The Cauld Lad Of Hilton
: PLACES AND FAMILIES
: Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales
This fairy or goblin was seldom seen, but his gambols were heard nightly
in the hall of the great house. He overturned everything in the kitchen
after the servants had gone to bed, and was, in short, one of the most
mischievous sprites you could imagine. One night, however, the kitchen
happened to be left in great confusion, and the goblin, who did
everything by contraries, set it completely to rights; and the next
ing it was in perfect apple-pie order. We may be quite sure that,
after this occurrence, the kitchen was not again made orderly by the
Notwithstanding, however, the service thus nightly rendered by the Cauld
Lad, the servants did not like it. They preferred to do their own work
without preternatural agency, and accordingly resolved to do their best
to drive him from their haunts. The goblin soon understood what was
going on, and he was heard in the dead of night to warble the following
lines in a melancholy strain:
Wae's me! wae's me!
The acorn is not yet
Fallen from the tree,
That's to grow the wood,
That's to make the cradle,
That's to rock the bairn,
That's to grow to a man,
That's to lay me.
He was, however, deceived in this prediction; for one night, being
colder than usual, he complained in moving verse of his condition.
Accordingly, on the following evening, a cloak and hood were placed for
him near the fire. The servants had unconsciously accomplished their
deliverance, for present gifts to fairies, and they for ever disappear.
On the next morning the following lines were found inscribed on the
I've taken your cloak, I've taken your hood;
The Cauld Lad of Hilton will do no more good!
A great variety of stories in which fairies are frightened away by
presents, are still to be heard in the rural districts of England.
Another narrative, by Mr. Longstaffe, relates that on one occasion a
woman found her washing and ironing regularly performed for her every
night by the fairies. In gratitude to the "good people," she placed
green mantles for their acceptance, and the next night the fairies
Now the pixies' work is done!
We take our clothes, and off we run.
Mrs. Bray tells a similar story of a Devonshire pixy, who helped an old
woman to spin. One evening she spied the fairy jumping out of her door,
and observed that it was very raggedly dressed; so the next day she
thought to win the services of the elf further by placing some smart new
clothes, as big as those made for a doll, by the side of her wheel. The
pixy came, put on the clothes, and clapping its hands with delight,
vanished, saying these lines:
Pixy fine, pixy gay,
Pixy now will run away.
Fairies always talk in rhyme. Mr. Allies mentions a Worcestershire fairy
legend which says that, upon one occasion, a pixy came to a ploughman in
a field, and exclaimed:
Oh, lend a hammer and a nail,
Which we want to mend our pail.