The blue belt
Once on a time there was an old beggar-woman, who had gone out to beg. She had a little lad with her, and when she had got her bag full she struck across the hills towards her own home. So when they had gone a bit up the hill-side, they came upon a little Blue Belt which lay where two paths met, and the lad asked his mother’s leave to pick it up.
“No,” said she, “maybe there’s witchcraft in it;” and so with threats she forced him to follow her. But when they had gone a bit further, the lad said he must turn aside a moment out of the road; and meanwhile his mother sat down on a tree-stump. But the lad was a long time gone, for as soon as he got so far into the wood that the old dame could not see him, he ran off to where the Belt lay, took it up, tied it round his waist, and lo! he felt as strong as if he could lift the whole hill. When he got back, the old dame was in a great rage, and wanted to know what he had been doing all that while. “You don’t care how much time you waste, and yet you know the night is drawing on, and we must cross the hill before it is dark!” So on they tramped; but when they had got about half-way, the old dame grew weary, and said she must rest under a bush.
“Dear mother,” said the lad, “mayn’t I just go up to the top of this high crag while you rest, and try if I can’t see some sign of folk hereabouts?”
Yes! he might do that; so when he had got to the top he saw a light shining from the north. So he ran down and told his mother.
“We must get on, mother; we are near a house, for I see a bright light shining quite close to us in the north.” Then she rose and shouldered her bag, and set off to see; but they hadn’t gone far, before there stood a steep spur of the hill, right across their path.
“Just as I thought!” said the old dame, “now we can’t go a step farther; a pretty bed we shall have here!”
But the lad took the bag under one arm, and his mother under the other, and ran straight up the steep crag with them.
“Now, don’t you see?