The Fairy Shilling


The Rev. Owen Jones, Pentrevoelas, whom I have already mentioned as

having supplied me with the Folk-lore of his parish, kindly gave me the

following tale:--

There was a clean, tidy, hardworking woman, who was most particular about

keeping her house in order. She had a place for everything, and kept

everything in its place.

Every night, before retiring to rest, she was in the habit of brush
ng up

the ashes around the fire place, and putting a few fresh peat on the fire

to keep it in all night, and she was careful to sweep the floor before

going to bed. It was a sight worth seeing to see her clean cottage. One

night the Fairies, in their rambles, came that way and entered her house.

It was just such a place as they liked. They were delighted with the

warm fire, the clean floor and hearth, and they stayed there all night

and enjoyed themselves greatly. In the morning, on leaving, they left a

bright new shilling on the hearthstone for the woman. Night after night,

they spent in this woman's cottage, and every morning she picked up a new

shilling. This went on for so long a time that the woman's worldly

condition was much improved. This her neighbours with envy and surprise

perceived, and great was their talk about her. At last it was noticed

that she always paid for the things she bought with new shilling pieces,

and the neighbours could not make out where she got all these bright

shillings from. They were determined, if possible, to ascertain, and one

of their number was deputed to take upon her the work of obtaining from

the woman the history of these new shillings. She found no difficulty

whatever in doing so, for the woman, in her simplicity, informed her

gossip that every morning the coin was found on the hearthstone. Next

morning the woman, as usual, expected to find a shilling, but never

afterwards did she discover one, and the Fairies came no more to her

house, for they were offended with her for divulging the secret.

This tale is exactly like many others that may be heard related by old

people, in many a secluded abode, to their grandchildren.

A lesson constantly inculcated by Fairy tales is this--Embrace

opportunities as they occur, or they will be lost for ever. The

following stories have reference to this belief.