English fairy tales

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The History of Tom Thumb

In the days of the great Prince Arthur, there lived a mighty magician, called Merlin, the most learned and skilful enchanter the world has ever seen. This famous magician, who could take any form he pleased, was travelling about as a poor beggar, and being very tired, he stopped at…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Hobyahs

Once there was an old man and woman and a little girl, and they all lived in a house made of hempstalks. Now the old man had a little dog named Turpie; and one night the Hobyahs came and said, “Hobyah! Hobyah! Hobyah! Tear down the hempstalks, eat up the…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Lambton Worm

A wild young fellow was the heir of Lambton, the fine estate and hall by the side of the swift-flowing Wear. Not a Mass would he hear in Brugeford Chapel of a Sunday, but a-fishing he would go. And if he did not haul in anything, his curses could be…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Master and His Pupil

  There was once a very learned man in the north-country who knew all the languages under the sun, and who was acquainted with all the mysteries of creation. He had one big book bound in black calf and clasped with iron, and with iron corners, and chained to a…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Old Witch

Once upon a time there were two girls who lived with their mother and father. Their father had no work, and the girls wanted to go away and seek their fortunes. Now one girl wanted to go to service, and her mother said she might if she could find a…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Old Woman and Her Pig

An old woman was sweeping her house, and she found a little crooked sixpence. “What,” said she, “shall I do with this little sixpence? I will go to market, and buy a little pig.” As she was coming home, she came to a stile: but the piggy wouldn’t go over…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Peddlar of Swaffham

In the old days when London Bridge was lined with shops from one end to the other, and salmon swam under the arches, there lived at Swaffham, in Norfolk, a poor pedlar. He’d much ado to make his living, trudging about with his pack at his back and his dog…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Pied Piper

Newtown, or Franchville, as ‘t was called of old, is a sleepy little town, as you all may know, upon the Solent shore. Sleepy as it is now, it was once noisy enough, and what made the noise was—rats. The place was so infested with them as to be scarce…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Red Ettin

There was once a widow that lived on a small bit of ground, which she rented from a farmer. And she had two sons; and by-and-by it was time for the wife to send them away to seek their fortune. So she told her eldest son one day to take…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Rose-Tree

There was once upon a time a good man who had two children: a girl by a first wife, and a boy by the second. The girl was as white as milk, and her lips were like cherries. Her hair was like golden silk, and it hung to the ground.…

Andrew Lang’s Fairy BooksEnglish fairy tales

The Six Sillies

Once upon a time there was a young girl who reached the age of thirty-seven without ever having had a lover, for she was so foolish that no one wanted to marry her. One day, however, a young man arrived to pay his addresses to her, and her mother, beaming…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Story of the Three Bears

Once upon a time there were Three Bears, who lived together in a house of their own, in a wood. One of them was a Little, Small Wee Bear; and one was a Middle-sized Bear, and the other was a Great, Huge Bear. They had each a pot for their…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Strange Visitor

A woman was sitting at her reel one night; And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she wished for company. In came a pair of broad broad soles, and sat down at the fireside; And still she sat, and still she reeled, and still she wished for…

English fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Three Cows

There was a farmer, and he had three cows, fine fat beauties they were. One was called Facey, the other Diamond, and the third Beauty. One morning he went into his cowshed, and there he found Facey so thin that the wind would have blown her away. Her skin hung…

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