Gateway to the Classics: Firelight Stories by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey
 
Firelight Stories by  Carolyn Sherwin Bailey

The Little Boy Who Found His Fortune

O NCE upon a time there were two little brothers, and the first set out to seek his father's lost fortune. He went a long, long way through the world. When it was nearly night he came to a wee, red house in the midst of a wood. In the doorway stood an old witch.

"May I sleep in your house all night, Goody?" asked the little boy.

"You may," said the witch.

So the little boy went into the house, and slept all night.

Early in the morning, the little boy awoke. The old witch sat by her table snoring. On the table lay his father's bag of gold.

The little boy seized the bag of gold, and ran out of the house as fast as ever he could. He ran, and ran until he came to a Meeting House.

"Little boy, little boy, come in and sweep me," said the Meeting House.

"Not I," said the little boy, and he ran the faster.

Soon he came to a Field.

"Little boy, little boy, come and weed me," said the Field.

"Not I," said the little boy, and he ran the faster.

Soon he came to a Well.

"Little boy, little boy, come and clean me," said the Well.

"Not I," said the little boy, and he ran, and ran until he came to a tree. And he sat down beneath the tree to count the gold.

But the old witch awoke, and she missed the gold. She ran after the little boy, and presently she came to the Meeting House.

"Have you seen a boy,

With a wig and a wag,

And a long leather bag?" said she.

"Yes," said the Meeting House, "a little boy passed by this way."

The old witch ran on and on, and she came to the Field.

"Have you seen a little boy,

With a wig and a wag,

And a long leather bag?" said she.

"Yes," said the Field, "a little boy passed by this way."

The old woman ran on and on, and she came to the Well.

"Have you seen a little boy,

With a wig and a wag,

And a long leather bag?" said she.

"Yes," said the Well, "the little boy sits under a tree." So the old witch came to the tree. She took the bag of gold away from the little boy, and he was obliged to go home without his fortune.

The next day the second little brother set out to seek his father's gold. He, too, went a long, long way, and he came to the wee, red house in the wood where the old witch lived.

"May I sleep here for the night, Goody?" asked the second little boy.

"You may," said the old witch.

So the second little brother went into the house, and slept all night.

Early in the morning he awoke. There sat the old witch, snoring, and her bag of gold lay on the table. The second little boy seized the bag, and ran out of the door.

He ran, and he ran until he came to the Meeting House.

"Little boy, little boy, sweep me," said the Meeting House.

"That I will gladly," said the little boy.

It was a very large Meeting House, but he set down his bag of gold, and swept it clean.

Then he ran on again, but soon he came to the Field.

"Little boy, little boy, weed me," said the Field.

It was a very large Field, but the little boy set down his bag of gold, and weeded it from corner to corner.

Then he ran and ran until he came to the Well.

"Little boy, little boy, clean me," said the Well.

"That I will," said the little boy, and though it was a very deep Well, he set down his bag of gold and cleaned it from top to bottom.

Then he ran until he came to a tree, and he sat down beneath it to count his fortune.

But the old witch soon missed her gold, and she followed after the second little boy. She came to the Meeting House.

"Have you seen a boy,

With a wig and a wag,

And a long leather bag?" said she.

The Meeting House said never a word, but threw stones at the old witch.

So the old witch hastened to the Field.

"Have you seen a boy,

With a wig and a wag,

And a long leather bag?" said she.

The Field said not a word, but it blew a cloud of dust in the old witch's eyes.

Then she hurried on until she came to the Well.

"Have you seen a boy,

With a wig and a wag,

And a long leather bag?" said she.

The Well said never a word, but threw a bucket of water in her face, so the old witch went home again.

And the second little boy took his bag of gold and went home, too, for he had found his fortune.


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