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

How They Brought Hairlock Home

O NCE upon a time, at the foot of a hill, there lived little Boots and his mother and their nanny goat, who was named Hairlock. Now Hairlock loved to run away over the hill to the mountain, and she could never be found when milking time came at night.

One day Boots was ready with his pail and his milking stool, and he called, "Hairlock, Hairlock, come home to Boots," but Hairlock did not come.

Then Boots's mother climbed to the top of the hill, and she looked, and she looked, and there she spied Hairlock on the top of a crag, a long way off.

"Naughty Hairlock," she cried, "come home to Boots. Boots, run to Reynard, the fox, and tell him to bite Hairlock."

So Boots ran to Reynard, the fox, and he said:—

"Good Reynard, bite my nanny goat, Hairlock, who stands on the top of yonder crag, and will not come home to be milked."

But Reynard said, "Not I, Boots; I'll not dull my teeth on old Hairlock's beard, for I hunt to-night. Another time, Boots, another time."

And Boots went back and told his mother what Reynard had said.

"Then go to Greylegs, the wolf, Boots," said his mother, "and tell him to bark at naughty Hairlock."

So Boots ran to Greylegs, the wolf, and he said:—

"Good Greylegs, bark at my nanny goat, Hairlock, who stands on the top of yonder crag, and will not come home to be milked."

But Greylegs said, "Some other time, Boots, some other time. The night is cold. I must stay at home and sleep and cover my cubs."

And Boots went back and told his mother what Greylegs had said.

"Then go to Bruin, the bear," said his mother, "and bid him chase naughty Hairlock."

So Boots ran to Bruin, the bear, and he said:—

"Good Bruin, chase my nanny goat, Hairlock, who stands on the top of yonder crag, and will not come home to be milked."

But Bruin said, "Ah, Boots, I am much too fat to chase Hairlock. Go to the fir tree and ask him to trap Hairlock."

So Boots ran to the fir tree, and he said:—

"Good Fir Tree, trap my nanny goat, Hairlock, who stands on the top of yonder crag, and will not come home to be milked."

But the fir tree only bent and swayed in the wind, and said, "Ask the woodcutter to fell me, Boots."

So Boots ran to the woodcutter, and he said:—

"Good Woodcutter, fell the fir tree, that he may trap my nanny goat, Hairlock, who stands at the top of yonder crag, and will not come home to be milked."

But the woodcutter said, "Ask the joiner if he will buy my wood, Boots."

So Boots went to the joiner, and he said:—

"Good Joiner, will you buy wood from the woodcutter, that he may fell the fir tree? Then the fir tree will trap my nanny goat, Hairlock, who stands at the top of yonder crag and will not come home to be milked."

"That I will, Boots," said the joiner.

Then the woodcutter felled the fir tree and gave the wood to the joiner. The joiner took the wood and made a strong yoke, which he gave to Boots.

Then Boots and his mother ran to the top of the crag and put the yoke on Hairlock.

And that is how they brought Hairlock home.


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