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THE COMING OF CROW-FEATHER-CLOAK
ECAUSE she used to herd Goats in the high places and
the rocky places, she went by the name of
Girl-go-with-the-Goats. But that was not the name that
she herself called herself. She called herself
Her feet were scratched with briars and bruised with
stones. She was dressed in rags threaded together.
And neither the red of pleasure nor the red of health
had ever come into her face. She lived with her
step-mother, Dame Dale, and her two step-sisters,
Butter-  cup. Now one day as Berry-bright was dizening herself
with a necklace of beads and Buttercup was looking at
herself in a plate of brass, and old woman came up to
the house. Her dress was the queerest that anyone ever
saw, a Cloak of crow-feathers and nothing else.
"My, my, my," said the old woman as she came into the
house. "My, my, my, what became of the big tree that
used to grow fornenst your little house?"
"The big tree!" said Berry-bright, "I have heard my
mother speak of that big tree. But she never saw it
herself. They say that the gypsies once lighted their
fires around that big tree, and that the leaves
withered and the branches and the root, and the tree
died away. But my mother never remembers to have seen
"My, my, my," said the old woman. "It must be a long
time since I was round this way, and where is the well
that used to be on my right-hand side as I came into
"I used to hear my grandmother speak of that well,
"said Buttercup. "But it was dried up before her
 "My, my, my," said the old woman. "It's a long time
since I was round this way. But now that I'm here,
maidens dear, put the griddle on the fire and knead and
bake a cake for me."
"There's no fire on the hearthstone as you see," said
Berry-bright, "and we are not going to put down a fire
for you now."
"Nor can we knead a cake and put it on the griddle for
you," said Buttercup.
"We have just washed our hands in new milk," said
"As we wash them everyday," said Buttercup.
"So that our hands will be as white as blossoms," said
"In three months from this the King's son is to choose
out a maiden to wed."
"And there are no maidens fairer than we two," said
Buttercup, " and
 one or the other of us the King's son is sure to
"And so we have to keep our hands white and fair," said
Berry-bright. "We couldn't think of putting down a
fire now that we have washed them in new milk."
"And to put a griddle on!" said Buttercup. "That would
be to hold them over the fire and make the skin of our
"And to knead a cake!" said Berry-bright. "That would
be to roughen our hands. The end of it is, old woman,
we can't do anything for you."
"My, my, my," said the old woman. "Then I will get
nothing to stay my hunger."
"If you had come before we washed our hands with new
milk," said Buttercup, "we should have done what you'd
Then they went on doing what they had been doing
before, one looking at herself in a plate of brass and
the other dizening herself with a necklace of beads.
And the old woman in the Cloak of crow-feathers was
standing there looking at them when
Girl-go-with-the-Goats came in.
 "Did you milk the goats?" said Berry-bright.
"I did," said Girl-go-with-the-Goats.
"I hope you've ground the corn at the quern to-day,"
said Berry-bright, "for our mother, Dame Dale, will be
coming home hungry from the market."
"I have ground the corn at the quern," said
She went outside and came back with a bundle of sticks.
She took down a measure of flour that she had ground at
the quern and kneaded a cake. She lit a fire and put
the griddle on it. She baked the cake, cut it into
four quarters, and gave it to the old woman.
"Help me over the stepping-stones, Brown Girl," said
the old woman to her then.
"I will," said Girl-go-with-the-Goats. She went
 out of doors with the old woman in the Crow-feather
"How that girl shows her ungentility," said Buttercup.
"It is easy knowing the stock she came from by the way
she makes up with every beggar and stroller."
"A beggar she herself would be," said Buttercup, "if
our mother and ourselves did not give her bread and
"She saw her own kind no doubt in Crow-feather-Cloak,"
said Berry-bright. "But call her now, sister, and
bring her back, so that she'll have time to cook supper
for our mother who must be on her way home by this."
"Really, sister," said Buttercup, "you might go to the
"You will have that plate of brass worn out looking at
yourself," said Berry-bright.
So Berry-bright and Buttercup spoke to each other; and
neither went to the door to call
Girl-go-with-the-Goats, who by this time was as far as
the stepping-stones with the Old Woman in the