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Main > Scotland folktales > Fairy tale "Whippety Stourie"

Whippety Stourie

There was once a gentleman that lived in a very grand house, and he married a young lady that had been delicately brought up. In her husband’s house she found everything that was fine—fine tables and chairs, fine looking-glasses, and fine curtains; but then her husband expected her to be able to spin twelve hanks o’ thread every day, besides attending to her house; and, to tell the even-down truth, the lady could not spin a bit. This made her husband glunchy with her, and, before a month had passed, she found hersel’ very unhappy.

One day the husband gaed away upon a journey, after telling her that he expected her, before his return, to have not only learned to spin, but to have spun a hundred hanks o’ thread. Quite downcast, she took a walk along the hillside, till she cam’ to a big flat stane, and there she sat down and grat. By and by she heard a strain o’ fine sma’ music, coming as it were frae aneath the stane, and, on turning it up, she saw a cave below, where there were sitting six wee ladies in green gowns, ilk ane o’ them spinning on a little wheel, and singing,

“Little kens my dame at hame

That Whippety Stourie is my name.”

The lady walked into the cave, and was kindly asked by the wee bodies to take a chair and sit down, while they still continued their spinning. She observed that ilk ane’s mouth was thrawn away to ae side, but she didna venture to speer the reason. They asked why she looked so unhappy, and she telt them that it was she was expected by her husband to be a good spinner, when the plain truth was that she could not spin at all, and found herself quite unable for it, having been so delicately brought up; neither was there any need for it, as her husband was a rich man.

“Oh, is that a’?” said the little wifies, speaking out of their cheeks alike.

“Yes, and is it not a very good a’ too?” said the lady, her heart like to burst wi’ distress.

“We could easily quit ye o’ that trouble,” said the wee women. “Just ask us a’ to dinner for the day when your husband is to come back.

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