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Popular Tales of the West Highlands
From John MacDonald, Travelling Tinker

There was a king in Erin once, who had a leash of sons. John was the name of the youngest one, and it was said that he was not wise enough; and this good worldly king lost the sight of his eyes, and the strength of his feet. The two eldest brothers said that they would go seek three bottles of the water of the green Isle that was about the heaps of the deep ("Eilean uaine a bha 'n iomal torra domhain."). And so it was that these two brothers went away. Now the fool said that he would not believe but that he himself would go also. And the first big town he reached in his father's kingdom, there he sees his two brothers there, the blackguards! "Oh! my boys," says the young one, "it is thus you are?" "With swiftness of foot," said they, "take thyself home, or we will have thy life." "Don't be afraid, lads. It is nothing to me to stay with you." Now John went away on his journey till he came to a great desert of a wood. "Hoo, hoo!" says John to himself, "It is not canny for me to walk this wood alone." The night was coming now, and growing pretty dark. John ties the cripple white horse that was under him to the root of a tree, and he went up in the top himself. He was but a very short time in the top, when he saw a bear coming with a fiery cinder in his mouth. "Come down, son of the king of Erin," says he. "Indeed, I won't come. I am thinking I am safer where I am." "But if thou wilt not come down, I will go up," said the bear. "Art thou, too, taking me for a fool?" says John. "A shaggy, shambling creature like thee, climbing a tree!" "But if thou wilt not come down I will go up," says the bear, as he fell out of hand to climb the tree. "Lord! thou canst do that same?" said John; keep back from the root of the tree, then, and I will go down to talk to thee." And when the son of Erin's king drew down, they came to chatting. The bear asked him if he was hungry. "Weel! by your leave," said John, "I am a little at this very same time." The bear took that wonderful watchful turn and he catches a roebuck. "Now, son of Erin's king," says the bear, "whether wouldst thou like thy share of the buck boiled or raw?" "The sort of meat I used to get would be kind of plotted boiled," says John; and thus it fell out. John got his share roasted. "Now," said the bear, "lie down between my paws, and thou hast no cause to fear cold or hunger till morning." Early in the morning the Mathon (bear) asked, "Art thou asleep, son of Erin's king?" "I am not very heavily," said he. "It is time for thee to be on thy soles then. Thy journey is long - two hundred miles; but art thou a good horseman, John?" "There are worse than me at times," said he. "Thou hadst best get on top of me, then." He did this, and at the first leap John was to earth.

"Foil! foil!" says John. "What! thou art not bad at the trade thyself. Thou hadst best come back till we try thee again." And with nails and teeth he fastened on the Mathon, till they reached the end of the two hundred miles and a giant's house. "Now, John," said the Mathon, "thou shalt go to pass the night in this giant's house; thou wilt find him pretty grumpy, but say thou that it was the brown bear of the green glen that set thee here for a night's share, and don't thou be afraid that thou wilt not get share and comfort." And he left the bear to go to the giant's house. "Son of Ireland's King," says the giant, "thy coming was in the prophecy; but if I did not get thy father, I have got his son. I don't know whether I will put thee in the earth with my feet, or in the sky with my breath." "Thou wilt do neither of either," said John, "for it is the brown bear of the green glen that set me here." "Come in, son of Erin's king," said he, "and thou shalt be well taken to this night." And as he said, it was true. John got meat and drink without stint. But to make a long tale short, the bear took John day after day to the third giant. "Now," says the bear, "I have not much acquaintance with this giant, but thou wilt not be long in his house when thou must wrestle with him. And if he is too hard on thy back, say thou, 'If I had the brown bear of the green glen here, that was thy master.' " As soon as John went in - "Ai! ail! or ee! ee!!" says the giant, "If I did not get thy father, I have got his son;" and to grips they go. They would make the boggy bog of the rocky rock. In the hardest place they would sink to the knee; in the softest, up to the thighs; and they would bring wells of spring water from the face of every rock. The giant gave John a sore wrench or two. "Foil! foil!" says he, "if I had here the brown bear of the green glen, thy leap would not be so hearty." And no sooner spoke he the word than the worthy bear was at his side. "Yes! yes!" says the giant, "son of Erin's king, now I know thy matter better than thou dost thyself." So it was that the giant ordered his shepherd to bring home the best wether he had in the hill, and to throw his carcass before the great door. "Now, John," says the giant, "an eagle will come and she will settle on the carcass of this wether, and there is a wart on the ear of this eagle which thou must cut off her with this sword, but a drop of blood thou must not draw." The eagle came, but she was not long eating when John drew close to her, and with one stroke he cut the wart off her without drawing one drop of blood. ("Och! is not that a fearful lie?") "Now," said the eagle, "come on the root of my two wings, for I know thy matter better than thou dost thyself." He did this; and they were now on sea, and now on land, and now on the wing, till they reached the Green Isle. "Now, John," says she, "be quick, and fill thy three bottles; remember that the black dogs are away just now." ("What dogs?" "Black dogs; dost thou not know that they always had black dogs chasing the Gregorach!) When he filled the bottles with the water out of the well, he sees a little house beside him. John said to himself that he would go in, and that he would see what was in it. And the first chamber he opened, he saw a full bottle. ("And what was in it?" "What should be in it but whisky.") He filled a glass out of it, and he drank it; and when he was going, he gave a glance, and the bottle was as full as it was before. "I will have this bottle along with the bottles of water," says he.

Then he went into another chamber, and he saw a loaf; he took a slice out of it, but the loaf was as whole as it was before. "Ye gods! I won't leave thee," says John. He went on thus till he came to another chamber. He saw a great cheese; he took a slice off the cheese, but it was as whole as ever. "I will have this along with the rest," says he. Then he went to another chamber, and he saw laid there the very prettiest little jewel of a woman he ever saw. "It were a great pity not to kiss thy lips, my love," says John.

Soon after, John jumped on top of the eagle, and she took him on the self same steps till they reached the house of the big giant, and they were paying rent to the giant, and there was the sight of tenants and giants and meat and drink. "Well! John," says the giant, "didst thou see such drink as this in thy father's house in Erin?" "Pooh," says John, "Hoo! my hero; thou other man, I have a drink that is unlike it." He gave the giant a glass out of the bottle, but the bottle was as full as it was before. "Well!" said the giant, "I will give thee myself two hundred notes, a bridle and a saddle for the bottle." "It is a bargain, then," says John, "but that the first sweetheart I ever had must get it if she comes the way." "She will get that," says the giant; but, to make the long story short, he left each loaf and cheese with the two other giants with the same covenant that the first sweetheart he ever had should get them if she came the way.

Now John reached his father's big town in Erin, and he sees his two brothers as he left them - the "blackguardan!" "You had best come with me, lads," says he, "and you will get a dress of cloth, and a horse and a saddle and bridle each." And so they did; but when they were near to their father's house, the brothers thought that they had better kill him, and so it was that they set on him. And when they thought he was dead, they threw him behind a dike; and they took from him the three bottles of water, and they went home. John was not too long here, when his father's smith came the way with a cart load of rusty iron. John called out, "Whoever the Christian is that is there, oh! that he should help him." The smith caught him, and he threw John amongst the iron; and because the iron was so rusty, it went into each wound and sore that John had; and so it was, that John became rough skinned and bald. Here we will leave John, and we will go back to the pretty little jewel that John left in the Green Isle. She became pale and heavy; and at the end of three quarters, she had a fine lad son. "Oh! in an the great world," says she, "how did I find this?" "Foil! foil!" says the hen-wife, "don't let that set thee thinking. Here's for thee a bird, and as soon as he sees the father of thy son, he will hop on the top of his head." The Green Isle was gathered from end to end, and the people were put in at the back door and out at the front door; but the bird did not stir, and the babe's father was not found. Now here, she said she would go through the world altogether till she should find the father of the babe. Then she came to the house of the big giant and sees the bottle. "Ai! Ai!!" said she, "who gave thee this bottle?" Said the giant, "It was young John, son of Erin's king, that left it." "Well, then, the bottle is mine," said she. But to make the long story short, she came to the house of each giant, and she took with her each bottle, and each loaf, and each cheese, till at length and at last she came to the house of the king of Erin. Then the five-fifths of Erin were gathered, and the bridge of nobles of the people; they were put in at the back door and out at the front door but the bird did not stir. Then she asked if there was one other or any one else at all in Erin, that had not been here. "I have a bald rough-skinned gillie in the smithy," said the smith, "but,"

"Rough on or off, send him here," says she. No sooner did the bird see the head of the bald rough-skinned gillie, than he took a flight and settles on the bald top of the rough skinned lad. She caught him and kissed him. Thou art the father of my babe."

"But, John," says the great king of Erin, "It is thou that gottest the bottles of water for me." "Indeed, 'twas I says John. "Weel, then, what art thou willing to do to thy two brothers?" "The very thing they wished to do to me, do for them;" and that same was done. John married the daughter of the king of the Green Isle, and they made a great rich wedding that lasted seven days and seven years, and thou couldst but hear leeg, leeg, and beeg, beeg, solid sound the peg drawing. Gold a-crushing from the soles of their feet to the tips of their fingers, the length of seven years and seven days.


Bha rgh air Eirinn aon uair, aig an robh triủir mhac, 's b' ainm don fhear a b' ige Iain, 's bha e air a radh nach robh e glic na leir, agus chaill an rgh saoghalta so sealladh a shủilean, 's lủgh nan cas. Thubhairt: an da bhrthair bu shine gun rachadh iadsan air tir tri botuil uisge do'n eilean uaine a bha 'n iomall torra domhain, agus 'se bh' ann gun d' fhalbh an da bhrthair so. Thubhairt an t-amadan nach creideadh e fin nach falbhadh e cuideachd, agus a cheud bhailemr do 'n d' thinig e ann an roghachd athar, faicear a dha bhrthair an sin 'nam blaigeartan! "O a bhalacha! " ars' am fear g, "an ann mar so a tha sibhse." "Air luathas do chas," ars' iadsan, "thoir an tigh ort air neo bithidh do bheatha againn. " "Na bitheadh eagal oirbh romham cha 'n fhiach leamsa fanachd maille ribh." Dh' fhalbh Iain an so air a thurus, gus an d' thinig e gu fsach mr do choille. Hu! Huth! ars' Iain ris fin, "Cha 'neil e cneasda dhmhsa a' choille so a choiseachd leam fhin. " Bha 'n oidhche a' tighinn a nis, 's i fs gu math dorcha. Ceangailear Iain an t-each bacach, bn a bha foidhe ri bun craoidhe 's chaidh e fin suas 'na brr. Cha robh e ach goirid 'na brr gus am fac e math-ghamhainn a' tighinn 's eibhleag theine na bheul. "Thig a nuas, a mhic rgh Eirinn," ars' esan. "Gu dearbh, cha d' thig, tha mi smaointeachadh gu' bheil mi nis taruinte far am bheil mi." "Ach mur d' thig thusa nuas thid mise suas," arsa 'm math-ghamhainn. " 'M bheil thusa 'gam ghabhail 'nam amadan cuideachd," thuirt Iain. Creutair robagach, liobarta coltach riutsa a streapadh chraobh. "Ach mur d' thig thusa nuas, thid mise suas," ars' am math-ghamhainn 's e toirt a ghrad limh air streapadh na craoibhe. "'S dia ni thu sin fhin," thuirt Iain. Fan air t' ais fo bhun na craoibhe, mata, 's thid mi sos a bhruidhinn riut." Agus dur a theirinn mac rgh Eirinn a nuas, thinig iad gu cracaireachd. Dh' fherich a' mhath-ghamhainn dheth, 'an robh an t-acras air? "Uill le 'r cead," ars' Iain, "tha beagan orm dheth 'sa cheart am so fein." Thug am math-ghamhainn an sgrob uallach, aighearach ud, 's beirear air boc earba. "A nis, a mhic rgh Eirinnn," arsa am math-ghamhainn, "Co 's ferr leat do chuid do 'n bhoc bruich na amh." "An sersa bidh a b bhairt dhmhsa fhaotainn, bhitheadh sersa plotadh bruich airs, ars' Iain. Agus 'sann a so mar thachair. Fhuair Iain a chuid fhin riste. "A nis, " arsa 'm math-ghamhainn, "luidh sos eadar mo spgan-sa, 's cha 'n eagal fuachd no acrais dhuit gu madainn." Moch 'sa mhadainn, dh' fhoighneachd am math-ghamhainn, "Am bheil thu 'd chadal, a mhic rgh Eirinn?" "Cha 'n 'eil anabarrach trom," thuirt esan. "Tha 'n t-m dhuit a bhi air do bhuinn mata, tha 'n t-astar fada, da cheud mle; ach am bheil thu 'nad 'mharcaiche math, Iain?" "Tha na' s miosa na mi air amannan," thuirt esan. " 'S ferr dhuit tighinn air mo mhuinn mata." Rinn e so, agus air a cheud leum, bha Iain ri talamh. "Fil! Fil ars' Iain, "d 'cha 'n 'eil thu fhein dona air a cheaird! 'S ferr dhuit tighinn air t-ais gus am feuch sinn a rithist thu;" 's le iongan s fiaclan ghreimich e ris a mha'ghan, gus an d' rinig iad ceann an d cheud mle, 's tigh famhair. "Nis Iain," arsa 'm ma'ghan, "thid thu chuir seachad na h-oidhche ann an tigh an fhamhair so." Gheibh thu e gu maith gn, ach abair thusa gur e math-gamhainn donn a' ghlinn uaine, a chuir thusa an so air son cuid oidhche, agus na biodh eagal ort nach fhaigh thu cuid 'us comhnadh. 'S dh fhg am math-gamhainn e 'dol gu tigh an fhamhair. "A mhic rgh Eirinn," ars' am famhair, bha 'san targradh thu bhi tighinn, ach mar d' fhuair mi t' athair, fhuair mi 'mhac; cha 'n 'eil fios agam co dhiu chuireas mi 'san talamh thu le m' chasan, no 'san adhar le m'anail." "Cha den thu aon chuid do 'n da chuid," thuirt Iain, oir se math-ghamhainn donn a' ghlinn uaine a chuir mise 'n so." "Thig a stigh, a mhic rgh Eirinn," thuirt esan, " 's gheibh thu gabhail agad gu maith a nochd;" agus mar thubhairt b 'fhor. Fhuair Iain biadh s deoch gun ghainne; ach gus an sgeulachd fada a dheanamh goirid, thug am math-gamhainn Iain latha an digh latha gus an treas famhair. "A nis," ars' am math-gamhainn, "cha' n 'eil mran elais agamsa air an fhamhair so, ach cha bhi thu fada 'na thigh dar a dh' fheumas tu dol a ghleachd ris, agus ma bhitheas e tullidh 's cruaidh air do shon, abair thusa na 'm biodh agamsa ma'ghan donn a ghlinn uaine, be sin do maighstir." Co luath 'sa chaidh Iain a stigh, "Ai! Ai! ars' am famhair mr, mar dfhuair mi t' athair, fhuair mi 'mhac, agus 'sa chile ghabh iad; 's dhanadh iad a bhogan don chreagan - an t-ite bu chruaidhe rachadh iad foidhe gu 'n glủinean 's an t-ite bu bhuige gu 'n slisdean, 's bheireadh iad fuaranan fior-uisge a h-aodann gach creagain. Thug am famhair fsgadh goirt na dithis do dh' Iain. "Fil! Fil" thuirt esan, "Na'm biodh agamsa an so math-gamhainn donn a' ghlinn uaine, cha bhiodh do leum co sunndach;" agus cha luaith a labhair e 'm facal na bha am ma'ghan cir ri 'thaobh. "Seadh! Seadh! ars' am famhair, "a mhic rgh Eirinn, tha fios agam a nis air do ghnothach n' is ferr na tha agad fhin." 'Se bh' ann gun d-rduich am famhair do 'n chobair aige am molt a b fherr a bha 's a' bheinn a thoirt dhachaidh, agus a' chlosach a thilgeadh ma choinneamh an doruis mhir. "A nis, Iain, ars' am famhair, thig iolaire, agus luidhidh i air closach a mhuilt so, agus tha foinneamh air cluais na h-iolaire so, a dh' fheumas tusa a ghearradh dhi le aon bheum leis a' claidheamh so, ach deur fola cha 'n fheud thu tharruinn." Thinig an iolaire, 's cha robh i fada 'g itheadh dar a theann Iain rithe, 's le aon bheum gherr e 'm foinneamh dhi gun aon deur fola a tharruinn. "A nis arsa 'n iolaire, thig air bhun mo dha sgithe, bho 'n a tha fios agam air do ghnothuch n' is ferr na th' agad fin." Rinn e so, agus bha iad uair air muir, 's uair air talamh, 's uair air an sgiathan, gus an d' rinig iad an t-Eilean uaine. "Nis Iain, ars' ise, bi ealamh, 's lon do bhotuil; cuimhnich gu bheil na coin dhubha air falbh an ceartair." Nuair a lon a na botuil do 'n uisge as an tobar, faicear tigh beag limh ris. Thuirt Iain ris fin gu'n rachadh e stigh, s gu 'm faiceadh e d bh ann, agus a cheud smar a dh' fhosgail e, chunnaic e botull ln do dh-uisge beatha, lon e gloinne as, 's dh' l e 'san uair a dh' l, thug e sủil, 's bha 'm botull cho ln sa bha e roimhe. "Bithidh 'm botull so agam cmhla ris na botuil uisge," ars' esan. Chaidh e 'n sin a stigh do sheomar eile, 's chunnaic e builionn; thug e sliseag as, ach bha 'm builionn cho sln sa bha e roimhe. "Dia cha 'n fhg mi thus'," ars' Iain. Chaidh e air aghaidh mar so gus an d' rinig e semar eile; chunnaic e mulachag mhr chise, thug e sliseag do 'n mhulachaig, ach bha i cho sln sa bha i roimhe. "Bithidh so agam cmhla ri cch," ars' esan. Chaidh e 'n so gu semar eile, 's faicear 'na luidhe an sin an t-aon illeagan boirionnaich bu bhoidhche a chunnaic e riamh. "Bu mhr am beud gun phg beil a thoirt dhuit, a ghaoil," ars' Iain. Beagan 'na dheigh so, leum Iain air muin na h-iolaire 's thug i e air a chas cheum cheudna, gus an d-rinig iad tigh an fhamhair mhir, 's bha iad a pidheadh a mhil do 'n famhair, agus 's ann an sin a bha 'n sealladh air tuathanaich, 's famhairean, 's biadh, 's deoch. "Uil, Iain," ars' am famhair, "am fac thu 'leithid so do dheoch ann an tigh t'athar an Eirinn." "Puth!" ars' Iain, "hu; a laochain, a dhuine eile, tha deoch agamsa nach ionann." Thug e gloinne do 'n fhamhair as a bhotul, ach bha 'm botul cho ln 'sa bha e roimhe. "Mata, ars' am famhair, "bheir mi fhin da chud nott dhuit air son a' bhotuil, srian, agus diollaid." " 'S bargain e mata," ars' Iain, "ach gu 'feum an ceud leannan a bha agamsa fhaotainn ma thig i n rathad." "Gheibh i sin," ars' am famhair, ach gus an sgeulachd fada a dheanamh goirid, dh' fhg e gach builionn 's gach mulachag aig an da fhamhair eile, air a' chumhnant cheudna gu' faigheadh an ceud leannan bha aige-san iad na 'n d' thigeadh i 'n rathad. Rinig Iain an so baile mr athar ann an Eirinn, 's faicear a dha bhrthair mar dh' fhg e iad 'nam blaigeartan. " 'S ferr dhuibh tighinn dhachaidh leamsa, 'illean," ars' esan, 's gheibh sibh deis' eudaich, 's each, 's diollaid, 's srian am fear; agus mur so rinn iad; ach dar a bha iad dlủth do thigh an athair, smaoinich a bhrithrean gum bfherr dhoibh a mharbhadh, agus s e bh'ann gun do thisich iad air, 's dar a shaoil leo e bhi marbh, thilg iad e air củl grraidh, 's thug iad uaidh na tri botuil uisge, 's dh' fhalbh iad dhachaidh. Cha robh Iain ro fhada an so, nuair a thinig an gobha aig athair an rathad le ln cairt do dh' iarunn meirgeach. Ghlaodh Iain a mach co air bith an crosduidh bha 'n sin, O! e dheanamh cobhair dhsan. Rug an gobha air, 's thilg e Iain am measg an iaruinn, agus leis cho, meirgeach 'sa bha n t-iarrunn, chaidh e ann's gach lot's creuchd a bh' air Iain, agus s e bh' ann, gun do chinn Iain maol, carrach. Fgaidh sinn Iain an so, agus tillidh sinn ris an ailleagan bhidheach a dhfhg Iain 'san eilean uaine. Chinn i n so trom, torrach, breac, ballach, 'san ceann tri rithean, bha mac bragh gille aice. "O air an t-saoghail mhr," ars' ise, "cia mar a fhuair mise so?" "Foil! Foil!" ars' a' chailleach chearc, "Na cuireadh sin smaointeach ort; so dhuit eun, agus co luath sa chi e athair do mhic, leumaidh e air mullach a chinn. Chaidh an t-eilean uaine a chruinneachadh bho cheann gu ceann, s an sluagh a chur a stigh air an dorus chủil 's amach air an dorus bheoil, ach cha do ghluais an t-eun, 's cha d' fhuaireadh athair an leinibh. Thubhairt i 'n so gu falbhadh i feadh an t-saoghail gu leir, gus am faigheadh i athair a leinibh. Thinig i 'n so gu tigh an fhamhair mhir, agus faicear am botul. "Ai! Ai!" deir ise, "co thug dhuit am botul so?" Thuirt am famhair. " 'Se Iain g mac rgh Eirinn adh' fhg e." "Mata 's leamsa am botul," thuirt ise, ach gu an sgeulachd fad' a dhenamh goirid, thinig i gu tigh gach famhair, 's thug i leatha gach botul 's gach builionn 's gach mulachag chise; gus ma dheireadh thall, thinig i gu tigh rgh Eirinn. Chaidh 'n so cuig cuigeamh na h-Eirinn a chruinneachadh 's drochaid cheudan na maith. Chaidh an cur a stigh air an dorus chủil, 's a mach air an dorus bheil, ach cha do ghluais an t-eun. "Dh' fheraich i 'n so, an robh a h-aon na h-aon idir eile ann an Eirinn nach robh 'n so?" "Tha gille maol, carrach anns a' cherdach agamsa," thuirt an gobha ach;" "Car air na dheth, cuir an so e" deir ise: 's cha bo luaithe a chunnaic an t-eun ceann a ghille mhaoil charraich na 'thug e iteag 's luidhear air maol mhullaich a' ghille charrich. Rug i air 's phg i e." " 'S tusa athair mo leinibh." "Ach Iain," arsa rgh mr Eirinn. " 's tusa a fhuair na botuil uisge dhmhsa. " "Ach gu dearbh s mi, " ars' Iain. "Uil, mata, d tha thu toileach a dhanamh ri d dhithis bhraithrean?" "A cheart rud a bha iadsan toileach a dhanamh ormsa, cur as doibh;" agus 's e sin fein a rinneadh. Phs Iain's nighean rgh an Eilean Uaine, 's rinn iad banais mhr ghreadhnach a mhair seachd lathan 's seachd bliadhna 's cha chluinneadh tu ach lig, lig, 's big, big, fuaim tail 's tarruing pinne, r 'ga phronnadh bho bhonn an coise gu barr am meir fad sheachd bliadhna 's sheachd lathan.

Written from the recitation of JOHN MACDONALD, travelling tinker. He wanders all over the Highlands, and lives in a tent with his family. He can neither read nor write. He repeats some of his stories by heart fluently, and almost in the same words. I have followed his recitation as closely as possible, but it was exceedingly difficult to keep him stationary for any length of time.


The tinker's comments I got from the transcriber. John himself is a character; he is about fifty years of age; his father, an old soldier, is alive and about eighty; and there are numerous younger branches; and they were all encamped under the root of a tree in a quarry close to Inveraray, at Easter 1859.

The father tells many stories, but his memory is failing. The son told me several, and I have a good many of them written down. They both recite; they do not simply tell the story, but act it with changing voice and gesture, as if they took an interest in it, and entered into the spirit and fun of the tale. They belong to the race of "Cairds," and are as much nomads as the gipsies are.

The father, to use the son's expression, "Never saw a school." He served in the 42d in his youth. One son makes horn spoons, and does not know a single story; the other is a sporting character, a famous fisherman, who knows all the lochs and rivers in the Highlands, makes flies, and earns money in summer by teaching Southerns to fish. His ambition is to become an under-keeper.

This bear story is like a great many others which I have got elsewhere in the Highlands, but I have none told exactly in the same way. It should be much longer, but the wandering spirit of the man would not let him rest to dictate his story. They had to move to an outhouse and let him roam about amongst the shavings, and swing his arms, before this much was got out of him.

I have found the same restlessness amongst wanderers elsewhere. I could never get Lapps to sit still for ten minutes when I tried to draw them; and the air of a house seemed to oppress them. I have hitherto failed in catching an English tinker, whom I let slip one day in London, and to whom I promised good pay if he would come and dictate a story which he had told me. There is a similar wandering population in Norway and Sweden. They own boats and carts, and pretend to magic arts; and are feared and detested by householders as wizards and thieves. It is said that these Norwegian wanderers hold a meeting on a hill near Christiania, once a year, and barter and sell, and exchange whatever they may have acquired in their travels. I have heard a great deal about them from peasants. I have seen them, but very seldom in Norway. I once met a party in the gloaming on a Swedish road, and a little girl, who was following and driving a gentleman in a posting cart, when she met them, flogged her horse and galloped for dear life.

There is a similar race in Spain, and though they are not all gipsies, they are classed with them. The history of these wanderers would be curious if it could be learned. Borrow's Bible in Spain gives some insight, but there is still much to be known about them. "London Labour and the Poor," and reports on "Ragged Schools," treat of similar people.

This story may be compared with Grimm's Water of Life.

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