BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


Darby O'Gill and the Little People

Hermenie Templeton Kavanagh


The Souls of Black Folk

W. E. B. DuBois


The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian


The Bhagavad Gita

Anonymous


Book of English fairy tales from the north-country

by Alfred Cooper Fryer

Excerpt:

Onward she roamed through the meadows and into the beech-woods, where the turf made a beautiful green carpet for her feet; and at last she came to a little hillock covered with lovely wild flowers. But she was tired, and the recollection of her unfinished work made her very miserable; so that she scarcely noticed the sweet-scented blossoms, which at another time would have delighted her, Sitting down

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under a wild rose bush, and burying her head in her hands, she gave way to her grief, sobbing as if her heart would break. At the foot of the little knoll flowed a crystal streamlet, and beside it was a piece of rock with a hole through the centre of it, which the folk of the north-country call a "self-bored" or "borestone." Looking up the girl perceived a diminutive old woman seated upon this rock. She held a distaff in her hand, and was very busy drawing out the thread. The young girl's curiosity was roused, and going up to the old woman she said, "Fair day, good dame."

"A fair day to you, child," responded the old woman, in a kindly voice.

"May I ask," continued the maiden, a little shyly, "why you have such long lips?" She felt somewhat afraid as she said this, lest the old woman should think she meant to be rude. But the latter only smiled, and seemed as pleased as if a compliment had been paid her.

"No offence at all, dearie," she replied. "It comes from spinning so much: for you see as I draw my thread from the rock I wet my finger on my lips: that is the reason why they are so long and thick and ugly."

"Alas!" sighed the girl, "I ought to have been spinning just now. But it is of no use; I can never finish my task,"—and the tears stood on her cheeks like dewdrops on the petals of a rose.

"Don't cry your pretty eyes out, dearie," said the old woman, in a coaxing tone. "Fetch your work here to me; I will finish it for you."

Rejoiced beyond measure was the girl on hearing this kind offer: and running quickly home she brought back the heads of lint that had not been spun. The old dame took them with a smile, and before the maid could thank her, or so much as ask her name, she vanished out of sight among the bushes. The girl ran up and down seeking for her, but could not find her anywhere. Coming back at last, weary with her wanderings, to the spot where she had first met the old woman, she lay down on the soft sward by the bank of the stream and fell asleep.

When she awoke it was evening. The sun had set; the last streak of his golden glories had faded out of the west, and the shades of night were creeping over the ground. Causleen, the evening star, shone bright and clear; but when the moon rose above the trees its radiance paled before the flood of silvery light. Suddenly, as the young girl rose to run home, she fancied she heard the hum of voices proceeding from the bore-stone. Leaning down she placed her ear to the rock, and as she listened, she distinctly heard the words,—

"Little doth the maiden wot
That my name is Habetrot."

Then she peeped through the hole in the bore-stone. In a deep cave under the surface of the earth, she saw the old dame who had taken her flax, walking backwards and forwards. Round her were gathered a number of ugly old women, all of whom were busily plying their spindles. They were seated on "colludie-stones," which you must know are large round white pebbles, found in the channels of streams.

It was certainly a strange sight. Each of the party had long lips, just like Habetrot, but more or less twisted and disfigured: and they were all busy working like a hive of bees. One old dame, with a hooked nose and grey eyes that seemed to be starting out of their sockets, sat in a corner, reeling off the yarn as fast as the others spun it. Habetrot turned to her, and said,—


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