was once a king and a queen, as many a one has been; few have we seen,
and as few may we see. But the queen died, leaving only one bonny girl,
and she told her on her death-bed: "My dear, after I am gone, there
will come to you a little red calf, and whenever you want anything,
speak to it, and it will give it you."
Now, after a while, the
king married again an ill-natured wife, with three ugly daughters of
her own. And they hated the king's daughter because she was so bonny.
So they took all her fine clothes away from her, and gave her only a
coat made of rushes. So they called her Rushen Coatie, and made her sit
in the kitchen nook, amid the ashes. And when dinner-time came, the
nasty stepmother sent her out a thimbleful of broth, a grain of barley,
a thread of meat, and a crumb of bread. But when she had eaten all
this, she was just as hungry as before, so she said to herself: "Oh!
how I wish I had something to eat." Just then, who should come in but a
little red calf, and said to her: "Put your finger into my left ear."
She did so, and found some nice bread. Then the calf told her to put
her finger into its right ear, and she found there some cheese, and
made a right good meal of the bread and cheese. And so it went on from
day to day.
Now the king's wife thought Rushen Coatie would soon
die from the scanty food she got, and she was surprised to see her as
lively and healthy as ever. So she set one of her ugly daughters on the
watch at meal times to find out how Rushen Coatie got enough to live
on. The daughter soon found out that the red calf gave food to Rushen
Coatie, and told her mother. So her mother went to the king and told
him she was longing to have a sweetbread from a red calf. Then the king
sent for his butcher, and had the little red calf killed. And when
Rushen Coatie heard of it, she sate down and wept by its side, but the
dead calf said:
"Take me up, bone by bone,
And put me beneath yon grey stone;
When there is aught you want
Tell it me, and that I'll grant."
So she did so, but could not find the shank-bone of the calf.
the very next Sunday was Yuletide, and all the folk were going to
church in their best clothes, so Rushen Coatie said: "Oh! I should like
to go to church, too," but the three ugly sisters said: "What would you
do at the church, you nasty thing? You must bide at home and make the
dinner." And the king's wife said: "And this is what you must make the
soup of, a thimbleful of water, a grain of barley, and a crumb of
When they all went to church, Rushen Coatie sat down and
wept, but looking up, who should she see coming in limping, lamping,
with a shank wanting, but the dear red calf? And the red calf said to
her: "Do not sit there weeping, but go, put on these clothes, and above
all, put on this pair of glass slippers, and go your way to church."
"But what will become of the dinner?" said Rushen Coatie.
"Oh, do not fash about that," said the red calf, "all you have to do is to say to the fire:
"'Every peat make t'other burn,
Every spit make t'other turn,
Every pot make t'other play,
Till I come from church this good Yuleday,'
and be off to church with you. But mind you come home first."
Rushen Coatie said this, and went off to church, and she was the
grandest and finest lady there. There happened to be a young prince
there, and he fell at once in love with her. But she came away before
service was over, and was home before the rest, and had off her fine
clothes and on with her rushen coatie, and she found the calf had
covered the table, and the dinner was ready, and everything was in good
order when the rest came home. The three sisters said to Rushen Coatie:
"Eh, lassie, if you had seen the bonny fine lady in church to-day, that
the young prince fell in love with!" Then she said: "Oh! I wish you
would let me go with you to the church to-morrow," for they used to go
three days together to church at Yuletide.
But they said: "What should the like of you do at church, nasty thing? The kitchen nook is good enough for you."
the next day they all went to church, and Rushen Coatie was left
behind, to make dinner out of a thimbleful of water, a grain of barley,
a crumb of bread, and a thread of meat. But the red calf came to her
help again, gave her finer clothes than before, and she went to church,
where all the world was looking at her, and wondering where such a
grand lady came from, and the prince fell more in love with her than
ever, and tried to find out where she went to. But she was too quick
for him, and got home long before the rest, and the red calf had the
dinner all ready.
The next day the calf dressed her in even
grander clothes than before, and she went to the church. And the young
prince was there again, and this time he put a guard at the door to
keep her, but she took a hop and a run and jumped over their heads, and
as she did so, down fell one of her glass slippers. She didn't wait to
pick it up, you may be sure, but off she ran home, as fast as she could
go, on with the rushen coatie, and the calf had all things ready.
the young prince put out a proclamation that whoever could put on the
glass slipper should be his bride. All the ladies of his court went and
tried to put on the slipper. And they tried and tried and tried, but it
was too small for them all. Then he ordered one of his ambassadors to
mount a fleet horse and ride through the kingdom and find an owner for
the glass shoe. He rode and he rode to town and castle, and made all
the ladies try to put on the shoe. Many a one tried to get it on that
she might be the prince's bride. But no, it wouldn't do, and many a one
wept, I warrant, because she couldn't get on the bonny glass shoe. The
ambassador rode on and on till he came at the very last to the house
where there were the three ugly sisters. The first two tried it and it
wouldn't do, and the queen, mad with spite, hacked off the toes and
heels of the third sister, and she could then put the slipper on, and
the prince was brought to marry her, for he had to keep his promise.
The ugly sister was dressed all in her best and was put up behind the
prince on horseback, and off they rode in great gallantry. But ye all
know, pride must have a fall, for as they rode along a raven sang out
of a bush—
"Hackèd Heels and Pinchèd Toes
Behind the young prince rides,
But Pretty Feet and Little Feet
Behind the cauldron bides."
"What's that the birdie sings?" said the young prince.
"Nasty, lying thing," said the step-sister, "never mind what it says."
the prince looked down and saw the slipper dripping with blood, so he
rode back and put her down. Then he said, "There must be some one that
the slipper has not been tried on."
"Oh, no," said they, "there's none but a dirty thing that sits in the kitchen nook and wears a rushen coatie."
the prince was determined to try it on Rushen Coatie, but she ran away
to the grey stone, where the red calf dressed her in her bravest dress,
and she went to the prince and the slipper jumped out of his pocket on
to her foot, fitting her without any chipping or paring. So the prince
married her that very day, and they lived happy ever after.
|All English Fairy Tales
THE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS
JACK AND THE BEANSTALK
JACK THE GIANT-KILLER
THE PIED PIPER OF FRANCHVILLE
THE STORY OF THE THREE BEARS
TOM TIT TOT
THE THREE SILLIES
THE OLD WOMAN AND HER PIG
HOW JACK WENT TO SEEK HIS FORTUNE
NIX NOUGHT NOTHING
MOUSE AND MOUSER
CAP O' RUSHES
THE MASTER AND HIS PUPIL
TITTY MOUSE ND TATTY MOUSE
JACK AND HIS GOLDEN SNUFF-BOX
THE RED ETTIN
MASTER OF ALL MASTERS.
THE GOLDEN ARM
THE HISTORY OF TOM THUMB
EARL MAR'S DAUGHTER
WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT
THE STRANGE VISITOR
THE LAIDLY WORM OF SPINDLESTON HEUGH
THE CAT AND THE MOUSE.
THE FISH AND THE RING.
THE MAGPIE'S NEST
THE CAULD LAD OF HILTON
THE ASS, THE TABLE, AND THE STICK
THE WELL OF THE WORLD'S END.
THE THREE HEADS OF THE WELL