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

The Wee, Wee Man

O NCE upon a time, when all the big folks were wee folks, and it is so long a time since that you could never count the years, there lived a wee, wee man, and he had a huge, huge cow.

One morning very early out went the wee, wee man to milk his huge, huge cow, and to her he said:—

"Hold still, my cow, my pretty,

Hold still, my pretty, my cow,

And you shall have for dinner

A cake of milk white dough."

But the huge, huge cow would not stand still. She jumped and she danced and she kicked, tipping over the milking stool and spilling all the milk.

So the wee, wee man cried out in a loud voice:—

"Hold still, my cow, my dearie,

And fill my bucket with milk,

And if you are not contrary,

I'll give you a gown of silk."

But the huge, huge cow would not stand still.

"Now, look at that," said the wee, wee man.

"What is a wee, wee man to do,

With such a huge, huge cow as you?"

Then off he went to his grandmother's house, and to his grandmother he said:—

"Cow will not stand still. Wee, wee man cannot milk her."

"Take a stick and shake it at her," said his grandmother. So off went the wee, wee man to the hazel tree for a stick, and to the tree he said:—

"Break, stick, break,

And I'll give you a cake."

But the stick would not break, and the wee, wee man went back to his grandmother's house, saying:—

"Grandmother, grandmother, stick will not break. Huge, huge cow will not stand still. Wee, wee man cannot milk her."

"Then go to the butcher and bid him tie the cow," said his grandmother.

So off went the wee, wee man to the Butcher, and to the Butcher he said:—

"Butcher, tie the huge, huge cow.

She is good for naught for she dances now."

But the Butcher was just sweeping his shop, and he would not tie the cow, so the wee, wee man went back to his grandmother's house, saying:—

"Grandmother, grandmother, Butcher will not come. Stick will not break. Huge, huge cow will not stand still. Wee, wee man cannot milk her. What is wee, wee man to do?"

"I know not," said his grandmother, but just then along came a little girl with a cup in her hand.

"Please give me milk to make a cake," said the little girl, "my mother would bake to-day."

"Run," said the grandmother to the wee, wee man, "tell the huge, huge cow there's a pretty little lady with long yellow hair waiting for a cup of milk."

So the wee, wee man ran as fast as his wee, wee legs would carry him, and he said to the cow:—

"You'll not stand for the cake or the gown of silk.

Will you give pretty lady a cup of milk?"

"MOO, MOO," said the huge, huge cow in a huge, huge voice, "that I will."

So she stood very still, and neither jumped, nor danced, nor kicked over the milking stool; and that is how the wee, wee man milked his huge, huge cow after all.


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