddy thing on its back, blinking up at the moon and at him.

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