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The elusive Margery Hart. For over two years I have struggled to find any information on this lady and all I have, apart from refernces to her book "Furry Folk and Faries." are these two very old references, both of them regarding Wedding Presents that were given to our present Queen Elizabeth and her husband Prince Phillip

First this from the Independant Newspaper." 1997
"The elaborately named Mrs C St Aubyn Ratcliffe thoughtfully sent two copies of her Furry Folk and Fairies, so the future Duke didn't have to read it over his wife's shoulder in the royal bedchamber." If this is the seudonym for Margery Hart, then we come to a dead end, for she was born to Constance Charlotte Rose Ricketts and Reverend Charles Edward Stuart Ratcliffe ·
Adeline Constance St. Aubyn Ratcliffe b. 25 Jan 1889; alias Margery Hart ?
And this next one from;

 Mrs. C. St. Aubyn, Ratcliffe (Margery Hart) Book, “Furry Folk and Fairies,” Two Editions, by the donor.

" http://rhmay.wordpress.com/2011/07/22/watajoy/ " Well worth a read, a very interesting article indeed.

And if that hasn't got you all wondering what I'm going to write, the just read on ....



Please enjoy some of her wonderful verses, which in many cases cover a whole story-line. I am sure you must have been a most wonderful relation to have, be her family or just close friend.





         Mother with baby I never could see the use of babies. We have one at our house that belongs to mother, and she thinks everything of it. I can't see anything wonderful about it. All it can do is to cry, and pull hair, and kick. It hasn't half the sense of my dog, and can't even chase a cat. Mother and Sue wouldn't have a dog in the house, but they are always going on about the baby, and saying: "Ain't it perfectly sweet?"

          The worst thing about a baby is, that you're expected to take care of him, and then you get scolded afterwards. Folks say: "Here, Jimmy, just hold the baby for a minute, there's a good boy"; and then as soon as you have got it, they say: "Don't do that! Just look at him! That boy will kill the child! Hold it up straight, you good for nothing little wretch!"

          It's pretty hard to do your best, and then be scolded for it; but that is the way boys are treated. Perhaps after I'm dead, folks will wish they had done differently.

          Last Saturday mother and Sue went out to make calls, and told me to stay at home and take care of the baby. There was a football match, but what did they care for that? They didn't want to go to it, and so it made no diference whether I went to it or not. They said they would be gone only a little while, and if the baby waked up I was to play with it, and keep it from crying, and "be sure and not let it swallow any pins." Of course I had to do it.

           The baby was sound asleep when they went out; so I left it for just a few minutes, while I went to see if there was any pie left in the pantry. ( Hm, if I was a woman, I wouldn't be so dreadfully suspicious as to keep everything locked up in the pantry! )

          When I got back upstairs again, the baby was awake and howling like she was full of pins. So I gave her the first thing that came to hand, to keep her quiet. It just happened to be a bottle of French polish, one of them with a sponge on the end of a wire, the sort Sue uses to black her boots, because girls are too lazy to use a regularJimmy brush and polish.

          But it didn the job for the baby stopped crying as soon as I gave her the bottle, and I sat down to read my comic. The next time I looked at her, she'd got out the sponge and about half of her face was jet black. This was a nice fix, for I knew nothing could get the black off her face, and guarenteed when mother came back she would say the baby was spoiled, and that I was responsible. Now as I think an all black baby would be much more stylish than an all white baby, and when I saw that she was half black already, I made up my mind  that if I blacked it all over it would be worth more than it had ever been, and perhaps mother would be ever so much pleased. So I hurried up and gave it a good coat of black.

          Black boot polishYou should have seen how that baby shined! The polish dried as soon as it was put on, and I had just time to get baby dressed again, when mother and Sue came in.  

  I would lower myself to repeat their unkind remarks. When you've been called a murdering little villain, and an unnatural son, it will rankle in your heart for ages. After what they had said to me I didn't seem to mind father, and went upstairs with him almost as if I was going to bed, or maybe something that didn't hurt so much.

         "The baby is beautiful, and shiny, though the doctors say it will wear off in a few years. Nobody shows any gratitude for all the trouble I took, I can tell you it isn't easy to black a baby without geting it into her eyes and hair. In fact I sometimes think it is hardly worth while to live in this cold and unfeeling world."

Unfortunately we do not have the poets name.

apart from this little message about Heidi and the author.
There is also a wonderful picture and song video list to start off the new Gold and Silver, Web Page

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HeidiThere is another beautiful story that of Heidi. It was the most successful and best-known "literary" child of that most famous Swiss author, Johanna Spyri.
In the eleven years since Heidi first appeared, her presence has continued to shine as a significant life force. Heidi has been translated into about 50 languages and printed in an equivalent number of millions of copies. Heidi has appeared in print, in film, and on television all over the world. She has maintained her character despite the changing styles of children's books today. The pointed pens and pencils of her critics, and even the generosity of her closest admirers. How can such a phenomenon occur?

First of all there is the force of the fable itself, coherent and at the same time so simple, that every child can "see the light". Moreover there is a certain dependable differentiation among the personalities that appear in the story: genuine, loveable, humorous, and completely natural Heidi; clumsy Peter ("close to being a fool, but not quite", as C. F. Meyer observed); grumpy, patriarchal, strict but ever so kind Alm-Uncle (Alpöhi); blind, pitiable Grandmother; rich but at the same time poor, crippled Klara; stupid, hard-hearted Fräulein Rottenmeier; smart, loving Grandma; the friendly, understanding doctor. In all these cases it's clear what kind of people these characters are.

Doesthis paint too much of a "black and white" picture? In a certain sense, yes, but the story is depicted in such beautiful fashion that it helps the reader imagine events all the more colourfully. Is there a simplistic separation of Good and Evil? That may be true too, but this should not be considered alone - and in general this is the appeal of most fairy stories that comprise the most beautiful treasure of all folk literatures. Does it have an unrealistic "happy ending" in a world that is anything but happy? Partly, yes, but we don't want to begrudge our children this small joy - they will learn about the other side of life soon enough.

Heidi with her Grandfather. And how was this all interpreted when it first appeared? At the time, the story of Heidi must have seem quite revolutionary. Someone actually dared to understand the world from a child's perspective, rather than, as usual, that of an adult! With the story of Heidi, Johanna Spyri gave children the opportunity to return to their natural world rather than forcing them to act like dolls that are forced to dress and act like adults. To put it another way, Johanna Spyri was a pioneer in the field of youth literature, celebrating the value of children as children in a way that is still relevant today.

But isn't Heidi just a little too good, too pious, too religious? Well, whoever denies any possibility of the existence of wonders and the power of faith can't be helped much anyway. Looking at things from another perspective, isn't the challenge in today's world not to lose faith entirely in things that represent goodness, truth, and beauty?

However you look at it, Heidi speaks to us with the voice of love - and we shouldn't tire of listening to her. A child moves the world and is able to bring about positive changes among mankind - isn't that a complete education programme in itself? 

Jürg Winkler      


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Once you see it,     you can’t unsee it.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron



Little Creek of the Lacota Tribe
Sleeping Beauty, surely that is a story, a fairy tale ? or Pantomime! But did you know that it was a wonderful poem as well. This was no ordinary poet, this was written by the Poet Laureate "Alfred, Lord Tennyson" It is really lovely don't you think?

Sleeping Beauty

     Year after year unto her feet,
She lying n her couch alone,
Across the purple coverlet
The maiden's jet-black hair has grown,
On either side her trancèd form
Forth streaming from a braid of pearl :
The slumberous light is rich and warm,
And moves not on the rounded curl.

The silk star-broider'd coverlid
Unto her limbs itself doth mould
Languidly ever; and, amid
Her full black ringlets downward roll'd,
Glows forth each softly-shadow'd arm
With bracelets of the diamond bright :
Her constant beauty doth inform
Stillness with love, and day with light.

The fairy Prince with joyful eyesShe sleeps : her breathings are not heard
In palace chambers far apart
The fragrant tresses are not stirr'd
That lie upon her charmèd heart.
She sleeps : on either hand upswells
The gold- fringed pillow lightly prest :
She sleeps, nor dreams, but ever dwells
A perfect form in perfect rest.

All precious things, discover'd late,
To those that seek them issue forth;
For love in sequel works with fate,
And draws the veil from hidden worth.
He travels far from other skies -
His mantle glitters on the rocks -
A fairy Prince, with joyful eyes,
And lighter-footed than the fox.

He comes, scarce knowing what he seeks :
He breaks the hedge : he enters there :
The colour flies into his cheeks :
He trusts to light on something fair;
For all his life the charm did talk
About his path, and hover near
With words of promise in his walk,
And whisper'd voices at his ear.

More close and close his footsteps wind :
The Magic Music in his heart
Beats quick and quicker, till he find

The quiet chamber far apart.
His spirit flutters like a lark,
He stoop - to kiss her - on his knee.
"Love, if hey tresses be so dark,
How dark those hidden eyes must be !" 

A touch, a kiss! the charm was snapt.
There rose a noise of  striking clocks,
And feet that ran, and doors that clapt,
And barking dogs, and crowing cocks;
A fuller light illumined all,
A breeze thro' all the garden swept,
A sudden hubbub shook the hall,
 And sixty feet the fountain leapt.

The hedge broke in, the banner blew,
The butler drank, the steward scrawl'd
The fire shot up, the martin flew,
The parrot scream'd, the peacock squalle
The page and maid renewed their strife,
The palace bang'd, and buzz'd and clackt,
And all the long-spent stream of life
Dash'd downward in a cataract.

Everyone is waking up

At last with these the king awoke,
And in his chair himself uprear'd
And yawn'd, rubb'd his face and spoke,
"By holy rood, a royal beard!
How say you? We have slept, my lords.
My beard has grown into my lap."
The barons swore, with many words,
"Twas but an after-dinner nap.

The happy princess followed him

And on her lover's arm she leant,

And round her waist she felt it fold,
And far across the fields they went

In that new world which is the old :
Across the hills and far away.
Beyond their utmost purple rim,
And deep into the dying day
The happy Princess followe'd him.

"A hundred summers ! can it be?

And whither goest thou, tell me where?"
"O seek my father's court with me,

For there are greatest wonders there."
And o'er the hills, and far away
Beyond their utmost purple rim,
Beyond the net, across the day,
Thro all the world she follow'd him.

                                 Across the hills, and far away.                                  

I think my favourite verse is the one were the king awakes and finds his beard has grown almost to his lap, I have left the spelling and grammer as it was in the book." Thankyou My Lord Tennyson, you were rather good."

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This story is copied from Volume 8 of Arthur Mee's Children's Encyclopaedia,
 may I take this opportunity to mention to all you parents out there.
If you ever find a copy of any of Arthur Mee's wonderful books, do buy it. Charity shops and car boot sales are an excellent source for finding fantastic books like this.
They may be old and a lot of things have been replaced by more modern ones.
But if you want Nursery Rhymes and Poems, History, so many, many things.


Twelve o'clock strikes. Clouds are flying across the Moon, but sometimes she shines clear on the castle, Presently a short figure leaves the shadow  of the walls and hurries into the cover of some bushes.
        Who was it skulking along in the gloom ? A dwarf ? A spy ? What is happening ? 
That pile of stone is Redbraes Castle, and this is Scotland in 1678. The land is full of fugitives, of plots and traitors. Have you forgotten how, the reformation, Scotsmen bound themselves by a Covenant to resist Popery and foster the Protestant faith? When Charles the Second was allowed to return from exile he signed the Covernant, and signed it again on his coronation. But now that he is in is secure in power he has denounced the Covenanter's, and sends soldiers to hunt them to their death like wild beasts.

        And that little slinking figure? It is a girl age thirteen called Grizel Hume. That great castle is her father's, but she goes in mortal terror. Suppose she met a soldier, a tinker, a poacher, who would spy on her, and take blood money for betraying her secret ? The little girl's knees tremble, and her heart beats so loudly that she thinks it can be heard a mile off. She carries a little bungle of cold, greasy food, smuggled from her plate during meal time. It was terrible when one of the little ones cried: "Oh greedy Grizel! She has eaten all her meat already."
    She and her mother exchanged horror-stricken glances; some words of reproof was said. Did the servants notice?
      What was that ? She stands stock still, unable to breathe. Again the noise behind the hedge. Then a cat slips through and runs across the road, a wing dangling from her mouth. Grizel wants to laugh out loud in her relief, but she steals on in silence. How long and open the way seems each night ! But she must not think of that. Why, she did something far more difficult a year ago.
       Robert Baillie lay in Edinburgh prison, innocent but doomed. Sir Patrick Hume had an important message for him, yet to go to Edinburgh was to fall into the soldiers' hands.
So 12 year old Grizel was sent, for who would suspect her ? Who would guess that she had taken part in the struggle for free conscience since she was 10 years old, or think her capable of taking part in a perilous plot ?
       She was frightened then, as she was now, but did she not slip into the cell behind the warder and crouch in the dark corner safely after all ? Once more she saw the astonished faces of Baillie and the little boy who shared her father's imprisonment. Ah! where were they now ? The soldiers had dragged Baillie, dying and in his night clothes, to the scaffold, where he was hanged and quartered. If they caught her father - but no, they should not. She had got safely out of Edinburgh prison, and she would somehow carry this through, also.
      Oh, they are sad times ! She wonders if one day a time will come when every man may hold his true opinion unpunished, and no children watch for the soldiers who will drag their father out to death. How happy such children will be - if they remember !
      Now a spire rises out of the trees, and gravestones shine in the moonlight. Everything is very still apart from a whimpering wind. Grizel stops, checks her panting and waits for a cloud. As soon as the moon is veiled she darts across the churchyard, picking her way neatly among the graves and then cowering against the church door, slowly, cautiously, opens it. She is safely inside. A glance about the empty place and tiptoes across the aisle.
      She is hidden in the shadow; now she is vanished. Where has she gone?
   Grizel has crept into the family vault. Something stirs in the darkness, and a voice whispers her name. Fumbling hands find her, and her eyes and her arms are clasped round someone's neck.
      "Father," she breathes. "How are you ? Not chilled to much I hope, you must be famished? Look, here is your poor food."
      As he eats Grizel sits in the cold darkness and whispers cheerfully. The soldiers are still here. Again today they searched every nook and cranny of Redbraes. But they will go, and the evil times will pass, and right will triump ! She tells him of the children's quaint sayings, gives him news of the estate, and discusses various plans for his escape.
      As last she kisses him goodbye till tomorrow night; then leaving him with the ancestors whose honour he keeps untarnished at so dreadful a price, she begins her return journey.
                                           *                        *                        *                         *

      Some years have passed; and we are in the parlour of a small Dutch house. A very beautiful girl is patching a coat while she hears her brothers lessons. Her own faded dress is darned at the elbows, but she rises with the air of a great lady when a visitor comes in.
      The stranger is a tall, handsome youth who wears a cavalier- like finery of the Prince of Orange's Guards. As she salutes her the girl says:
       "My father and mother are out walking, sir. I am sorry. Can I in some way serve you?"
To her surprise the youth answers with a Scottish accent: "I am heartily sorry too, mistress. I came to pay my humble duty to Sir Patrick, who was my father's  friend. Will you tell him ? My name is George Baillie."
      The girl starts, glows and exclaims: "Sir this is not our first meeting !
      Then the youth cries: "I remember! The dungeon in Edinburgh ! "
They sit and talk of their fathers. Sometimes they are sad and wrathful, but they never regret all they have lost in a great cause. She tells him how, after his father's death his executioners hunted  down Sir Patrick; how he hid in the in the family vault; how afterwards she and one other scrapped a hole in the earthen cellar floor at Redbraes, as he lay there; how at last he escaped to Holland; how his possessions were all seized, how she and her mother went to London; begging for enough to live on, and got a hundred and fifty pounds; how the family suceeded in getting to Holland, all but one girl, and how Grizel returned to Scotland to rescue her. Now they were bitterly poor, but they were all united and all free.
      In the midst of such talk Sir Patrick returns, and when he knows the guardsman's name cries out: " No one could be more welcome to me !"
  The years of poverty and exile go peacefully by. Grizel and George love one another, and even if
they have little hope of marriage, they are content not to ask too much good fortune of life. Then her father is safe, they are betrothed and that is enough.
Her heroism and beauty make Grizel's story read like a romantic fairy tale, nevertheless it is the truth, even to the happy ever after because....
        Let us return to Scotland. It is fourteen years since we saw Grizel steal out in the moonlight. Now the sun shines on banners and flowers, scarves and feathers, sleek horses and painted harness, as a procession sets out for the church where the bells are pealing loud enough to crack themselves. Charles and James have gone: the Prince of Orange is King of England, and Sir Patrick Hume is nnow Earl of Marchmont, Lord Chancellor of Scotland. At his side rides Lady Grizel, the most courted beauty in two countries. But her bridal white today is for no brilliant wedding; in the Church it is only George Baillie who waits for her.
                         And so we can all say "And they both lived happily ever after."

Lady Grizel Baillie Biography

Lady Grizel Baillie (1665—1746) was a Scottish song-writer, the eldest daughter of Sir Patrick Hume or Home of Polwarth, afterwards earl of Marchmont. She was born at Redbraes Castle, Berwickshire, on December 25 1665.

When she was twelve years old she carried letters from her father to the Scottish patriot, Robert Baillie of Jerviswood, who was then in prison. Home's friendship for Baillie made him a suspected man, and the king's troops occupied Redbraes Castle. He remained in hiding for some time in a churchyard, where his daughter kept him supplied with food, but on hearing of the execution of Baillie (1684) he fled to the United Provinces, where his family soon after joined him. They returned to Scotland at the Revolution.

Lady Grizel married in 1692 George Baillie, son of the patriot. She died on December 6 1746. She had two daughters, Grizel, who married Sir Alexander Murray of Stanhope, and Rachel, Lady, Binning. Lady Murray had in her possession a manuscript of her mother's in prose and verse. Some of the songs had been printed in Allan Ramsay's Tea-Table Miscellany. "And werena my heart light I wad dee," the most famous of Lady Grizel's songs, originally appeared in Orpheus Caledonius (1725).

Jacob Grimm the older brother by a yearWilhelm Grimm, although younger he passed away a few years before Jacob

                         I have just changed the Video clips.
I thought being as we're in story-land we better have some

Brothers Grimm

The House in the Wood
from Grimms' Fairy Tales

There was a poor wood-cutter who lived with his wife and three young daughters in a little hut on the edge of a large forest. Sometimes, when he was cutting down the trees near his cottage the girls would take him his dinner, and gather up small branches, make them into faggots before dragging them home. The children thought it was great fun; but very often he had to work further inside the forest, sometimes even at the other side, then his wife would wrap up his dinner in a cloth and he carried it with him to eat at noon-day.
The Wood-cutter did not earn high wages, so his family were very poor. But the simple food and the fresh air made the girls strong and healthy, and they grew up to be young women and able to help there parents more and more.
One morning  when he was going to his usual work, he said to his wife, 'Let our eldest daughter bring me my lunch into the wood; and so that she shall not lose her way, I will take a bag of millet with me, and sprinkle the seed on the path.'
So when the sun had risen high over the forest, the girl set out with a jug of soup. But the field and wood sparrows, the larks and finches, blackbirds and green finches had picked up the millet many hours earlier and the girl could not find her way anywhere.

She went on and on, till the sun set and night clouds crossed the sky came on. The trees rustled in the darkness, the owls hooted, and she began to be very, very frightened. Then she saw in the distance a light that twinkled between the trees. There must be people living yonder,' she thought, 'who will take me in for the night,' and she began walking towards it.

She knocked at the door, and a gruff voice called, 'Come in!'

She opened the door and there, sitting at the table was an old man. His face was buried in his hands and his white beard was flowing down over the table and onto the ground.

On the hearth lay three animals, a hen, a cock, and a brindled cow. The girl told the old man her story, and asked would it be possible for her to stay the night

The man turned to the creatures and said:- 

Pretty Hen. Pretty Cock. And you, pretty brindled Cow. What do you say now?

'Cluck! answered the animals; and that must have meant, "We are happy with that"  for the old man said, "alright there is food in abundance, go into the back kitchen and cook us a supper."

The girl found plenty of food in the kitchen, and cooked them a good meal, but thought nothing about the animals.

She placed the full dishes on the table, sat down opposite the gray-haired man, and ate till her hunger was appeased. The when she had ate her full she said. Tell me where I can sleep for I am tired?"

This time the animals answered:

"You have eaten with him. You have drunk with him. And of us you have not thought of us;  Still you may sleep the night here."

Then the old man said, 'Go upstairs, and there you will find a bedroom containing two beds; shake the feather beds and put clean sheets on, and I will come shortly to see if you are sleeping.'

The maiden went upstairs, and when she had made the bed, she lay down and went fast asleep.

After some time the gray-haired man came, looked at her by the light of his candle, and shook his head. He saw that she was sound asleep, then he opened a trap-door and let her fall into the cellar.

The woodcutter meanwhile came home late in the evening, and shouted at his wife for leaving him all day without food.

'No, I did not,' she answered; 'the girl went off with your dinner. She must have lost her way, but no doubt she will come back to-morrow.'

At daybreak the following day, the woodcutter started off into the wood, and this time asked his second daughter to bring his food. 'I will take a bag of peas with me , they are larger than the seed so she will see them better then she will surely find her way.'

So at midday the wood-cutters second daughter set out through the forest with her father's dinner. But the peas were all gone; for as on the previous day, the wood birds had eaten them all.

The maiden wandered about the wood till nightfall, searching everywhere for her father,  and by chance she happened on the same  house as her sister. Once again the Old Man asked for the sister to come in.

"Could you give me food and lodgings" said the maiden. Again the man with the white hair again asked the animals:-

"Pretty Cock. Pretty Hen, and you, pretty brindled Cow, What do you say now?"

The animals answered, 'Cluck,' and everything went on to happen as it did the day before.

The girl cooked a good meal, ate and drank with the old man, and did not trouble herself about the animals at all.

And when she asked for a bed, they replied:

You have eaten with him You have drunk with him, and of us you have not thought, so now sleep as you ought!

And when she was asleep, the old man shook his head over her, and let her fall into the cellar as well.

On the third morning the woodcutter said to his wife, 'Send our youngest child to-day with my dinner. She is always good and obedient, and will keep to the right path, and not wander away like her sisters, the idle hussies!'

But the mother said, 'Oh husband must I lose my dearest child too?'

'Do not fear,' he answered; 'she is too clever and intelligent to lose her way. I will take plenty of beans with me and strew them along; they are even larger than peas, and will easily show her the way.'

But when the maiden started off with the basket on her arm, the wood pigeons had eaten up the beans, and she did not know which way to go. She was much distressed, and thought constantly of her poor hungry father and her anxious mother.

Soon it began to grow dark and then as her sisters before her she came upon the Old Man in the House in the Wood. She asked very politely if she might stay there for the night, and the man with the white beard asked his animals again:

"Pretty Cock. Pretty Hen, and you, pretty brindled cow, What do you say now?"

'Clucks,' they said.

Then the young maiden stepped up to the hearth where the animals were lying, and stroked the cock and the hen, and scratched the brindled cow between its horns.

And when at the bidding of the old man she had prepared a good supper, and the dishes were standing on the table, she said, 'Shall I have plenty while the good beasts have nothing? There is food to spare outside; I will attend to them first.'

Then she went out and fetched barley and strewed it before the cock and hen, and brought the cow an armful of sweet-smelling hay.

'Eat that, dear animals,' she said,' and after when you are thirsty you shall have a good drink of sparkling water from the well.'

Then she fetched a bowl of water, and the cock and hen flew on to the edge, put their beaks in, and then held up their heads as birds do when they drink, and the brindled cow also drank her fill. When the animals were satisfied, the maiden sat down beside the old man at the table and ate what was left for her.

Soon the cock and hen began to tuck their heads under their wings, and the brindled cow blinked its eyes, so the maiden said,  'Shall we not also take our rest now?'

And the old man asked as before:-

"Pretty cock, Pretty hen, And you, pretty brindled cow, What do you say now?"

The animals said, 'Cluck, cluck." :- You have eaten with us, You have drunk with us, You have tended us right, So we wish you a good nights rest.'

The maiden therefore went upstairs, shook up the feather beds and put on clean sheets. The old man came up and lay down on his bed. The girl lay down on the other bed after saying her prayers and fell fast asleep till  midnight when there was such a noise in the house that she awoke. 

The house was cracking and rumbling, every room seemed to be shaking. The doors banged and slammed against the walls and the beams groaned as if they were being torn away from their fastenings, even the stairs fell down, it even felt as though the roof had collapsed upon them. Then as it began so the noise stopped and the maiden settled down to sleep again.

It was the sunlight shining through the window that woke her up, and what a sight met her eyes! She was lying in a chamber, that looked like the inside of a palace. Gold flowers on green silk decorated the walls. Her bed was of Ivory and the curtains of red velvet, and placed on a stool next to her bed were a pair of slippers covered with pearls.

At first she thought it must all be a dream, but then through the door came three servants dressed in rich clothes who wanted to know what she would like them them to do. "Oh dear me, no " she said. "I shall get up and cook some breakfast for the old man and also some food for the Pretty Hen, Pretty Cock and the brindled Cow. Then she turned towards the bed where the old man was sleeping and in the bed was a stranger. She walked over to the bed and stared down at the handsome young man, who opened his eyes, and without more ado he began to relate to her his story.

He story was that he was really the son of a king who had been bewitched as a young man by an evil witch, who for some reason changed him into the form of an old man, and condemning him to  live in the house in the wood, with only three of his servants who were changed into a hen, a cock and a brindled cow. And there they were to remain until the day a young maiden who would be as kind to his animals as they were to him, Then the spell would be broken and he would be turned back into the prince and the house back into a royal palace.

Full of happiness and love for the maiden he asked the servants to go and fetch her mother and father to witness their marriage.

"But what has become of my two sisters? she asked. "Where are they?"

I'm afraid they are locked in the cellar and there they shall remain until they can be placed as servants to a collier who will teach them that looking after animals is just as important as looking after themselves and never to let poor animals suffer hunger again.


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           Little Bright One


Little bright one, you shed your light all around.

Little bright one, your laughter lightens my heart.

Little bright one, your hand is tiny in mine.

Little bright one, your smile is full of gold.


Little dark one, the dew of spring is moist upon your eye-lashes.

Little dark one, the bloom of summer is sweet upon your skin.

Little dark one, the scent of autumn is fragrant in your hair.

Little dark one, winter has not yet touched you.


Precious child, there is a magic key hidden beneath a white pebble.

Precious child, there is a special place where rainbows gather.

Precious child, the river and stars are dreaming in your speech.

Precious child, what shining god holds you in his arms while you sleep?


Little bright one, you shed your light all around

Little dark one, your laughter lightens my heart.

Precious child, your hand is tiny in mine.

Little one, your child is full of gold


September in Spring


A September day in Spring,

fresh green onions on the wind -

the smell of mint in lilac trees,

pop-corn on the sultry breeze.


The waves of an ocean like calamine lotion,

butterflies singing poems to Nodens -

a temple of sugary violets at dawn,

a salmon in shades, a talkative prawn.


Chessmen that dance or pariently stray

in cornfields that linger a year and a day,

scarecrows that chatter of things long since dead -

a collection of beetles under my bed.


The feathery snow of high July,

four and twenty tax-collectors baked in a pie.

A fistful of moons,

a bullfinch that cries,

a swordfish called Arthur,

a handbag of sky.


The fogs of mid August,

the hailstones of May,

a glass of pink milk,

a sandwich of hay;

a unicorns horn covered in jelly,

a sleek black cat, whose name is Nellie.


A bike inscribed with mystic runes,

a harp that doesn't play any tunes,

a cricket match without the stumps,

an elephant whose got the mumps.


The blue moon of January,

the gales of sweet June

a cold beaker of cornflakes,

a hobgoblin `s prune


A September day in Spring,

fresh green onions on the wind -

the smell of mint on tooth-paste trees,

spaghetti floating on the sultry breeze


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Don't forget to sing along if there are any songs

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An old woman was sweeping her house, and she found a crooked sixpence.
"What," she said, "shall I do with this little sixpence?
I know I shall go to the market and buy a little pig."
As she was coming home she came to a stile.
The piggy would not go over the stile.
She went a little farther, and she met a dog, so she said to the dog:Labradour Dog

"Dog, dog, bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the dog would not.
She went a little farther, and she met a stick. So she said.

"Stick, stick, beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
stickBut the stick would not.

She went a little farther, and she met a fire. So she said.
"Fire, fire, burn stick;fire
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the fire would not.

She went a little farther, and she met some water. So she said:
"Water, water, quench fire;water
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But water would not.

She went a little farther, and she met an ox. So she said:
"Ox, ox, drink water;
Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dot;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the ox would not.

butcherShe went a little farther, and she met a butcher. So she said:
"Butcher, butcher, kill ox;
Ox won't drink water;
Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dot;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the butcher would not.

She went a little farther, and she met a rope. So she said:
Rope, rope" hang butcher;
Butcher won't kill ox.
RopeOx won't drink water;
Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dot;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the rope would not.

She went a little farther, and she met a rat. So she said:
Rat, rat gnaw rope;RAT!
Rope,won't hang butcher;
Butcher won't kill ox.
Ox won't drink water;

Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dot;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the rat would not.

She went a little farther, and she met a cat. So she said:
Cat, cat, kill rat
Rat, won't gnaw rope;

Rope,won't hang butcher;
Butcher won't kill ox.
Ox won't drink water;

Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dot;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the cat said to her,
"If you will go to yonder cow,
and fetch me a saucer of milk,
I will kill the rat."

So away went the old woman to the cow and she said:
CowCow, cow, give me a saucer of milk;
Cat won't kill rat;
Rat, won't gnaw rope;

Rope,won't hang butcher;
Butcher won't kill ox.
Ox won't drink water;

Water won't quench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
Stick won't beat dot;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!"
But the cow said to her,
"If you will go to yonder haymakers,
and fetch me a wisp of hay,
I'll give you the milk."

So away went the old woman to the haymakers, and said:
"Haymaker, give me a wisp of hay;
Cow won't give milk;
Cat won't kill rat;
Rat won't gnaw rope;
Rope won't hang butcher;
Butcher won't kill ox;
Ox won't drink water;
Water won't drench fire;
Fire won't burn stick;
stick won't beat dog;
Dog won't bite pig;
Piggy won't get over the stile,
And I shan't get home tonight!
But the haymaker said to her,
"If you will go to yonder stream,
and fetch us a bucket of water,
 we'll give you the hay."

So away the old woman went but when she got to the stream she found the bucket was full of holes.
So she covered the bottom of the bucket with pebbles and then filled the bucket with water, and she went back with it to the haymakers, and they gave her a wisp of hay.
As soon as the cow had eaten the hay, she gave the old woman the milk; and away she went with it in a saucer to the cat.

piggy ges home crying cos the dog bit himAs soon as the cat had lapped up the milk:
The cat began to kill the rat;
The rat began to gnaw the rope;
The rope began to hang the butcher;
The butcher began to kill the ox;
The ox began to drink the water;
The water began to quench the fire;
The fire began to burn the stick;
The stick began to beat the dog;
The dog began to bite the pig;
The little pig in a fright jumped over the stile;

"So the old lady did get home that night!"

"Phew and if that wasn't one of the longest rymes I have ever wrote out, or read... I will eat my hat.  I am going to have to make a cup of tea now to recouperate."
The romantic story of Robin Hood is told in many different story books, in many different ways, written, sung, in film and DVD, and his character has been played in films by so many different people. Remember Kevin Costner in Prince of Thieves. And what about Errol Flynn (Errol who?) exactly, the amazing Richard Greene made a wonderful series which seemed to last forever on the Television, many, many years ago. Ask mummy or Daddy all about it. Smile Brilliant.
     And now we have a different version for you written about a hundred years ago, ~ by a story teller.

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     One day , when Richard Coeur de Lion was King of England, there walked in this beautiful  green forest of Sherwood a handsome youth and a beautiful maid who were lover's plighted to be wed. The youth was Robert, son of the Earl of  Huntingdon; the maid was Marian, daughter of the Earl of Fitzwalter. They both loved the Greenwood; they both shot exceedingly well with a bow ; and the maid was as swift to mount and ride a  horse as was the youth at her side.
      As they walked hand in hand down the green glades of the forest R
obert spoke of the merry days that lay ahead of them, and Marian laughed  to think of the great joy that  was coming to her. They were happy lovers, a boy and girl who thought of life as a delightful ballad.
      But then a little thing happened. The king was in Palastine, and his wretched brother, John Lackland, ruled the kingdom. To get money and
curry favour with the Normans this miserable man made war upon the rich English Nobles, and among those whom he destroyed and ruined was the Earl of Huntingdon. Poor, braven happy Robert saw in a single day his father killed, his home destroyed, his estates seized, and himself made an outlaw.
     He  escaped from the soldiers of John, and, plunging into the thick forest of Sherwood, threw himself down on the green eart and wept  for the ruin that had so overtaken him.
     When morning came he took councel of himself, and planned how he should live his life. The night in the open air had been sweet to him; he drew the scented cool air into his lungs, felt the glory of the daybreak caress him, and saw that the greenwood was a fair world.
     "Since John has made an outlaw of me," he said, "I will take this forest for my estate, and feed upon the kings venison, and call myself Robin of the Sherwood."
      He wrote a sad letter to Maid Marian telling her of his misfortunes, and setting her free of her vow, as he could not ask a great lady to share his outlaw's life in the forest.
     It cost him many a sigh to send this letter, but his loneliness in the greenwood, which made it so hard for him to give up his lady ove, was
soon broken by a delightful interruption.
Brave men who had served with his father the Earl came into the forest with their bows and arrows, and swore that they would spend their days with Robin. They refused to live under the Normans; they would become outlaws, they said ~ free, merry men of the greenwood, and Robin should be their king. And they lived in the forest near Nottingham, which town Robin sometimes visited in disguise.

       Thus it happened that Robin became chief of a band of stout Englishmen who feared no danger, courted adventure, and loved to have fun. It wasn't long till they had everything planned out.
In those days, when roads were hard to find, many people travelled on horseback, and many a plump abbot and covetous merchants went past the forest with their saddle bags stuffed with gold. Robin declared that he saw no harm in relieving these people of their baggage, as they only lived to rob the poor; he would treat them with kindness, he said, but he would help himself to their money. As for the poor and needy, no man of his must lay a finger upon them; nay, out of the spoil taken from the rich, they must help these poor people, and do their best to make them glad and happy.

       Once Robin played an amusing trick on a tinker who said he had the king's warrant to arrest the famous outlaw. Robin told him he would find him in Nottingham, and offered to help him. When they came to the town he gave him so much ale that he fell asleep, and Robin walked off and left the tinker to pay the bill at the inn.
         In this way, Robin lived cheerfully. His spread through all the country. People who he stopped and robbed told strange stories about how they had been carried far into the forest, treated  to a feast worthy of a K, and after "paying for their entertainment" had been led pleasantly forth and set upon the road again.
       They told of the way Robin had dressed his men in suits of Lincoln Green; and how these cheerful fellows sang the old English ballads and made great sport with the bow; and how there was one of their members seven feet high called Little John, and another, a very small and squat man named Much, and a jovial fat priest named Friar Tuck; and how Robert was now called not, Robin of Sherwood but Robin Hood, and like a king amongst his merry men. No wonder then, that as these stories spread about the world the Sheriff of Nottingham felt that he nust catch Master Robin, and hang him for a rascally  outlaw  was not fit to live.

        The outlaws however ran great risks, and Little John even became a servant in the house of the sheriff himself, where he played several tricks on a greedy old butler, finally knocking him over and running into the forest with the silver plate belonging to the  Sheriff.
Sometime after the outlaws ventured into the town again to compete in an archery contest held by the sheriff for a silver arrow. Robin won the prize but the sheriff tried to arrest him and in the fight that followed, Little John was wounded and it was with a lot of dificulty that they got away, with Little Much bearing Little John on his back. They made it safely but arrived at the camp much later.
         Another time when Robin Hood was riding through the forest. A
young Knight challenged him to a fight, They fought together and Robin wounded the knight. Kneeling at his side he took off his helmet and was very surprised to see it was Maid Marian. Robin would have cried with grief for wounding his beloved but when he saw the wound was not so deep, and that Marian had come in a disguise in search of her lover, he was glad and he embraced her most tenderly. and led her back to the Trysting Tree. Here here blew on his horn to summons the men. They came from every part of the forest, and when they heard the story they offered their obedience to Maid Marian as their Queen, and Friar Tuck came rolling up with his book under his arm and married Robin to Maid Marian, there in the Glades in the forest.
       One day Robin stopped an unhappy youth named Allan-a-Dale, and learned that, after waiting long for the beautiful woman who loved him, her miserly old father had promised her in marriage to an ancient, hidious, but rich man, old enough to be her grandfather. The marriage was to take place on the morrow and poor Allan-a-Dale was heart-broken.
Robin bade him cheer up, and on the morrow he set off for the church, and his merry men following behind. In the midst of the ceremony he stopped the Bishop of Hereford, who was reading the service, and , blowing his horn, summond all his merry men, with Allan-a-Dale and Friar Tuck in their midst.
"This bridegroom is to old," said Robin Hood;  then addressing the bride he said, "Lady, look around and see if you can find a better choice for groom." Well of cause she chose Allan~a~Dale, and Friar Tuck married them there and then.
       On another occasion he  exchanged clothes with a potter, and took his cart-load of pots and sold them in the market-place at Nottingham; and yet on another occasion he stopped a butcher who was riding with panniers of meat into the market, and changing clothes with him. and set out for the town where lived the sheriff who had sworn to lay him by the heels. The streets were crowded, and everyone was amazed when Robin started selling his best beef at only two pence a pound. The sheriff heard of this strange younge butcher and his doings, and at the market feast bade him sit at his side.
"I shall get money out of such a simpleton" thought the sheriff who was a miser, and asked Robin if he had a big farm.
"Hundreds of Acres," answered Robin smiling to himself.
"And much cattle?"
"Hundreds and hundreds of the finest horned cattle."
"Shush do not speak so loud," mumbled the old sheriff; "But tell me how much would you take for your acres and cattle."
"Three hundred pounds," said Robin.
The sheriff arranged to ride out very early the next morning with this very silly young butcher, and the rode until they reached Sherwood Forest.
"A bad man lives here," said the sheriff. "Do you think we shall meet him? Robin Hood is his name."
"Oh I'm sure we shall not!" answered Robin laughing.
Just then a hundred head of good fat deer passed in front of them. "There go my horned cattle," laughed Robin. "What do you think of them? Are they not good."
       The poor sheriff rode back to Nottingham late that night with no farm, no horned cattle, and without the three hundred Pounds which he had brought with him for their purchase from the simple butcher.

       Another of Robins enemies war the Bishop of Hereford, who had never forgiven Robin for the interference in Allan-a-Dale's marriage. He came riding into Sherwood Forest one bright summer day with a company of soldiers, carrying money to a distant monestry. He hoped to capture Robin on his way, and take him to the sheriff in Nottingham. As luck would have it Robin was strolling alone about the forest that day, listening to the blackbirds and thrushes and enjoying the smells of the briar rose and bracken. Before he knew it the Bishops men were charging down on him. Robin took to his heels. He dodged behind trees, crept along ditches, and ran down the narrowest glades. The horses and the soldiers tripped and stumbled, throwing their riders to the ground. Robin ran hard till he reached the cottage of a poor woman. He changed clothes with her, and promised that if she stayed quiet and let the Bishop capture her, no harm would come to her.
Of course as soon as she knew she could help Robin Hood, and do a bad turn against the Bishop, the woman was glad. So Robin hobbled away, and the soldiers took no notice of him; but they went to the cottage, captured the old dame and took them with her.
They hadn't gone very far however, when before them stood Robin Hood  with bowmen on either side of them. The soldiers laid down their arms, and the Bishop had to deliver up all his treasure.
"That treasure belongs to the Monestry of St. Mary," said the Bishop.
"Nay," answered Robin, "It belongs to all the poor, from whom you have taken it, and to whom I shall now return it."
Then he asked the Bishop to celebrate High Mass with all his men, something he could not refuse to do. and all his men praised God, there amongst the trees in the forest.
On many, many occasions did Robin save and help the poor against the evil Bishops and sheriff's and upon King Richards return from the Holy Land he vowed that he would meet with this Robin Hood. And though he rode many times into Sherwood Forest, he saw nothing of Robin or his merry men.
       He was then advised to put on the habit of a monk, and so disguised he travelled through the forest and was seized by Robin, though the king gave him the first blow that sent him sprawling on the ground first. The King was treated fairly and given a feast, and in the midst of it he showed Robin his ring and sid that although a monk he was a messenger of the king. At the name of the king the men all stood up, uncovered and cried. "God save King Richard!"
       The king then disclosed who he was and Robin knelt and kissed his hand. So pleased was the king with his loyalty, and so struck was he with Robin's goodness that he gave him a free pardon. Then Robin and his band of merry men followed the king to London, and they feasted and had great cheer.
Alas there is not a nice, happy ending to our story for not long after, the king returned to the Holy Land and later he died. John succeeded him to the throne, and Robin and his men had to flee once more. This was not to much of a burden to them for they loved the green wood and once more settled there.
Many years passed and Robin grew very ill, and when he went to watch the young men shoot he grew sad in his heart. He then thought he would go and visit his relative the Princess of Kirkley Abbey in Yorkshire. Little John was very sad at Robin's  sickness and he accompanied him there. He wanted to stay with his master and friend but the princess wouldn't hear of it and told him to wait in the gardens.
Then she did a terrible thing, she made a wound in Robin's arm making as if to bleed him, but instead of wrapping a bandage tighty round the wound, the princess who had secretly hated Robin for all the trouble he had caused the monks and priors, knotted the bandage loosely and left Robin in the room, bleeding to death, locking the door behind her. Little John  begged her to go to him, but she refused and so he stayed in the garden till twilight fell, staring up at Robin's window.

The image “http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/nov/images/robin%20hood%20grave.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

This probably genuine memorial of Robin Hood, is situated on the extreme edge of Kirklees Park, not far from Huddersfield. The site which it occupies is bold and picturesque, commanding an extensive view of what was formerly forest land, and which still displays clumps of gnarled oaks, scattered up and down, mingled with furze and scrub.

He was alerted by the sound of Robins horn. The three notes were so soft,

Little John knew Robin was in danger. He dashed into the hall, up the stairs and smashed open the door. Taking Robin in his arms he embraced him.
"I am dying," said Robin, and fainted in his arms. He came too and raised himself onto one elbow.
"Give me my bow and arrow." he said softly. He took them from Little John's hand and with his help went to the window.

"I shall shoot once more, and where this arrow falls, in that place let me be buried." He was so weak that the arrow went but a little way before striking the ground.
"A good shot! A good shot!" cried Little John, with his eyes full of tears.
"Was it a good shot?" asked Robin eagerly. "Really a good shot?"
"Twas a good shot Robin." said Little John.
Then Robin said,
"Lay me a green sod under my head, and another at my feet,
Lay my bent bow  by my side, which was my music sweet.
Make my grave of gravel and green, which is most right and meet.
Leave me have length and breadth enough, with a green sod at my head.
That they may say when I am dead, Here lies bold Robin Hood."

       As he lay there, in Little John's arms, he suddenly roused himself, looked earnestly towards the priory window towards the gathering darkness of night. He frowned,
"Was it," he whispered hoarsely, straining his failing eyes, "Was it a good shot?"



"Will you walk into my parlour?" said the Spider to the Fly;
"Tis the prettiest little parlour that ever you did spy;
The way into the parlour is up a winding stair,
And I have many curious things to show when you are there."
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly; "to ask me is in vain;
For who goes up your winding stair can ne'er come down again."

"I'm sure you must be weary, dear, with soaring up so high;
Will you rest upon my little bed?" said the Spider to the Fly.
"There are pretty curtains drawn around; the sheets are fine and thin;
And if you like to rest awhile, I'll snugly tuck you in!"
"Oh no,no," said the little Fly; "for I've often heard it said,
They never, never wake again who sleep upon your bed!"

Said the cunning Spider to the Fly: "Dear friend, what can I do
To prove the warm affection I have always felt for you?
I have within my pantry good store of all that's nice;
I'm sure you're very welcome - will you please to take a slice?"
"Oh no, no," said the little Fly; "kind sir, that cannot be;
I've heard what's in your pantry and I do not wish to see!"

"Sweet creature!" said the Spider, "you are witty and you're wise;Wincy
How handsome are your gauzy wings, how brilliant are your eyes!
I have a little looking - glass upon my parlour shelf,
If you'll step in one moment, dear, you shall behold yourself."
"I thank you, gentle sir," she said, "for what you're pleased to say,
And bidding you good morning now, I'll call another day.....

There is quite a lot more  of this poem but it does go on for rather a long time... However the little Fly did  call again another Mary Howittday and alas, she never came out again.
This poem  was written a long time ago by a wonderful lady poet called Mary Howitt .
She was born Mary Botham, on 12th March 1799 at Coleford, Gloucestershire,
The daughter of Samuel Botham, a Quaker, and in 1821 she married William Howitt.
They turned to joint-authoring for a living and made a success of their many interests. She wrote novels such as Wood Leighton, a history of the United
Incy, Wincy and Seligor's head
States, and many poems and stories for children; Belonging to the Victorian era of Poets, she also lived in the time when bronchitis was a very dangerous disease. She died from this illness on 30th January 1888.

"Did you know that Diddily and Seli have a spider each living in Dodies bedroom,  here they both are, up above her computer. With a dragon of course!"

For your Entertainment

 It is very difficult not to know what is right and what could offend but all I can do is hope that I have chosen wisely . Diddily dee Dot

If you have any ideas do leave a message for me at


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The Brothers Grimm wrote the most famous version of this mystery tale about how 12 beautiful princesses manage to wear out their
dancing shoes every night, even though they never seem to leave their room.

The Twelve Princesses


                  Twelve princesses slept in twelve beds in the same room; every night their doors were securely locked, but in the morning their shoes were found to be worn through as if they had been dancing all night!

The king, perplexed, promised his kingdom and a daughter to any man who could discover the princesses' secret within three days and three nights, but those who failed within the set time limit would be put to death.

An old soldier returned from war came to the king's call after several princes had failed in the endeavour to discover the princesses' secret. Whilst traveling through a wood he came upon an old woman, who gave him an invisibility cloak and told him not to eat or drink anything given to him by one of the princesses who would come to him in the evening, and to pretend to be fast asleep after the princess left.

The soldier was well received at the palace just as the others had been and indeed, in the evening, the eldest princess came to his chamber and offered him a cup of wine. The soldier, remembering the old woman's advice, threw it away secretly and began to snore very loudly as if asleep.

The princesses, sure that the soldier was asleep, dressed themselves in fine clothes and escaped from their room by a trap door in the floor. The soldier, seeing this, donned his invisibility cloak and followed them down. He trod on the gown of the youngest princess, whose cry to her sisters that all was not right was rebuffed by the eldest. The passageway led them to three groves of trees; the first having leaves of silver, the second of gold, and the third of diamonds. The soldier, wishing for a token, broke off a branch from each grove; only the youngest princess heard the noises made, and voiced concerns that the eldest princess again ignored.

They walked on until they came upon a great lake. Twelve boats with twelve princes in them were waiting. Each princess went into one, and the soldier stepped into the same boat as the youngest. The young prince in the boat rowed slowly, unaware that the soldier was causing the boat to be heavy. The youngest princess complained that the prince was not rowing fast enough, not knowing the soldier was in the boat. On the other side of the lake was a castle, into which all the princesses went into and danced the night away.

The princesses danced until their shoes were worn through and they were obliged to leave. This strange adventure went on the second and third nights, and everything happened just as before, except that on the third night the soldier carried away a golden cup as a token of where he had been. When it came time for him to declare the princesses' secret, he went before the king with the three branches and the golden cup, and told the king all he had seen. The princesses saw there was no use to deny the truth, and confessed. The soldier chose the eldest princess as his bride for he was not a very young man, and was made the king's heir.

 If you like magic, invisible cloaks, secret gardens, enchanted castles, and glittering dances, then this is the story for you.

Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses in which Barbie plays the role of the 7th sister, Genevieve. The plot was changed extensively. The twelve princesses visit a magic garden to dance by themselves, and they are only able to go there three times. Meanwhile, a cousin, brought in by the king to supervise their upbringing, is plotting to kill the king, and attempts to trap the princesses in their dancing garden. The hero is not an old soldier, but a cobbler who has been making their dancing shoes, and who follows them to their garden to warn them of their cousin's plot. He marries the 7th sister, Genevieve.


The tale of the danced-out shoes is predominately found in central Europe, and virtually all of the variants are found in Europe.
In another Hessian variant noted by the Grimms, there is only a single princess who dances out twelve shoes every night. The hero was not a soldier but the youngest apprentice of the shoemaker who had to replace the shoes; he learns she is enchanted by twelve princes.

In the variant Deulin collected the hero is not an old soldier, but a young cowherd turned gardener's boy, named Michael, and he marries not the oldest but the youngest princess. Andrew Lang included that variant in The Red Fairy Book.

Alexander Afanasyev's variant features an impoverished nobleman as the hero, and again marries him to the youngest princess.

Kate Crackernuts, {you can go further down the page to read this story.} collected by Joseph Jacobs in English Fairy Tales, reverses the role, in that the heroine goes after the dancing prince, and also the tone: the princesses in The Twelve Dancing Princesses are depicted as enjoying the dances, while in the much darker Kate Crackernuts, the prince is forced by the fairies to dance to exhaustion, and is an invalid by day.

12 dancing princessIn 1978, a made for TV telling of the story was made directed by Ben Rea. Significant changes were made to the story.

  • The soldier was given the Invisibility Cloak by a woman who is revealed to be the consort of Death.
  • The Princes in the story were removed. Instead, the Princesses went to the castle to dance at an all night disco party.
  • Instead of securing tokens from the underground as evidence to prove what he has seen, the soldier reveals the Invisibility Cloak to the King and on the third night the King himself secretly follows his daughters to the underground castle to witness what they were doing with his own eyes.
  • When the princesses are confronted with the truth in the morning and the soldier is offered his choice of one of them to be his wife -- the soldier chooses "none of them", telling the King that they had all lived lives of deceit and treachery and he feared what such a woman would be like as a wife.
  • The soldier leaves the kingdom to continue his military life -- he again encounters Death's consort, implying that this next battle would lead to his death.

This version has not been shown in years and has not been released on video.

Jack and the Beanstalk

One of the many Pantomime's that we get to see every Christmas Time.

There was Jack and the Beanstalkonce a boy called Jack who was brave and quick-witted.
He lived with his mother in a small cottage and their most valuable possession was their cow, Buttercup But the da
y came when Buttercup gave them no milk and Jack's mother said she must be sold.
"Take her to market," she told Jack, "and mind you get a good price for her."
So Jack set out to market leading Buttercup by her halter. After a while he sat down
to rest by the side of the road. An old man came by and Jack told him where he was going.

"Don't bother to go to the market," the old man said. "Sell your cow to me. I will pay you well. Look at these beans. Only plant them, and overnight you will find you have the finest bean plants in all the world. You'll be better offwith these beans than with an old cow or money. Now, how many is five, Jack?"

"Two in each hand and one in your mouth," replied Jack, as sharp as a needle.
"Right you are, here are five beans," said the old man and he handed the beans to Jack and took Buttercups halter.
When he reached home, his mother said, "Back so soon, Jack? Did you get a good price for the cow?"

Jack told her how he had exchanged the cow for five beans and before he could finish his account, his mother started to shout and box his ears. "You lazy good-for-nothing boy!" she screamed, "How could you hand over our cow for five old beans? What will we live on now? We shall starve to death, you stupid boy."
She flung the beans through the open window and sent Jack to bed without his supper.
When Jack woke the next morning there was a strange green light in his room. All he could see from, the window was green leaves. A huge beanstalk had shot up overnight. It grew higher than he could see. Quickly Jack got dressed and stepped out of the window right onto the beanstalk and started to climb.

"The old man said the beans would grow overnight," he thought. "They must indeed be very special beans."
Higher and higher Jack climbed until at last he reached the top and found himself on a strange road. Jack followed it until he came to a great castle where he could smell the most delicious breakfast. Jack was hungry. It had been a long climb and he had had nothing to eat since midday the day before. Just as he reached the door of the castle he nearly tripped over the feet of an enormous woman.

"Here, boy," she called. "What are you doing? Don't you know my husband likes to eat boys for breakfast? It's lucky I have already fried up some bacon and mushrooms for him today, or I'd pop you in the frying pan. He can eat you tomorrow, though."

"Oh, please don't let him eat me," pleaded Jack. "I only came to ask you for a bite to eat. It smells so delicious."

Now the giant's wife had a kind heart and did not really enjoy cooking boys for breakfast, so she gave Jack a bacon sandwich. He was still eating it when the ground began to shake with heavy footsteps, and a loud voice boomed: "Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum."

"Quick, hide!" cried the giant's wife and she pushed Jack into the oven. "After breakfast, he'll fall asleep," she whispered. "That is when you must creep away."
She left the oven door open a crack so that Jack could see into the room. Again the terrible rumbling voice came:

"Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."

A huge giant came into the room. "Boys, boys, I smell boys," he shouted. "Wife, have I got a boy for breakfast today?"

"No, dear," she said soothingly. "You have got bacon and mushrooms. You must still be smelling the boy you ate last week." The giant sniffed the air suspiciously but at last sat down. He wolfed his breakfast of bacon and mushrooms, drank a great bucketful of steaming tea and crunched up a massive slice of toast.

Giant Then he fetched a couple of bags of gold from a cupboard and started counting gold coins. Before long he dropped off to sleep.
Quietly Jack crept out of the oven.

Carefully he picked up two gold coins and ran as fast as he could to the top of the beanstalk. He threw the gold clown to his mother's garden and climbed after it. At the bottom he found his mother looking in amazement at the gold coins and the beanstalk. Jack told her of his adventures in the giant's castle and when she examined the gold she realized he must be speaking the truth.

Jack and his mother used the gold to buy food. But the day came when the money ran out, and Jack decided to climb the beanstalk again.

It was all the same as before, the long climb, the road to the castle, the smell of breakfast and the giant's wife. But she was not so friendly this time.
"Aren't you the boy who was here before," she asked, "on the day that some gold was stolen from under my husband's nose?"
But Jack convinced her she was wrong and in time her heart softened again and she gave him some breakfast. Once more as:ack was eating the ground shuddered and the great voice boomed: "Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum." Quickly, Jack jumped into the oven again.
As he entered, the giant bellowed:

"Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum,
I smell the blood of cm Englishman,
Be he alive or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."

The giant's wife put a plate of sizzling sausages before him, telling him he must be mistaken. After breakfast the giant fetched a hen from a back room. Every time he said "Lay!" the hen laid an egg of solid gold.

"I must steal that hen, if I can," thought Jack, and he waited until the giant fellasleep. Then he slipped out of the oven, snotched up the and rim for the top of the beanstalk. Keeping the hen under one arm, he scrambled Jack and the Beanstalk clown as fast as he could until he reached the bottom. Jack's mother was waiting but she was not pleased when she saw the hen.

"Another of your silly ideas, is it, bringing an old hen when you might have brought us some gold? I don't know, what is to be done with you?"

Then Jack set the hen down carefully, and cornmanded "Lay!" just as the giant had done. To his mother's surprise the hen laid an egg of solid gold.

Jack and his mother now lived in great luxury. But in time Jack became a littlesleeping bored and decided to climb the beanstalk again.

This time he did not risk talking to the giant's wife in case she recognized him. He slipped into the kitchen when she was not looking, and hid himself in the log basket. He watched the giant's wife prepare breakfast and then he heard the giant's roar:

"Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum,
I smell the blood of an Englishman,
Be he alive or be he dead,
I'll grind his bones to make my bread."

"If it's that cheeky boy who stole your gold and our magic hen, then help you catch him," said the giant's wife. "Why don't we look in the oven? It's my guess he'll be hiding there."

You may be sure that Jack was glad he was not in the oven. The giant and his wife hunted high and low but never thought to look in the log basket. At last they gave up and the giant sat down to breakfast.

After he had eaten, the giant fetched a harp. When he commanded "Play!" the harp played the most beautiful music. Soon the giant fell asleep, and Jack crept out of the log basket. Quickly he snatched up the harp and ran. But the harp called out loudly, "Master, save me! Save me!" and the giant woke. With a roar of rage he chased after Jack.
Jack raced down the road towards the beanstalk with the giant's footsteps thundering behind him. When he reached the top of the beanstalk he threw down the harp and started to slither down after it.
The giant followed, and now the whole beanstalk shook and shuddered with his weight, and Jack feared for his life. At last he reached the ground, and seizing an axe he chopped at the beanstalk with all his might. Snap

good story

"Look out, mother!" he called as the giant came tumbling clown, head first. He lay dead at their feet with the beanstalk on the ground beside them. The harp survived the fall and never again shouted for the giant, for the spell was broken when the Giant died. The hen continued to lay golden eggs for Jack and his mother and after a while he met a beautiful princess and they all lived happily ever after and in great comfort for a long, long time.

Jack and the Beanstalk is an English fairy tale, closely associated with the tale of Jack the Giant Killer. It is known under a number of versions. Benjamin Tabart recorded the oldest known one in 1807, but Joseph Jacobs popularized it in English Fairy Tales (1890). Jacobs's version is most commonly reprinted today and is believed to more closely adhere to the oral versions than Tabart's, because it lacks the moralizing of that version. The story was made into a play by Charles Ludlam

The origin of Jack and the Beanstalk is unknown, although the author was almost certainly British or German.The earliest printed edition which has survived is the 1807 book The History of Jack and the Bean-Stalk, printed by Benjamin Tabart, although the story was already in existence sometime before this, as a burlesque of the story entitled The Story of Jack Spriggins and the Enchanted Bean was included in the 1734 second edition of Round About Our Coal-Fire.

In the usual version of the tale, the giant is unnamed, but many plays based on the story name him as Blunderbore; a giant of that name also appears in Jack the Giant-Killer.

The beanstalk is reminiscent of the ancient Saxon belief in a World tree connecting earth to heaven.

The giant's "Fee! Fie! Foe! Fum!" was included in William Shakespeare's King Lear this was a made up story in medival folklore.

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Once upon a time there was a king and a queen, as in many lands have been. The king had a daughter, Anne, and the queen had one named Kate, but Anne was far bonnier than the queen’s daughter, though they loved one another like real sisters. The queen was jealous of the king’s daughter being bonnier than her own, and cast about to spoil her beauty. So she took counsel of the henwife, who told her to send the lassie to her next morning fasting.

So next morning early, the queen said to Anne, “Go, my dear, to the henwife in the glen, and ask her for some eggs.” So Anne set out, but as she passed through the kitchen she saw a crust, and she took and munched it as she went along.

When she came to the henwife’s she asked for eggs, as she had been told to do; the henwife said to her, lift the lid off that pot there and see. ” The lassie did so, but nothing happened. “Go home to your minnie and tell her to keep her larder door better locked,” said the henwife. So she went home to the queen and told her what the henwife had said. The queen knew from this that the lassie had had something to eat, so watched the next morning and sent her away fasting; but the princess saw some country-folk picking peas by the roadside, and being very kind she spoke to them and took a handful of the peas, which she ate by the way.

When she came to the henwife’s, she said, “Lift the lid off the pot and you’ll see.” So Anne lifted the lid but nothing happened. Then the henwife was rare angry and said to Anne, “Tell your minnie the pot won’t boil if the fire’s away.” So Anne went home and told the queen.

The third day the queen goes along with the girl herself to the henwife. Now, this time, when Anne lifted the lid off the pot, off falls her own pretty head, and on jumps a sheep’s head.

So the queen was now quite satisfied, and went back home.

Her own daughter, Kate, however, took a fine linen cloth and wrapped it round her sister’s head and took her by the hand and they both went out to seek their fortune. They went on, and they went on, and they went on, till they came to a castle. Kate knocked at the door and asked for a night’s lodging for herself and a sick sister. They went in and found it was a king’s castle, who had two sons, and one of them was sickening away to death and no one could find out what ailed him. And the curious thing was that whoever watched him at night was never seen any more. So the king had offered a peck of silver to anyone who would stop up with him. Now Katie was a very brave girl, so she offered to sit up with him.

Till midnight all goes well. As twelve o clock rings, however, the sick prince rises, dresses himself, and slips downstairs. Kate followed, but he didn’t seem to notice her. The prince went to the stable, saddled his horse, called his hound, jumped into the saddle, and Kate leapt lightly up behind him. Away rode the prince and Kate through the greenwood, Kate, as they pass, plucking nuts from the trees and filling her apron with them. They rode on and on till they came to a green hill. The prince here drew bridle and spoke, “Open, open, green hill, and let the young prince in with his horse and his hound,” and Kate added, “and his lady him behind.”

Immediately the green hill opened and they passed in. The prince entered a magnificent hall, brightly lighted up, and many beautiful fairies surrounded the prince and led him off to the dance. Meanwhile, Kate, without being noticed, hid herself behind the door. There she sees the prince dancing, and dancing, and dancing, till he could dance no longer and fell upon a couch. Then the fairies would fan him till he could rise again and go on dancing.

At last the cock crew, and the prince made all haste to get on horseback; Kate jumped up behind, and home they rode. When the morning sun rose they came in and found Kate sitting down by the fire and cracking her nuts. Kate said the prince had a good night; but she would not sit up another night unless she was to get a peck of gold. The second night passed as the first had done. The prince got up at midnight and rode away to the green hill and the fairy ball, and Kate went with him, gathering nuts as they rode through the forest. This time she did not watch the prince, for she knew he would dance and dance, and dance. But she sees a fairy baby playing with a wand, and overhears one of the fairies say: “Three strokes of that wand would make Kate’s sick sister as bonnie as ever she was. ” So Kate rolled nuts to the fairy baby, and rolled nuts till the baby toddled after the nuts and let fall the wand, and Kate took it up and put it in her apron. And at cockcrow they rode home as before, and the moment Kate got home to her room she rushed and touched Anne three times with the wand, and the nasty sheep’s head fell off and she was her own pretty self again. The third night Kate consented to watch, only if she should marry the sick prince. All went on as on the first two nights. This time the fairy baby was playing with a birdie; Kate heard one of the fairies say: “Three bites of that birdie would make the sick prince as well as ever he was.” Kate rolled all the nuts she had to the fairy baby till the birdie was dropped, and Kate put it in her apron.

At cockcrow they set off again, but instead of cracking her nuts as she used to do, this time Kate plucked the feathers off and cooked the birdie. Soon there arose a very savoury smell. “Oh!” said the sick prince, “I wish I had a bite of that birdie,” so Kate gave him a bite of the birdie, and he rose up on his elbow. By-and-by he cried out again: “Oh, if I had another bite of that birdie!” so Kate gave him another bite, and he sat up on his bed. Then he said again: “Oh! if I only had a third bite of that birdie!” So Kate gave him a third bite, and he rose quite well, dressed himself, and sat down by the fire, and when the folk came in next morning they found Kate and the young prince cracking nuts together. Meanwhile his brother had seen Annie and had fallen in love with her, as everybody did who saw her sweet pretty face. So the sick son married the well sister, and the well son married the sick sister, and they all lived happily ever after. And they never drank out of a dry cappy again.

from Wikipeadea Commentary

The fairies' forcing young men and women to come to a revel every day and dance to exhaustion, and so waste away, was a common European belief. The actual disease involved appears to have been consumption

This tale is the closest analogue to The Twelve Dancing Princesses, but reverses the role, in that the heroine goes after the dancing prince, and also the tone: the princesses in The Twelve Dancing Princesses are always

depicted as enjoying the dances, while in the much darker Kate Crackernuts, the prince is forced by the fairies to dance to exhaustion, and is an invalid by day

Though the stepmother acts the usual part in a fairy tale, her part is unusually truncated, without the usual comeuppance served to evil-doers and the stepsisters show a solidarity that is uncommon even among full siblings in fairy tales.


Katherine Mary Briggs adapted the story for her children's novel Kate Crackernuts.


Disclaimer: This website contains materials authored by me and also partly a collection of items from the internet.
The collections are, I believe, in the Public Domain. In case any material, inadvertently put up,
which has a copyright please do write to me and it will be removed.

The compilations are for the entertaimment of children and families only and have not been compiled for educational or historical purposes.

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