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The Wee, Wee Mannie

English Folktale

Once upon a time, when all big folks were wee ones and all lies were true, there was a wee, wee Mannie that had a big, big Coo. And out he went to milk her of a morning, and said—

"Hold still, my Coo, my hinny,
Hold still, my hinny, my Coo,
And ye shall have for your dinner
What but a milk white doo."

But the big, big Coo wouldn't hold still. "Hout!" said the wee, wee Mannie—

"Hold still, my Coo, my dearie,
And fill my bucket wi' milk,
And if ye 'll be no contrairy
I'll gi'e ye a gown o' silk."

But the big, big Coo wouldn't hold still. "Look at that, now!" said the wee, wee Mannie—

"What's a wee, wee mannie to do,
Wi' such a big contrairy Coo?"

So off he went to his mother at the house. "Mother," said he, "Coo won't stand still, and wee, wee Mannie can't milk big, big Coo."

"Hout!" says his mother, "take stick and beat Coo."

So off he went to get a stick from the tree, and said—

"Break, stick, break,
And I'll gi'e ye a cake."

But the stick wouldn't break, so back he went to the house. "Mother," says he, "Coo won't hold still, stick won't break, wee, wee Mannie can't beat big, big Coo."

"Hout!" says his mother, "go to the Butcher and bid him kill Coo."

So off he went to the Butcher, and said—

"Butcher, kill the big, big Coo,
She'll gi'e us no more milk noo."

But the Butcher wouldn't kill the Coo without a silver penny, so back the Mannie went to the house. "Mother," says he, "Coo won't hold still, stick won't break, Butcher won't kill without a silver penny, and wee, wee Mannie can't milk big, big Coo."

"Well," said his mother, "go to the Coo and tell her there's a weary, weary lady with long yellow hair weeping for a cup o' milk."

So off he went and told the Coo, but she wouldn't hold still, so back he went and told his mother.

"Well," said she, "tell the Coo there's a fine, fine laddie from the wars sitting by the weary, weary lady with golden hair, and she weeping for a sup o' milk."

So off he went and told the Coo, but she wouldn't hold still, so back he went and told his mother.

"Well," said his mother, "tell the big, big Coo there's a sharp, sharp sword at the belt of the fine, fine laddie from the wars who sits beside the weary, weary lady with the golden hair, and she weeping for a sup o' milk."

And he told the big, big Coo, but she wouldn't hold still.

Then said his mother, "Run quick and tell her that her head's going to be cut off by the sharp, sharp sword in the hands of the fine, fine laddie, if she doesn't give the sup o' milk the weary, weary lady weeps for."

And wee, wee Mannie went off and told the big, big Coo.

And when Coo saw the glint of the sharp, sharp sword in the hand of the fine, fine laddie come from the wars, and the weary, weary lady weeping for a sup o' milk, she reckoned she'd better hold still; so wee, wee Mannie milked big, big Coo, and the weary, weary lady with the golden hair hushed her weeping and got her sup o' milk, and the fine, fine laddie new come from the wars put by his sharp, sharp sword, and all went well that didn't go ill.

More English Fairy Tales

More English fairy tales

Notes: Contains 44 English folktales.

Author: Various
Editor: Joseph Jacobs
Published: Unknown
Publisher: G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, London

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