THE HILLMAN AND THE HOUSEWIFE
BY JULLANA HORATIA EWING (ADAPTED)
IT is well known that the Fairy People cannot abide
meanness. They like to be liberally dealt with when they beg
or borrow of the human race; and, on the other hand, to
those who come to them in need, they are invariably
Now there once lived a certain housewife who had a sharp eye
to her own interests, and gave alms of what she had no use
for, hoping to get some reward in return. One day a Hillman
knocked at her door.
 "Can you lend us a saucepan, good mother?" said he. "There's
a wedding in the hill, and all the pots are in use."
"Is he to have one?" asked the servant lass who had opened
"Aye, to be sure," answered the housewife; "one must be
But when the maid was taking a saucepan from the shelf, the
housewife pinched her arm and whispered sharply: "Not that,
you good-for-nothing! Get the old one out of the cupboard.
It leaks, and the Hillmen are so neat, and such nimble
workers, that they are sure to mend it before they send it
home. So one obliges the Fairy People, and saves sixpence in
Thus bidden the maid fetched the saucepan, which had been
laid by until the tinker's next visit, and gave it to the
Hillman, who thanked her and went away.
In due time the saucepan was returned, and, as the housewife
had foreseen, it was neatly mended and ready for use.
At supper-time the maid filled the pan with milk, and set it
on the fire for the children's supper. But in a few minutes
the milk was so burnt and smoked that no one could touch it,
and even the pigs refused to drink it.
"Ah, good-for-nothing hussy!" cried the housewife, as she
refilled the pan herself, "you would
 ruin the richest with your carelessness! There's a whole
quart of good milk wasted at once!"
"And that 's twopence!" cried a voice that seemed to come
from the chimney, in a whining tone, like some discontented
old body going over her grievances.
The housewife had not left the saucepan for two minutes,
when the milk boiled over, and it was all burnt and smoked
"The pan must be dirty," muttered the good woman in
vexation, "and there are two full quarts of milk as good as
thrown to the dogs."
"And that 's fourpence!" added the voice in the chimney.
After a thorough cleaning the saucepan was once more filled
and set on the fire, but with no better success. The milk
boiled over again, and was hopelessly spoiled. The housewife
shed tears of anger at the waste and cried: "Never before
did such a thing befall me since I kept house! Three quarts
of new milk burnt for one meal."
"And that 's sixpence!" cried the voice in the chimney. "You
did n't save the tinkering after all, mother!"
With that the Hillman himself came tumbling down from the
chimney, and went off laughing through the door.
But from then on the saucepan was as good as any other.
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