Longstaff, Pinepuller and Rockheaver
There was a tiny dwarf with red boots disappearing through the kitchen floor with Longstaff's good dinner.
Longstaff gasped. He was not at all accustomed to having his dinner stolen from under his very nose, as it were.
Soon Pinepuller and Rockheaver came back with the hares they had killed in the hunt. They looked at the dying fire, at the empty pots and frying pan, and at the dazed expression on Longstaff's face.
"Where's the dinner?" asked Pinepuller. "I'm as hungry as a bear. You said you'd have it ready when we got back."
"I know what he's done!" cried Rockheaver. "He has eaten all the dinner and hasn't left a single mouthful for us!"
When Longstaff told them the story of the dwarf with red boots who had stolen the dinner it was difficult to make them believe it.
"Very well," said he, "if you won't take my word for it, why doesn't Pinepuller stay in the kitchen and cook these hares? Rockheaver and I will go away and you can see what happens."
Accordingly, Longstaff and Rockheaver went away and Pinepuller made a stew of the hares. While he was hunting for the salt the little dwarf with red boots came out from under the table and stole the stew. Pinepuller turned around just in time to catch him at it. He raised his big arm to seize him, but the dwarf, in the twinkling of an eye, vanished into the floor, taking the stew with him.
When Longstaff and Rockheaver returned Pinepuller told what had happened. "I believe you now," said he to Longstaff. "I ask your pardon for doubting your word."
However, Rockheaver was not convinced. "I know what has happened," said he. "You were so hungry you couldn't wait for us and you ate up the stew. You and Longstaff have plotted that I shall go with an empty stomach this day."
"Let Rockheaver, then, be the one to stay in the kitchen," suggested Longstaff. "We have brought back other hares from the hunt. Let him cook them and see what happens."
Longstaff and Pinepuller went away, leaving Rockheaver to cook the hares. Again the dwarf with red boots jumped out from under the table and stole the dinner.