THE ENCHANTED HEAD
Once upon a time an old woman lived in a small cottage near the sea with her two daughters. They were very poor, and the girls seldom left the house, as they worked all day long making veils for the ladies to wear over their faces, and every morning, when the veils were finished, the mother took them over the bridge and sold them in the city. Then she bought the food that they needed for the day, and returned home to do her share of veil-making.
One morning the old woman rose even earlier than usual, and set off for the city with her wares. She was just crossing the bridge when, suddenly, she knocked up against a human head, which she had never seen there before. The woman started back in horror ; but what was her surprise when the head spoke, exactly as if it had a body joined on to it.
' Take me with you, good mother !' it said imploringly ; ' take me with you back to your house.'
At the sound of these words the poor woman nearly went mad with terror. Have that horrible thing always at home ? Never ! never ! And she turned and ran back as fast as she could, not knowing that the head was jumping, dancing, and rolling after her. But when she reached her own door it bounded in before her, and stopped in front of the fire, begging and praying to be allowed to stay.
All that day there was no food in the house, for the veils had not been sold, and they had no money to buy