Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/66

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Shilo: a Devonshire Folk-Tale.

The following tale was noted down from the recital of a Devonshire lady on July 20th, 1909. She learnt it from an old nurse who came from Ottery St. Mary about fifty years ago.

There was once a farmer walking through his fields thinking very sorrowfully of the bad times and how he should find means to pay his next rent. All at once he heard weeping and wailing, and a voice exclaiming,—"Oh dear, oh dear, I've lost my shilo! What shall I do, what shall I do, I've lost my shilo! Where's my shilo, Where's my shilo? What shall I do?"

The farmer, looking over the hedge, saw a little wizened man, and, although he had never seen a pixy before, he knew it must be a pixy. "Poor little chap," says he, "they zems to have their troubles as well as us mortals."

Going on a little further through the fields, he came to some hayricks. Between two of the hayricks he espies a little brown bundle crying feebly, picks it up, and takes it home to his wife, who was very fond of children, not having any of her own. The old lady had got some hot toast and cider down by the fire warming for her husband against he came in. She took out some of the soaked bread and put it into the little baby's mouth, which revived it very quickly. The old lady was delighted with the little brown baby, and wanted to keep it for her own; but during dinner her husband happened to mention that he had seen the poor old pixy crying for the loss of his shilo.

"You old fule," says the old woman, "can't 'ee put two and two together? If I'd only knawed 'bout thicky pixy avore, I