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Main > Welsh folktales > Fairy tale "Billy Duffy and the devil"

Billy Duffy and the devil


"Oh, that's a bad wish, Billy."

"Oh, no; you'll see it's good. Next thing I wish for is a purse so that no one can take out whatever I put into it."

"Oh, Billy, Billy! that's a bad wish. Be careful now about the third wish," said the hermit.

"Well, I have got an armchair upstairs, and I wish that whoever may sit in that armchair will never be able to get up till I let them."

"Well, well, indeed; they are not very good wishes."

"Oh, yes; I've got my senses about me. I think I'll make them good wishes, after all."

The seven years, all but three days, had passed, and Billy was back working at his forge, for all his money was gone, when the dark gentleman stepped in and said:

"Now, Billy, during these last three days you may have as much money as you like," and he disappeared.

On the last day of his seven years Billy was penniless, and he went to the taproom of his favourite inn, which was full.

"Well, boys," said Billy, "we must have some money to-night. I'll treat you, and give you a pound each," and rising, he placed his tumbler in the middle of the table, and wished for twenty pounds. No sooner had he wished than a ball of fire came through the ceiling, and the twenty sovereigns fell into the tumbler. Everyone was taken aback, and there was a noise as if a bomb had burst, and the fireball disappeared, and rolled down the garden path, the landlord following it. After this they each drank what they liked, and Billy gave them a sovereign apiece before he went home.

The next morning he was in his smithy making a pair of horseshoes, when the devil came in and said:

"Well, Billy, I'll want you this morning."

"Yes; all right. Take hold of this sledge-hammer, and give me a few hammers till I finish this job before I go."

So the devil seized the hammer and began striking the anvil, but he couldn't stop.

So Billy laughed, and locked him in, and was away three days. During this time the people collected round the smithy, and peeped through the cracks in the shutter, for they could hear the hammer going night and day.

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