THE FAIRIES BANISHED
ONE of those old farm-houses, where the kitchen and cow-house are on the same floor, with only a low partition between them, was haunted by the fairies. If the family were at their meals in the kitchen, they were racketing in the cow-house, and if the people were engaged about the cows, the fairies were making a riot in the kitchen. One day, when a parcel of reapers were at their harvest-dinner in the kitchen, the elves, who were laughing and dancing above, threw down such a quantity of dust and dirt as quite spoiled the dinner. While the mistress of the house was in perplexity about it, there came in an old woman, who, on hearing the case, said she could provide a remedy. She then told her in a whisper to ask six of the reapers to dinner next day in the hearing of the fairies, and only to make as much pudding as could be boiled in an egg-shell. She did as directed, and when the fairies saw that a dinner for six men was put down to boil in an egg-shell, there was great stir and noise in the cow-house, and at length one angry voice was heard to say, "We have lived long in this world; we were born just after the earth was made, and before the acorn was planted, and yet we never saw a harvest-dinner dressed in an egg-shell! There must be something wrong in this house, and we will stop here no longer." They went away and never returned.
The fairies are said to take away children, and leave changelings. They also give pieces of' money, one of which is found every day in the same place as long as the finder keeps his good fortune a secret. One peculiarity of the Cambrian fairies is, that every Friday night they comb the goats' beards "to make them decent for Sunday? "
We hear not of Brownies or Kobolds in the Welsh houses now, but Puck used to haunt Wales as well as Ireland. His Welsh name, Pwcca, is the same as his Irish one. In Brecon there is Cwm Pwcca, or Puck's Glen, and though an iron-foundry has in a great measure scared him from it, yet he occasionally makes his appearance. As a man was returning one night from his work, he saw a light before him, and thought he discerned some one that carried it. Supposing it to be one of his fellow-workmen with a lanthorn, he quickened his pace to come up with him, wondering all the while how so short a man as he appeared to be could get over the ground so fast. He also fancied he was not going the right way, but still thought that he who had the light must know best. At last, he came up with him, and found himself on the very edge of one of the precipices of Cwm Pwcca, down which another step would have carried him. The Pwcca, for it was he, sprang over the glen, turned round, held the light above his head, and then with a loud laugh put it out and vanished.