The Pedlar of Swaffham
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 at his heels, and at the
close of the day's labour was but too glad to sit down and sleep. Now
it fell out that one night he dreamed a dream, and therein he saw the
great bridge of London town, and it sounded in his ears that if he went
there he should hear joyful news. He made little count of the dream,
but on the following night it come back to him, and again on the third
Then he said within himself, "I must needs try the issue
of it," and so he trudged up to London town. Long was the way and right
glad was he when he stood on the great bridge and saw the tall houses
on right hand and left, and had glimpses of the water running and the
ships sailing by. All day long he paced to and fro, but he heard
nothing that might yield him comfort. And again on the morrow he stood
and he gazed—he paced afresh the length of London Bridge, but naught
did he see and naught did he hear.
Now the third day being come as he still stood and gazed, a shopkeeper hard by spoke to him.
"Friend," said he, "I wonder much at your fruitless standing. Have you no wares to sell?"
"No, indeed," quoth the pedlar.
"And you do not beg for alms."
"Not so long as I can keep myself."
"Then what, I pray thee, dost thou want here, and what may thy business be?"
"Well, kind sir, to tell the truth, I dreamed that if I came hither, I should hear good news."
Right heartily did the shopkeeper laugh.
thou must be a fool to take a journey on such a silly errand. I'll tell
thee, poor silly country fellow, that I myself dream too o' nights, and
that last night I dreamt myself to be in Swaffham, a place clean
unknown to me, but in Norfolk if I mistake not, and methought I was in
an orchard behind a pedlar's house, and in that orchard was a great
oak-tree. Then meseemed that if I digged I should find beneath that
tree a great treasure. But think you I'm such a fool as to take on me a
long and wearisome journey and all for a silly dream. No, my good
fellow, learn wit from a wiser man than thyself. Get thee home, and
mind thy business."
When the pedlar heard this he spoke no word,
but was exceeding glad in himself, and returning home speedily, digged
underneath the great oak-tree, and found a prodigious great treasure.
He grew exceeding rich, but he did not forget his duty in the pride of
his riches. For he built up again the church at Swaffham, and when he
died they put a statue of him therein all in stone with his pack at his
back and his dog at his heels. And there it stands to this day to
witness if I lie.
|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