THE LILAC FAIRY BOOK - online childrens book

A Collection of Illustrated classic fairy tales for children by Andrew Lang

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4
THE SHIFTY LAD
other and bellow, and made such a noise that the com­pany in the farmhouse ran out to tie them up again. Then the Shifty Lad entered the room and picked up a big handful of nuts, and returned to the loft, where the Black Rogue was still sleeping. At first the Shifty Lad shut his eyes too, but very soon he sat up, and, taking a big needle and thread from his pocket, he sewed the hem of the Black Gallows Bird's coat to a heavy piece of bullock's hide that was hanging at his back.
By this time the cattle were all tied up again, but as the people could not find their nuts they sat round the fire and began to tell stories.
' I will crack a nut,' said the Shifty Lad.
' You shall not,' cried the Black Gallows Bird ; ' they will hear you.'
' I don't care,' answered the Shifty Lad. ' I never spent Hallowe'en yet without cracking a nut'; and he cracked one.
' Some one is cracking nuts up there,' said one of the merry-makers in the farmhouse. ' Come quickly, and we will see who it is.'
He spoke loudly, and the Black Gallows Bird heard, and ran out of the loft, dragging the big leather hide after him which the Shifty Lad had sewed to his coat.
' He is stealing my hide ! ' shouted the farmer, and they all darted after him ; but he was too swift for them, and at last he managed to tear the hide from his coat, and then he flew like a hare till he reached his old hiding-place. But all this took a long time, and mean­while the Shifty Lad got down from the loft, and searched the house till he found the chest with the gold and silver in it, concealed behind a load of straw and covered with loaves of bread and a great cheese. The Shifty Lad slung the money bags round his shoulders and took the bread and the cheese under his arm, then set out quietly for the Black Rogue's house.
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