I ken ye 're fond o' clashes aboot fairies, bairns ; and a story
anent a fairy and the guidwife o' Kittlerumpit has joost come
into my mind ; but I canna very weel tell ye noo whereabouts
Kittlerumpit lies. I think it 's somewhere in amang the Debate-
able Grund ; onygate I 'se no pretend to mair than I ken, like
a'body noo-a-days. I wuss they wad mind the ballant we used
to lilt langsyne :
" Mony ane sings the gerse, the gerse,
And mony ane sings the corn ;
And mony ane clatters o' bold Robin Hood,
Ne'er kent where he was born."
But hoosoever, about Kittlerumpit : the goodman was a vaguing
sort o' a body ; and he gaed to a fair ae day, and not only never
came hame again, but never mair was heard o'. Some said he
listed, and ither some that the wearifu' pressgang cleekit him up,
though he was clothed wi' a wife and a wean forbye. Hech-
how ! that dulefu' pressgang ! they gaed aboot the kintra like
roaring lions, seeking whom they micht devoor. I mind weel,
my auldest brither Sandy was a' but smoored in the meal ark
hiding frae thae limmers. After they war gane, we pu'd him oot
frae amang the meal, pechin' and greetin', and as white as ony
corp. My mither had to pike the meal oot o' his mooth wi' the
shank o' a horn spoon.
' Aweel, when the goodman o' Kittlerumpit was gane, the
goodwife was left wi' a sma' fendin. Little gear had she, and
a sookin' lad bairn. A'body said they war sorry for her ; but
naebody helpit her, whilk's a common case, sirs. Howsom-
ever, the goodwife had a soo, and that was her only consola-
tion ; for the soo was soon to farra, and she hopit for a good
* But we a' weel ken hope 's fallacious. Ae day the wife gaes
to the sty to fill the soo's trough ; and what does she find but
the soo lying on her back, grunting and graning, and ready to
gie up the ghost.
' I trow this was a new stoond to the goodwife's heart ; sae
she sat doon on the knockin'-stane, wi' her bairn on her knee,
and grat sairer than ever she did for the loss o' her ain good-
' Noo, I premeese that the cot-hoose o' Kittlerumpit was
biggit on a brae, wi' a muckle fir-wood behint it, o' whilk ye may
hear mair or lang gae. So the goodwife, when she was dichtin'
her een, chances to look down the brae, and what does she see
but an auld woman, amaist like a leddy, coming slowly up the
gaet. She was buskit in green, a' but a white short apron, and
a black velvet hood, and a steeple-crowned beaver hat on her
head. She had a lang walking-staff, as lang as hersel', in her
hand the sort of staff that auld men and auld women helpit
themselves wi' lang syne ; I see nae sic staffs noo, sirs.
' Aweel, when the goodwife saw the green gentlewoman near
her, she rase and made a curchie ; and " Madam," quo' she,
greetin', " I 'm ane of the maist misfortunate women alive."
" I dinna wish to hear pipers' news and fiddlers' tales, good-
wife," quo' the green woman. " I ken ye've tint your goodman
we had waur losses at the Shirra Muir; 1 and I ken that your
soo 's unco sick. Noo, what will ye gie me gin I cure her ? "
" Onything your leddyship's madam likes," quo' the witless
goodwife, never guessin' wha she had to deal wi'.
" Let 's wat thooms on that bargain," quo' the green woman :
sae thooms war wat, I 'se warrant ye \ and into the sty madam
' She looks at the soo wi' a lang glowr, and syne began to
mutter to hersel' what the goodwife couldna weel understand ;
but she said it soundit like :
" Fitter patter,
' Syne she took oot o' her pouch a wee bottle, wi' something
like oil in 't, and rubs the soo wi't abune the snoot, ahint the
lugs, and on the tip o' the tail. " Get up, beast," quo' the
green woman. Nae sooner said nor done up bangs the soo
wi' a grunt, and awa' to her trough for her breakfast.
The goodwife o' Kittlerumpit was a joyfu' goodwife noo, and
wad hae kissed the very hem o' the green madam's gown-tail,
but she wadna let her. " I 'm no sae fond o' fashions," quo'
she; "but noo that I hae richtit your sick beast, let us end
our sicker bargain. Ye '11 no find me an unreasonable greedy
body I like aye to do a good turn for a sma' reward a' I
ask, and wull hae, is that lad bairn in your bosom."
The goodwife o' Kittlerumpit, wha noo kent her customer,
ga'e a skirl like a stickit gryse. The green woman was a fairy,
nae doubt ; sae she prays, and greets, and begs, and flytes ;
but a' wadna do. " Ye may spare your din," quo' the fairy,
" skirling as if I was as deaf as a door nail ; but this I '11 let
ye to wut I canna, by the law we leeve on, take your bairn
till the third day after this day; and no then, if ye can tell
me my right name." Sae madam gaes awa' round the swine's-
sty end, and the goodwife fa's doon in a swerf behint the
Aweel, the goodwife o' Kittlerumpit could sleep nane that
nicht for greetin', and a' the next day the same, cuddlin' her
bairn till she near squeezed its breath out; but the second
day she thinks o' taking a walk in the wood I tell't ye o' ; and
sae, wi' the bairn in her arms, she sets out, and gaes far in
amang the trees, where was an old quarry-hole, grown owre wi'
gerse, and a bonny spring well in the middle o't. Before she
came very nigh, she hears the birring o' a lint-wheel, and a
voice lilting a sang; sae the wife creeps quietly amang the
bushes, and keeks owre the broo o' the quarry, and what does
she' see but the green fairy kemping at her wheel, and singing
like ony precentor :
" Little kens our guid dame at hame
That Whuppity Stoorie is my name ! " 1
"Ah, ha!" thinks the wife, "I've gotten the mason's word at
last; the deil gie them joy that tell't it!" Sae she gaed hame
far lichter than she came out, as ye may weel guess, lauchin*
like a madcap wi' the thought o' begunkin' the auld green
' Aweel, ye maun ken that this goodwife was a jokus woman,
and aye merry when her heart wasna unco sair owreladen. Sae
1 Can this name originate from the notion, that fairies were always in the whirls of dust
occasioned by the wind on roads and in streets? Another version of the story calls the
green woman Fittletetot.
she thinks to hae some sport wi' the fairy ; and at the appointit
time she puts the bairn behint the knockin'-stane, and sits down
on 't hersel'. Syne she pu's her mutch ajee owre her left lug,
crooks her mou on the tither side, as gin she war greetin', and
a filthy face she made, ye may be sure. She hadna lang to wait,
for up the brae mounts the green fairy, nowther lame nor lazy;
and lang or she gat near the knockin'-stane, she skirls out :
" Goodwife o' Kittlerumpit, ye weel ken what I come for stand
and deliver!" The wife pretends to greet sairer than before,
and wrings her nieves, and fa's on her knees, wi' : " Och, sweet
madam mistress, spare my only bairn, and take the weary soo ! "
" The deil take the soo for my share," quo' the fairy; " I come
na here for swine's flesh. Dinna be contramawcious, hizzie, but
gie me the gett instantly ! "
" Ochon, dear leddy mine," quo' the greetin' goodwife ; " for-
bear my poor bairn, and take mysel' ! "
" The deil 's in the daft jad," quo' the fairy, looking like the
far-end o' a fiddle; "I'll wad she's clean dementit. Wha in
a' the earthly warld, wi' half an ee in their head, wad ever
meddle wi' the likes o' thee?"
* I trow this set up the wife o' Kittlerumpit's birse ; for though
she had twa bleert een, and a lang red neb forbye, she thought
hersel' as bonny as the best o' them. Sae she bangs aff her
knees, sets up her mutch-croon, and wi' her twa hands faulded
afore her, she maks a curchie down to the grund, and, " In
troth, fair madam," quo' she, " I might hae had the wit to ken
that the likes o' me is na fit to tie the warst shoe-strings o' the
heich and mighty princess, Whuppity Stoorie /" Gin a fluff o'
gunpowder had come out o' the grund, it couldna hae gart the
fairy loup heicher nor she did; syne down she came again,
dump on her shoe-heels, and whurlin' round, she ran down the
brae, scraichin' for rage, like a houlet chased wi' the witches.
* The goodwife o' Kittlerumpit leugh till she was like to ryve ;
syne she taks up her bairn, and gaes into her hoose, singin' till 't
a' the gaet :
" A goo and a gitty, my bonny wee tyke,
Ye'se noo hae your four-oories ;
Sin' we Ve gien Nick a bane to pyke,
Wi' his wheels and his Whuppity Stoories."' 1
1 The above story is essentially the same with one highly popular in Germany, under the
name of Rumplestiltskin.
A VARIOUS WHUPPITY STOORIE.
There was ance a gentleman that lived in a very grand house,
and he married a young lady that had been delicately brought
up. In her husband's house she found everything that was fine
fine tables and chairs, fine looking-glasses, and fine curtains ;
but then her husband expected her to be able to spin twelve
hanks o' thread every day, besides attending to her house ; and,
to tell the even-down truth, the lady could not spin a bit. This
made her husband glunchy with her, and before a month had
passed, she found herself very unhappy.
One day the husband gaed away upon a journey, after telling
her that he expected her, before his return, to have not only
learned to spin, but to have spun a hundred hanks o' thread.
Quite downcast, she took a walk along the hill-side, till she
came to a big flat stane, and there she sat down and grat. By-
and-by, she heard a strain o' fine sma' music, coming as it were
frae aneath the stane, and on turning it up, she saw a cave
below, where there were sitting six wee ladies in green gowns,
ilk ane o' them spinning on a little wheel, and singing :
' Little kens my dame at hame
That Whuppity Stoorie is my name. '
The lady walked into the cave, and was kindly asked by the
wee bodies to take a chair and sit down, while they still con-
tinued their spinning. She observed that ilk ane's mouth was
thrawn away to ae side, but she didna venture to speer the
reason. They asked why she looked so unhappy, and she telt
them that it was because she was expected by her husband to
be a good spinner, when the plain truth was, that she could not
spin at all, and found herself quite unable for it, having been so
delicately brought up ; neither was there any need for it, as her
husband was a rich man. ' Oh, is that a'?' said the little wines,
speaking out at their cheeks like. [Imitate a person with a wry
'Yes, and is it not a very good a' too?' said the lady, her
heart like to burst wi' distress.
' We could easily quit ye o' that trouble,' said the wee women.
' Just ask us a' to dinner for the day when your husband is to
come back. We '11 then let you see how we '11 manage him.'
So the lady asked them all to dine with herself and her
husband on the day when he was to come back.
When the goodman came hame, he found the house so
occupied with preparations for dinner, that he had nae time to
ask his wife about her thread ; and before ever he had ance
spoken to her on the subject, the company was announced at
the hall door. The six little ladies all came in a coach-and-six,
and were as fine as princesses, but still wore their gowns of
green. The gentleman was very polite, and shewed them up
the stair with a pair of wax candles in his hand. And so they
all sat down to dinner, and conversation went on very pleasantly,
till at length the husband, becoming familiar with them, said :
' Ladies, if it be not an uncivil question, I should like to know
how it happens that all your mouths are turned away to one
' Oh,' said ilk ane at ance, ' it 's with our constant spin-spin-
spinning? \Here speak with the mouth turned to one side, in
imitation of the ladies ^\
' Is that the case?' cried the gentleman. 'Then, John, Tarn,
and Dick, fye, go haste and burn every rock, and reel, and
spinning-wheel in the house, for I '11 not have my wife to spoil
her bonny face with spin-spin-spinning? [Imitate again.]
And so the lady lived happily with her goodman all the rest
of her days.