Joseph Jacobs

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…

Indian fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Pigeon and the Crow

Once upon a time the Bodhisatta was a Pigeon, and lived in a nest- basket which a rich man’s cook had hung up in the kitchen, in order to earn merit by it. A greedy Crow, flying near, saw all sorts of delicate food lying about in the kitchen, and…

Indian fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Prince and the Fakir

There was once upon a time a King who had no children. Now this King went and laid him down to rest at a place where four roads met, so that every one who passed had to step over him. At last a Fakir came along, and he said to…

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.…

Celtic fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Shepherd of Myddvai

Up in the Black Mountains in Caermarthenshire, lies the lake known as Lyn y Van Vach. To the margin of this lake the shepherd of Myddvai once led his lambs, and lay there whilst they sought pasture. Suddenly, from the dark waters of the lake, he saw three maidens rise.…

Indian fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Son of Seven Queens

Once upon a time there lived a King who had seven Queens, but no children. This was a great grief to him, especially when he remembered that on his death there would be no heir to inherit the kingdom. Now it happened one day that a poor old fakir came…

Indian fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Soothsayer’s Son

A soothsayer when on his deathbed wrote out the horoscope of his second son, whose name was Gangazara, and bequeathed it to him as his only property, leaving the whole of his estate to his eldest son. The second son thought over the horoscope, and said to himself: “Alas! am…

Celtic fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Sprightly Tailor

A sprightly tailor was employed by the great Macdonald, in his castle at Saddell, in order to make the laird a pair of trews, used in olden time. And trews being the vest and breeches united in one piece, and ornamented with fringes, were very comfortable, and suitable to be…

Celtic fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Story of Deidre

There was a man in Ireland once who was called Malcolm Harper. The man was a right good man, and he had a goodly share of this world’s goods. He had a wife, but no family. What did Malcolm hear but that a fortune teller had come home to the…

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…

Celtic fairy talesJoseph Jacobs

The Tale of Ivan

There were formerly a man and a woman living in the parish of Llanlavan, in the place which is called Hwrdh. And work became scarce, so the man said to his wife, “I will go search for work, and you may live here.” So he took fair leave, and travelled…

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