Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/153

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145
THE PHILOSOPHY OF RUMPELSTILTSKIN.

sound of an uncouth voice near her, when laying her ear to a stone she heard these words, "Little kens the wee lassie on the brae-head that ma name's Habetrot." Then looking down a hole[1] she saw an unsightly company busy with distaff and spindle, and heard Habetrot tell a hook-nosed sister, Scanthe Mab, to "bundle up" the lassie's yarn. The girl turned homewards, but was overtaken by Habetrot, who bade her not tell how the yarn was spun. Reaching home she found that her mother had gone to bed, but had left some black puddings hanging to dry. These the girl ate, and when the mother came down next morning she was vexed to find the puddings gone, but delighted to see the hanks of yarn. She ran from the house, crying:

"My daughter's spun sein, sein, sein,
My daughter's eaten sein, sein, sein.
And all before daylight!"

A laird who chanced to be riding by was puzzled at what he heard, and then, learning what had happened, he had the girl brought before him, and vowed that he would wed so good a spinner. After the marriage Habetrot still helped her, till one day she bade the bride bring her husband to the cell where the fairies spun that he might see how their faces were twisted by "drawing out the thread," and so it came to pass that he commanded his wife never to spin. The like sequel is found in a variant given in Chambers' Popular Rhymes of Scotland, entitled "A Various Whuppity Stoorie,"[2] but a preceding tale, "Whuppity Stoorie,"[3] supplies closer parallels to Rumpelstiltskin. It tells of a man who "gaed to a fair ae day," and was never more heard of. His widow was left with a "sookin' lad bairn," and a sow that "was soon to farra." Going to the sty one day, she saw, to her distress, the sow ready "to gie up the ghost," and as she sat down with her bairn and "grat sairer than ever she did for the loss o' her ain goodman," there came an old woman dressed in green who asked what she would give her for curing the sow. Then they "watted thooms" on the bargain, by which the woman promised to give the

  1. Thorpe's Northern Mythol. i. 156.
  2. P. 76.
  3. Pp. 72-75.