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Up! Horsie! An Original Fairy Tale   By: (1807-1876)

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First Page:

LILLIPUTIAN LIBRARY.

NEW SERIES.

UP! HORSIE!

AN

Original Fairy Tale.

BY

MADAME DE CHATELAIN.

JOSEPH, MYERS, & CO., 144, LEADENHALL STREET, LONDON, E.C.

THE

LILLIPUTIAN LIBRARY.

UP! HORSIE!

A young peasant was riding to market on a stout, well fed nag, when he overtook an old Scotch shepherd, who was trudging along on foot.

"I say, Sandy," cried the young man, "if you go no faster than that, market will be over before you get to town."

The Scotchman turned round, and peered at him from under his bushy eyebrows, saying in a strong north country accent: "Gin ye think so, suppose we ride and tie?"

"A pretty story indeed!" quoth Gilbert "I keep a horse for myself, and not for you."

And as he uttered this ungracious answer, he urged on his nag, and soon left the old Scotchman in the lurch.

Scarcely had Gilbert reached the market town, and put up his horse at an inn, when who should he behold strolling leisurely amongst the market folks, but the same old shepherd he had left so far behind.

"Somebody must have given you a lift, Sandy," observed he.

"Oh," replied the shepherd, "when I asked for a lift, it was only to see if you were obliging or not it was all the same to me for though you must buy your horses, I can gather mine whenever I choose."

These words sounded so odd to Gilbert that he begged the stranger to explain his meaning, when the old man said: "Meet me at yon inn, and we'll see."

Gilbert then hurried through his business, and went to join the shepherd at the inn. But the wary Scotchman would not give his secret for nothing and why should he, to a stranger who had been uncivil to him? Besides, as he observed truly enough, those who are curious may pay for their curiosity, so if Gilbert wanted to know how to gather horses thus easily, he must hand him over all the money he had received that morning, and give him his nag into the bargain. Gilbert thought these demands exorbitant, and tried to haggle with the stranger, but Sandy proved too much for him, Northumbrian though he was and the young farmer finished by agreeing to his conditions, and after paying down the money, brought the horse out of the stable.

"Now I'll tell you," said the Scotchman. "May be you've heard of our late poet Burns, just over the border? Well, he told of a shepherd lad who years and years ago learnt of some wise ones, that if you pull a stem of ragwort, and sit astride it, and cry out: 'Up! Horsie!' it will carry you through the air."

"And have you tried it and succeeded?" eagerly inquired Gilbert.

"Ay for that shepherd lad was myself, and many a pleasant jaunt have I enjoyed by that same means," said Sandy, with twinkling eyes. "Only you must not attempt it till the moon is full, or the horse might throw an inexperienced rider."

Delighted at having learnt such a secret, and without pausing to wonder how, if the shepherd had lived so many years before Burns, he could still be alive, Gilbert inquired what places he went to?

"I went to Elf land," said the Scotchman.

Gilbert was not learned indeed he could scarcely read and he confessed he did not know the road thither; but the stranger assured him he need only express the wish to go, and the ragwort would take him. They then parted, and the shepherd rode away with the horse, after stowing away the money in his pouch, while Gilbert went home as best he might.

After waiting impatiently for the full moon, Gilbert at last went out one night to work the charm, and to his great delight, had no sooner bestrided the ragwort, and said: "Up! Horsie!" than it bore him at a pretty smart pace to Elf land. Nevertheless it just began to dawn as he reached his journey's end, and dismounted. He had not proceeded far, before he perceived a splendid castle on an eminence, and numerous flocks browsing on the surrounding hills. But what arrested his attention still more was a very lovely woman, superbly drest, sitting at the foot of the hill, playing on an ivory fiddle of exquisite workmanship, with golden strings, from which she drew the sweetest tones he had ever heard in his whole life... Continue reading book >>




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