Sunday, January 29, 2012

My Bichon Frise Turned 20 Years Old - Meet my Fred - The Oldest Living 'Confirmed' Bichon Frise in the USA Today!

<> Fred died peacefully in his sleep on Sunday morning, March 25, 2012. He was buried Sunday evening with all the love and grace and honor that such a wonderful life companion deserves.

"We do have another current report of a 20 year old Bichon," and "we have heard of a few that may have reached 20 but their owners never sent confirmation of date of birth.  I suspect those that are supposed to have gone beyond 20 are VERY few and far between." (Feb 1, 2012, Anne at

Forever Fred the Wonder and Pumpkin, Jan. 2012

We managed to escape the ranch for a week on a last minute trip down to Port Mansfield, Texas.  The weather was so mild it was flat hot some days.  Of course we took Fred, my elderly Bichon Frise, along for the trip, and that warm weather seemed to do wonders for his old arthritic bones.  He woke up Christmas morning unable to walk because of some new problem with his right rear leg.  His lower vertebrae are all fused together, a solid mass of bone per the vet.  By the time we got back from Port he was walking good stretches on his own and managing turns as well.  I figured out a way to walk him after Christmas.  I put a leash under him and in front of his rear legs, and support him lightly with both ends of the leash.  It works remarkably well. 

Some of you know Fred from the early days when he was agile and manageable to travel to association meetings and sales.  The past few years that's not been the case, and so I've missed a lot of events out of consideration for my little Fred.  Seems silly to most people, of that I am certain.  But, we do what we do.  Fred turned 20 years old on October 28th, 1991.  I finally contacted the AKC to double check the year of birth, as I'd been thinking he turned 20 last year, but my old memory was off by one Christmas.

Freddie Boy, my 20 year old Bichon Frise, Christmas 2011
Click this link for a video of Fred on Christmas
Fred was a Christmas present for me, and he arrived on Christmas Eve 1991, a bundle of rolly polly joy from the day he arrived, and he loves me madly like I'll never be loved again.  Unfortunately, for quite some time now I rarely get a full nights sleep, or even a stretch of sleep for more than 3 hours, because only his Mom can seem to make him happy and figure out just what it is he needs - food, water, or just me to hold him until he goes back to sleep.  It's not something you think about when you get a pup, that he'll live to be a crotchety old fart that needs constant attention - and believe me it is tiresome and really wearing me down.

Freddie Boy on New Years Day 2012
Click this link for a video from New Years
There are good days for him still, for us all, like New Years Day.  He really enjoyed being outside and just hanging out in the mild weather.  This past summer was so brutal that it was the very rare event that he ever ventured outside, he can't tolerate the heat anymore, or for that matter real cold weather either.  Last September when the weather finally turned mild I brought him outside with me for a while.  I was very happy to see him interested in exploring and sniffing and just enjoying himself out of the house. 

Pumpkin the cat has a thing for Fred, she always likes to say hello to him, tries to get him to interact with her.  It's kind of strange.  Pumpkin gets along with absolutely none of the other cats on the place - once she raised her kittens she was quite done with tolerating them and considers herself very important around here.  This is a video of Fred and Pumpkin in September 2011:

One of these days I'm going to get a scanner so I can scan in some of his old photos - he was quite the cute Bichon pup and the handsome all grown up Bichon as well.  I can't imagine there are very many Bichon Frise's that have made it to 20 years and beyond, so I figure he deserves a little recognition out there for his stubborn survival of 2 decades.

And it really has been a miraculous survival.  He has had so many brushes with death it is mind boggling.  Let's see how many I can recall in order . . .

. . . . . He was deliberately run over by a young punk when he was real young and we were down in Port Mansfield.  He had gotten out of the yard and was standing in the middle of the road and the kid drove straight over him, while I'm running from the yard and screaming my head off at him to stop.  Fred was still standing there after the car passed over him, just fine except for a greasy streak across his back.

. . . . . He was attacked by a vicious and big Cocker Spaniel while he was on a long lead staked out in the front yard at Port.  The dog probably would have killed him were it not for a Labrador retriever named 'Bear' that was Fred's bud from down the street.  Bear heard the ruckus and showed up and attacked the cocker spaniel who ran off with his tail between his legs.  The cocker managed to completely shatter the brand new juvenile cataract in one of Fred's eyes - so it was a pretty rough attack.

. . . . . He jumped off the deck of our fishing cabin and landed in the water instead of the boat he was aiming for.  I was cooking inside and that sixth sense kicked in and I ran outside and there he was paddling for all he was worth in the Laguna Madre - staying like a miracle right there by the boat despite the current that should have carried him away. 

 . . . . . He survived a high speed, high impact rollover accident, along with me, that should have killed us both.  He was literally standing on all four feet after having been tossed through the window on the last roll.  We did lose our Ginger, and Fred howled in grief for her for many years.

. . . . . He fell about 20 feet from a porch to the concrete below and a little bitty BBQ pit broke his fall, and a tooth.  He went in to shock and almost died from that but for a very good vet in Beaumont.  Miraculously he only had a chipped tooth from the fall.

. . . . . He managed to walk the cattle guard and all the way across the front pasture and through the barbed wire fence and into the middle of the highway.  This was early one morning and poor Fred had been forgotten about after being put outside to do his business.  He was saved from sure death by a young family who left their camp on the lake early that Sunday morning to head home in time to go to church.  They stopped and picked him up.  It was a few hours before we found him -- he was at the police station in Woodville having a fried egg with the local cops for breakfast.

. . . . . He was snatched from my doorway by a visiting Rottweiler, literally snatched from where he stood at my feet.  His head was completely in the Rott's mouth and he was being swung back and forth, back and forth.  My Mom saved him from the Rott.  She threw herself on the dog and he dropped Fred.  All Fred had were two slits on either side of his neck that somehow managed to not hit major veins, and the shaking didn't break his neck or hardly even hurt him at all - the vet said he was indeed one lucky dog.

. . . . . He fell that same about 20 feet from the living room floor and straight down, glanced off the bottom stair we think, and hit the floor. We keep the upper stair railings roped off as they are widely spaced, something came undone and we hadn't noticed.  Anyway, Fred the Wonder Dog screamed on that fall, but didn't go into shock, and didn't break any bones or chip any teeth.

Just having problems with his lower back after all these accidents isn't so bad . . .

Forever Fred the Wonder, Born 10-28-91, AKC Registered Bichon Frise
Pictured here at 19 years old in June 2011 -
Lots of Napping may be the key to Longevity!

Friday, January 13, 2012

British White Cattle in Southeast Texas Pastures - Winter of 2012

J.West's Elvis - Having himself a lazy day in the sun . . .
Jan. 11, 2012

Lazy, I've been terribly blog lazy the past few weeks, but it's good to have some things set up and ready to post to give myself a little holiday vacation time from scratching my head about what to talk about.  Today has seen very sunny, cold and windy weather, at least compared to anything recently, and tonight it may well freeze.  I have to think the 18 plus inches of rain we've had the past couple of months, including the 3 and 7/10ths from a couple of days back, will be be of help for all the pasture plants and trees.  Did you know that the safest way for a plant in a pot to endure a freeze is to saturate the pot with water?  It actually helps protect the roots from the cold. 

I'm not sure yet just how many trees we lost in the drought, I'll wait until next spring before declaring anything for sure dead.  So if some hardwood trees that are suffering and still clinging to too many of their leaves (which means they are dead or sick) might just need the protection of wet soil to endure a freeze -- I'm mighty pleased the ground is brim full of water right now.

Limit feeding helps cut down on this sort of behavior as well!
This past summer of drought was a learning experience, but no less so has been this winter.  There have been many articles written over the past few months advising and alerting cattlemen how to manage their herds through a lean winter, and I made some changes in routine following their guidance. 

One I think that has lots of merit is limit feeding hay to your cattle.  Instead of having 24 hour access to the hay, I limit fed for several weeks, letting them in to the hay about 5PM and turning them out mid morning to eat their daily alfalfa on clean pasture.  Afterward, they would mosey around and graze a bit, nap a bit, then by about 4PM they'd begin to gather at the gate to the corral, waiting for me.  I definitely think that helped cut down hay consumption.  The premise is that some cows will just eat and eat and eat if its there, basically getting more than they need, leaving less for others who aren't so greedy. 

The other thing really hammered on by lots of the articles was the importance of adequate nutrition in that last trimester.  We all know they need to be on a good diet leading up to calving, but the problem this winter that the writers were focused on was the 'quality' of the hay being fed.  There is lots of really bad so-called 'hay' out there these days.  Even in my own very fortunate supplies of hay, I realized real quick that lots of it wasn't as good as it had been in the years past. 

So, I brought in Crystalyx mineral tubs again for the first time in a number of years.   The Crystal-Phos tubs are an excellent and reliable product, and it gives you a sense of relief having them out there, particularly through the past several weeks of lots of rain.  A dry loose mineral would have mostly been money down the drain for certain and the cows would have suffered for it I'm sure. 

J.West's El Presidente - Jan. 11 2012
The bulls on the other hand haven't seen much special treatment.  They have red mineral blocks and always the worst hay, but their daily alfalfa ration as well.  They have also begun to graze the pitiful rye grass finally coming on.  Not that I really want them to already!  But, of course I have way too many bulls on the place and they have to call some pasture home around here.  El Presidente doesn't look like he's suffering much, nor Elvis in the photo up top.  We're all getting along just fine for now (knock on wood) . . .

Friday, January 6, 2012

Shorthorn and white Park Cattle - Crossbreeding Experiment with Notable Results

Champion  White Shorthorn, A very large 19th century
bovine, or so it would appear in comparison to man and dog.

The following late 19th century account of the crossing of white Shorthorns with white Park cattle from the Chillingham herd is a very interesting read.  The heterosis from the cross was remarkable, resulting in at least a doubling of the harvest weight of the resulting steers; per some references, an almost tripling of harvest weight of a pure wild white steer. 

"This wild breed holds its own very strongly, and the first cross is not distinguishable from the pure breed in its colour or distinctive marks."  The Earl of Tankerville, ~1890, in reference to the cross breeding experiment with white Shorthorn cattle.

"The calves at birth are pure white, more creamy white afterwards, ears reddish-brown. The horns of the animals as they grow are white, with black tips; hoofs and noses black; eyes fringed with long eyelashes, which give them depth and character; bodies symmetrically formed; backs straight and level; shoulders fine, enabling them to trot like match horses with amazing rapidity. The average weights of wild (whitecattle killed from 1862 to 1889 were : bulls, 560 lbs. ; cows, 420 lbs.; and steers, 570 lbs." (Houseman, 1897)

Bruce Herald, Volume XXIV, Issue 2485, 16 June 1893, Page 4

"Our readers have heard of the famous white cattle of Chillingham, Northumberland, supposed to be the descendants of the original "Bos primigenius," but much degenerated in size, that once roamed the plains and forests of Europe in prehistoric times. There is still a herd of these cattle at Chillingham, and a recent number of the 'Agricultural Gazette' publishes a chatty and interesting article about the animals and experiments with them and thusly proceeds:

"At the Royal Show at Kilburn and again at the Smithfield Club Show in 1888 the public were much interested in the specimens of white animals which Lord Tankerville exhibited, being a cross between his own famous white wild cattle at Chillingham Park and the pure Shorthorn. In 1876 an experiment was made in putting a wild bull on four pure-bred Shorthorn heifers; only two of them bred. One produced a heifer calf (Eve), which she in her turn, never bred, and the bull (Adam), whilst running with his dam, a fine white cow, Honored Guest, got her in calf, and the produce was another bull, called Cain. At three years old this animal showed great masculine character, with extraordinary hair and flesh, though retaining some of the wild nature.
In 1884 a second experiment was made the reverse way. Two wild heifers were crossed with the white Shorthorn bull, Baron Bruce 47,387; from one of these was born, on March 20th, 1885, a white heifer called Wild Rose, and on April 13th the following year the other heifer produced a white cow calf called Wild Blossom.  Both these have since been mated with purebred white bulls from Mr. Booth's herd, Wild Rose, still breeding, having produced five calves and Wild Blossom four.
Now the second calf of Wild Rose, a heifer calved in September, 1888, called Wild Rose 2nd, has produced in her turn two bulls, which, like the rest of the male calves, have been castrated. Altogether there are to be seen in the small paddocks outside the park and adjoining the farm the two original half-bred wild cows and their ten descendants, six being females and four steers.  
On a bright winter's morning at the close of the last year the wild herd appeared remarkably quiet and well; they were lying in "happy content" on the grassy plateau to the west of Ross Castle, high up under the woods, basking in the sun. Two or three, the stragglers of the herd, got up, stretched their legs, and picked a bit here and there, but the early morning graze was finished, and a quiet hour's look at the herd from the wood showed little of their individuality. 
The herd for many years past has been numbered, and during the last five years has exceeded the usual sixty, going up to seventy three in 1890. The females ranged in the five years from thirty-five to thirty-nine, but more bulls and fewer oxen have been kept of late years.  A bull was sent in 1886, at much risk of life and limb, to the Duke of Hamilton's wild herd at Cadzow Park, near Glasgow.
Champion White Shorthorn exhibited at Smithfield, Dec. 1874
Print available from

The half-breds are kept completely apart from the wild herd, and there is rich grazing and comfortable hammels in each paddock for them. Wild Rose and Wild Blossom, both by Baron Bruce but out of different original wild cows, though each have the short legs and long, curved, upward type of horn, are deeper in their bodies than their wild ancestors, but differ in general character.

Wild Rose, with red hairy ears and dingy nose, is of broad frame and comparatively tame, though her produce inherit the wildness of her ancestors; whilst, on the contrary, Wild Blossom retains the wild type of head and horn and wild nature of her race; her hind-quarters are drooping and plain, the udder is well shaped, and she is a good milker, yet her produce are singularly tame; her third calf, a heifer, Wild Blossom 2nd by Sir Reginald Studley 58,148, was calved on January 12th, 1891, in the snow, and rarely goes under cover.  
Wild Blossom's first calf by the Rajah was calved December 3rd, 1888, and steered. It ran in the paddocks, and had, in addition, hay, a few cut turnips, and a little cake. It was killed on December 17th, 1891, and weighed 112 stone of 14 lb live weight, and dressed to 70 stone, being sold for £36 19s 6d. This is a great increase of the weight of the wild steers, as many years ago "The Druid", when writing of the Chillingham herd says, the steers always grow larger horns, and weigh from 40 to 50 stones of  14 lb in their natural state. Four steers were feeding in the paddocks during November last, and two of them would have easily carried honors in the crossbred classes at the Smithfield Show, one of them, full brother to Wild Blossom's first calf, was sold on December 12th last year for £50, he weighed alive 130 stones, and dressed 81 stones 8 1b when just three years old.  
Wild Rose 2nd by Rajah out of Wild Rose by Baron Bruce, having two crosses Shorthorn blood, is more lengthy and broader in body than her dam, the head, horns, and eye assimilating more to the shorthorn. She was served in July, but came regularly in use and was served again until November, and yet she produced a bull calf in April to the first service. The three calves by Sir Reginald Studley running with their dams were of singular merit; although shy and galloping a short distance off when approached, they were remarkably full of abundant long white hair and thick flesh, such, indeed, as would astonish the public if exhibited in our show yards."

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fairy Tales - Well Told Moral Story of Old for the New Year of 2012

May your een look straight ahead in the cockcrow of the New Year and not be turned withershins by trickster cattle traders, hay brokers, used car salesmen, politicians or the like that swoop like carrion hoodies and old witches and play on your trow . . .  A toast to all with tasty brose and wishing everyone, and their British White Cattle as well, a very Happy New Year! 


A TALE of the times of old. Far away in the north, where the purple heath spreads as thick on the hills in summer as the snow lies white in winter, where the streams flow down the granite-strewn corries of the mountains, brown gold as the topaz lying hid in their bosoms, a powerful chief ruled his clan.

Over hill and glen his domain spread far and wide, and his name was law itself in peace, and power in warfare. Now, upon two things the chief prided himself more than all else--more than his prowess in war, yes, more than the extent of his domains and power--the beauty of his wife and his own justice. What his clansmen thought of these two things is not to the point; what he thought of them was enough for himself and for us.

It must also be added that he possessed something seldom vouchsafed to men in authority, but an invaluable blessing when procurable, and that was a faithful steward, who had charge of his purse, his farm, and his treasures, with which may be included a charge not the least, you may be sure, in importance at that period--the complete control of his cellar.

Ian na Sporran was faithful to his chief, and was trusted by him in return.

Yet is any one so good or so faithful as to be safe from the dart of jealousy? I trow not. The very fact of Ian na Sporran being so faithful and so trusted was enough to create in the malignant heart of Ian na Piob, the chief bard, the most inveterate and overwhelming hatred. Rent with jealousy of Ian na Sporran, the one question for his evil heart to solve was how to contrive the steward's downfall.

"It is no use," said the chief to Ian na Piob; "it is no use to come howling to me about the falseness of your fellow-servants. Just show me if I have lost any of my corn, any of my gold, any of my wine, any of my jewels, and then I'll see into the matter. I am quite ready to attend to anything reasonable; for you know I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful."

Well, for a whole year Ian na Sporran served the chief faithfully, and for a whole year Ian na Piob thought how he might bring him low.

Now, it wanted three days to the New Year, when all the first men in the clan came yearly together before their chief to offer homage and congratulations, and Ian na Piob, pondering more desperately than ever how he could circumvent Ian na Sporran, was walking in the glen alone, kicking at every root and stone that came in his way, and giving vent from time to time to his feelings in envious groans. "Kera kaw," croaked the grey hoodie of Rothiemurchus. "What's the meaning of this ado? Have you eaten too many blackberries? or what is it that pains you so?"

 And Ian na Piob looked up, and saw the hoodie; and he considered her evil eye spoke a heart as wicked as his own, so he told his tale. 

"Is that all?" quoth the hoodie. "Why don't you say he stole the chief's golden barley?"

"Just because I cannot get at the barley; and, what's more, I have no witness to support me if I lie about it," answered Ian na Piob.

"Silly fool!" croaked the hoodie; "what will you give me if I appear as a witness in your behalf?"

"A measure of beans willingly from my own garden, and some sweetmeats I will steal from the chief's table," eagerly exclaimed Ian na Piob.

"Kera kaw! I strike that bargain," crowed the hoodie. "Bring the beans and sweetmeats to me to-morrow. Call on me when I'm wanted, and I shall be there without fail."  So the beans and sweetmeats were given, and the morn of the New Year arrived.

And indeed it was a crowd that filled the great hall of the castle that same day, as the folk came to deliver compliments to the chief and his lady, to make their statements, and to receive orders. Jauntily among them came Ian na Piob, and, pushing to the front, bowed in low obeisance.

"How now?" said the chief. "Any complaints? any advice? any wish? I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful; say on without fear."

"Ian na Sporran has been stealing your golden barley, O chief!" cried Ian na Piob, "and he should be put to death."

"Who is your witness?" said the chief. "Remember I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful, and I must have proof."

"Just the hoodie of Rothiemurchus," answered Ian na Piob; "none other than he."

"Well, in that case, Ian na Sporran," remarked the chief, turning towards him, "you must die."

"Would not your highness call the witness, and prove his truthfulness before condemning me?" asked Ian na Sporran. "If I am guilty, I am willing to die! if I am innocent, your own justice and your wife's beauty forbid that I should suffer."

"I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful," answered the chief. "You are right. Ian na Piob, call your witness."

Thrice whistled Ian na Piob, and in a trice there stood in the window the hoodie of Rothiemurchus.

"Do you take oath, O hoodie," said the chief, "that Ian na Sporran stole my golden barley?"

"I do," said the hoodie.

"How so?" asked the chief.

"Because," croaked the hoodie, without hesitation, "Ian na Sporran gave me some to eat this very morning to keep me from declaring his offence; for he knew I saw him do it. Look you how my crop is distended full, full, full!"

"Oh!" said the chief, looking at Ian na Sporran, "you must certainly die!"

"I pray you cut the witness open, and see if he speaks the truth," said Ian na Sporran.

"Do so," said the chief; "for I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful."

So they cut the hoodie open, and found nothing in his inside but some sugar and broad beans. Then they flung the carcass out of the window into the loch below, where Spottie Face, the great salmon, had his residence, who ate him up at one gulp, and that was the end of him.

"This is just nonsense!" roared the chief. "The case is dismissed; let us go in to supper." So the chief and his vassals went in to supper, and in the delights of the feast-room forgot all about the evil of the morning.

If there was an angry man in the whole district that man was Ian na Piob; nor did the sense of this failure make him give up his evil intentions, but he pondered again from that day the whole year through how he might bring Ian na Sporran to the gallows.

It was again three days before the New Year that Ian na Piob was walking through the pinewoods of Dalwhinnie, and he crushed the fallen cones of last year savagely beneath his feet into the frosty ground, while from time to time he raised his voice in angry exclamation.

"What's all this to-do about?" said the black witch of Loch Ericht, as she sat at the entrance of the dark cave, blinking with her red een in the blue reek of the peat fire that whirled in puffs out of the cavern, like smoke from some fell dragon's jaws.

At that Ian na Piob looked up; and thinking she appeared as black and as evil as himself, he lost no time in telling her his tale.  "Why don't you say he stole the chief's gold? That's easy enough, I'm sure," said she.

"Because I can't get at the gold, and I have no witness to swear for me, should I need one."

"Silly rabbit!" scornfully cried the witch. "What will you give me if the sun appears as your witness?"

"My best," said Ian na Piob.

"Well, if we want the sun," answered she, "I must brew trolls' broth to attract him. Give me the little toe of your right foot and the little toe of your left foot, and I will do the trick."

Now it must be confessed that Ian na Piob was grieved to lose any of his limbs, and to suffer pain; but what will not ail envious man do or suffer to get the better of an enemy?

So he cut off the little toe from his right foot, and the little toe from his left foot, and gave them to the witch of Loch Ericht to make trolls' broth.

"Now," said Ian na Piob, "I can't walk."

"Pooh! nonsense!" replied the witch; "you shall have my crutch and get on well enough with it." Then he gave a grunt, and snorted twice like a trumpet, and at that a queer thing came out from behind the juniper-bushes, and gave him the hag's crutch. 

"Now, come here, again to-morrow, and the broth will be brewed; then take it on New Year morning, and, walking withershins round the standing-stones of Trium, cast it on the ground as the sun rises, and he will come that day as a witness to the council." So the witch went into the cave, and Ian na Piob hobbled away lame. Let us hope the vision of revenge was a good plaster to his sore feet.

The next morning he came very, very early, you may be sure, and called on the witch, and the queer thing came out from behind the juniper bushes and gave him the bowl filled with trolls' broth, and he took it away and did just as the old hag directed him.

Oh, there was no doubt at all that it was a large crowd which came at the New Year, and gathered together in the hall of the castle, to offer congratulations to their chief and his wife, and to taste good things at his board!

And after many had spoken, and much business had been transacted, Ian na Piob, seeing his turn had come, hobbled forward, leaning on the crutch he had received from the old hag.

"How now, Ian na Piob?" said the chief. "If you have anything to say, say on. I am wearying for my supper, so be quick about it."

"Oh," answered Ian na Piob, "that fellow over there--Ian na Sporran--has been at it again! He has stolen your golden coins, and he should die."

"I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful, so I can't take your word for it alone, you know. Any witnesses? No hoodies, or any of that crew, for me this time, mind that!"

"Sir, my witness is none other than the sun himself," answered Ian na Piob.

"Oh," said the chief, turning to Ian na Sporran, "if that is so, you certainly must have your head chopped off."

"Sir," said Ian na Sporran humbly, "order him, I beg, to produce his witness. If I am guilty, then let me die."

"I am a just man, and my wife is------ What the plague are you hobbling about in that way for?" said the chief to Ian Da Piob, breaking off suddenly in the middle of the well-known sentence.

"Frost-bite!" grunted Ian na Piob. "But follow me, chief and gentlemen all, to the chamber that looks towards the south-west, and then I will prove my accusation true."

"Why to the chamber at the south-west?" asked the chief.

"Because," replied Ian na Piob, "there the stolen money lies, and my witness shall attend."

"Lead on," cried the chief, "and be quick about it, for I am very hungry indeed."

So Ian na Piob led the way to the chamber looking to the south-west, and as they entered the chamber, sure enough the sun streamed in through the window, and shone and glittered on many a golden coin that lay there in rich confusion on the floor.

"Headsman, do your duty!" cried the chief, pointing to Ian na Sporran. 

"Sir chief, I beg you, before I die, take up one of these coins and look at it narrowly in the shade, and see if it is really a golden one or not!"

"I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful," said the chief. "Hand me one of those golden coins."  So they handed him a coin, and taking it into a corner out of the sunlight, he saw it was a common coin, and not a golden one at all.

"If I had yon witness in my power," said the chief to Ian na Piob, "I'd thrash him! As for you, your punishment shall come after supper."

Then the chief took the arm of Ian na Sporran, and hurried away to the banqueting-hall, for he was very hungry indeed, and would brook no more delay.

And for that time again Ian na Piob got off his well-merited punishment, for in the delights of the feast the evil of the morning was forgotten, and indeed, the whole thing was so silly, it was scarcely worth noticing or remembering.

How savage Ian na Piob was at this second failure, you who are now acquainted with him can well imagine. He had gained nothing in the war of revenge, and had lost two toes into the bargain. "I'll have it out with that old witch at any rate!" said he. If she won't help me again better than last time, she shall be burnt, or my name isn't what it is!"

So as the next New Year came round, when, he knew, was his only opportunity, he sought the cavern, and called loudly on the witch: but when she answered, and came to the mouth of the cave, she looked so evil that his courage oozed out of his finger-tips (he had not toes enough for it to ooze out at that end), and his angry words dwindled away to a feeble whine of complaint.  "Well," quoth the hag, "what brings you here again?"

"The wretched failure of your scheme," sobbed Ian na Piob, and he then told her all that had occurred.

"And whose fault was that, I should like to know?" growled she. "I can't think of another plan fit for such a goose as you. Stay, though--no! you're so great a fool, it would be no good, so be off, I shan't take any more trouble." 

"Tell me your plan, I beseech you!" cried Ian na Piob, all pain and disappointment lost in the expectation of revenge. "I'll give anything to bring Ian na Sporran to a bad end!"

"Well, you must bring me some more sweetmeats from the chief's table, and we will prove that he stole the chief's wine this time."

"But I've no witness," wailed he. "The hoodie is dead, and the sun is no use at all; what am I to do?"

"Silly rabbit!" grunted the witch. "We'll get the moon to come, but we must brew her trolls' broth, or it can't be managed at all. Give me the big toe off your right foot, and the big toe off your left foot, and I will do the trick; or else be off, and don't bother!"

Well, Ian na Piob thought that as he had lost his little toes, his big ones might just as well go the game road, so he cut them off and gave them to the witch.

"Wow, wow, wow!" he squealed in pain. "There now, I can't walk, no, not even with the crutch!" and he sat down on the ground and waved his toeless feet in the air.

"Now, now," said the hag, "don't lie here roaring like a baby." And she gave a grunt and snorted twice like a trumpet, and the queer thing came from behind the juniper bushes, and handed him a long, broad petticoat made of stiff hog bristles, and when he had tied it round his middle with some leather thongs, it supported him on all sides.

"You look vastly pretty," said the hag, with a horrid leer.

"I wish you were made just as pretty yourself said he, as he waddled down the road as best he could. "I shall come to-morrow before sunset for the broth."

And that morrow's evening, before the shadows crept out of the fir-wood, and spread over the hillsides, Ian na Piob was at the cavern mouth again.

And the queer thing came from behind the juniper bushes, and gave into his hands the bowl of trolls' broth that the hag had in the meantime prepared.

"Go to the rock of Osinn," said the hag, "where the withered pine spreads its bare branches to the sky. There, as the moon rises, walk three times withershins round the riven trunk, and cast the broth on the ground before her."

And Ian na Piob painfully went away to the rock of Osinn, carrying the bowl of broth in one hand, and struggling with the crutch in the other, his body supported by the bristle petticoat. And he did as the hag bade him, and as the moon rose over the crags of Braeriach, he cast the broth on the ground before her, bidding her come the next day at even to be his witness when he should call.

The next day, when the New Year came, and all the retainers and vassals flocked to the castle to give greeting and receive advice, Ian na Piob came with them, clad in his petticoat of hog bristles, looking his worst, and thinking his cruelest.

"What mountebank have we here?" quoth the chief, as, at the end of the council, Ian na Piob tottered forward to make his statement.

"Alas! noble sir, 'tis the frost-bite has taken possession of my limbs completely--yea, has gotten a bit higher up than last year; but regardless of the pain I am suffering, I have come here to denounce that villain Ian na Sporran, and demand, in the name of justice, that he be put to death at once."

"How now!" cried the chief, "I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful, and I will not condemn a man without proof or witness. Say on, but beware how you trifle with me this time!"

"He has stolen your wine, and I can prove it," said Ian na Piob.

"Stolen my wine! oh, indeed, that must be put a stop to, and you," said the chief, turning to Ian na Sporran, "must be put an end to."

"Again, O chief," said Ian na Sporran, "will you listen to my enemy without certain proof?"

"Nay," answered the chief, "that is to doubt my own justice and my wife's beauty. Where is your witness?" continued he sharply, looking at Ian na Piob.

"The moon," said he, "and none other. The deed was done during the night, and she will come at eventide and give proof of it."

"The moon be praised!" ejaculated the chief, "that she don't want to come now, and that I can have my supper first." So without more ado, the chief walked out of the hall to the chamber where the feast was laid out, and in the delight of the feast forgot soon the business of the morning.

But when they had all drunk quite as much as was good for them, and had eaten, in my opinion, more than was necessary, Ian na Piob scrambled up to the chief, and begged him to step up to the chamber in the north-west tower, for there his witness was waiting to prove his accusation.

"Oh, bother!" said the chief. "Cut his head off! I don't care, and I don't want proof."

"Noble master," said Ian na Sporran, "remember you are a just man, and your wife is beautiful."

"Pest take the whole affair!" roared the chief, getting up. "I can't even have my meals in peace! I suppose, then, I must. But whoever trifles with me now is a dead man!"

So, in a fume, he bounced off after Ian na Piob, kicking him occasionally from behind to make him move faster, and followed by his lady and the rest of the vassals, who were all agog to see what would happen now.

Well, when they arrived at the north-west tower, and had entered the room, there, sure enough, were basins and goblets and beakers set about the floor and tables, and filled to overflowing with dark red wine. No doubt about it at all, for the moon was shining in at the window, and it was almost as bright as noonday.

"I have seen enough!" cried the chief. "Ian na Sporran, down on your knees, and, sword-bearer, give me my claymore! You'll take my drink, will you? I'll have your head off; you won't feel thirsty much longer!"

"I beseech you, my lord," said Ian na Sporran, falling on his knee, "taste but a drop of that wine. Grant me this one last request before I die. I will make no resistance to your demands; only grant me this one little boon."

"Well, you don't deserve it, but I will do that," replied the chief, taking up one of the cups, and placing it to his lips, "for I am a just man, and my wife is----- Ah, auch, phew, bach!!" and with a fearful grimace he spat the liquid out all over the floor.

"Give me some water, wine, brose, anything to take the taste out of my mouth! Oh, ach! phew! I'm poisoned as sure as death!" yelled the chief, rushing out of the room, and scattering them all on this side and on that in his wild dart at the door. "Secure Ian na Piob! He shall die to-morrow before cockcrow!" and he was down the stairs and his nose into a beaker of brose before any one could
say "How d'ye do?" or had recovered from the start he had given them. 

But the chief was not poisoned at all, for it was only brown burn water that Ian na Piob had poured into the goblets, and that looked so purple in the moonlight. So Ian na Piob was placed under lock and key in the dungeon below the moat, and as he was to be executed the next morning without fail, a guard was set over him to make sure of his not escaping.

But, somehow, Ian na Piob contrived to get a message sent to the chief's lady that he had something of great moment to confide to her ear alone, saying that, though he must die, it was a real pity so great a secret should be lost, especially when she could listen so easily at the keyhole, while he spoke to her on the other side of the door, and nobody would be any the wiser or any the worse.

So the chief's lady thought it could do no harm to any one, and besides, the chief need not know anything about it; moreover, she was like every other woman, as inquisitive as an ape, and could not deny her curiosity. Thus it was that at midnight she bribed the gaoler, and repaired to the dungeon where Ian na Piob was confined. There, giving. three raps upon the oaken beams, she applied her ear to the keyhole of the great door.

Now what Ian na Piob told that lady is no business of yours or mine; but what he did tell her must have been of deep consequence, and it seems to have been a secret the full explanation of which he could not give her for three days at least, inasmuch as she went straightway to the chief, her husband, and begged him to defer the execution of Ian na Piob for three days; and the chief, who by this time had recovered his temper, consented after a little demur, for his wife not only was beautiful, but when her mind was set on anything, he knew she would worry the inside out of a pig before she gave it up. Yes, poor man I he knew this only too well, from long experience! Hence his consent.

And it happened, since it was impossible for Ian na Piob to escape with the frost-bite in his limbs, as he said he had, the gaoler allowed him to go about the castle at liberty, for he did not want to be bothered to sit opposite that dungeon three whole days, and was pleased, too, to be saved the trouble of carrying food to his prisoner from time to time.

Sharp though the pain proved that Ian na Piob, was suffering, and deep his fear of the doom that was hanging over him, revenge still was the undying fire that burned in his jealous heart.

"Oh, if I could only compass somehow that fellow's death," cried he, "I should die happy!" and he bit his finger to the bone as he crouched on the stair and thought and thought and thought.

And as he sat thinking on the stairs, he happened to glance up, and the moon sailing in the frosty blue sky looked down at him through the open lattice, and he shook his fist at her and called her an evil name; and the stars came out one by one, and winked and blinked, so shocked were they at such conduct. But as he watched them, a thought, novel and crafty, struck him, and he suddenly rose, and with an evil grin on his face he took in his hand a goblet of crystal that stood on the table by his side, and with the help of the crutch and the stiff petticoat, painfully climbed the winding stairs. Then, making his way to a chamber that looked towards the south, he went in, and after locking the door on the inside, he sat down on a stool in front of the open windows. Then he closed the pine-shutters that hung on each side of the casement, and taking a sharp-pointed awl from his pouch, for two hours by the dial without ceasing he laboured to bore holes through them, some large, some small. He pierced them in straight lines and circles, so as to portray, as best he could, the sets of stars he had noticed often in the winter heavens.

Next, he broke the goblet of crystal with his crutch into small pieces, and strewing them on the table beneath the closed window, and on the floor below, he left the room with a self-satisfied grimace, shutting the door behind him, locking it, and taking the key away with him.

"Now for the key," muttered he.

"Spottie Face! Spottie Face! Spottie Face!" he cried, getting up as best he could on the sill of the passage window, and stretching his neck out as far as possible over the water of the loch below. "Spottie Face, come hither!"

And Spottie Face, the great salmon that had its residence in the pool below, looked up, expecting some food to be thrown him from above.

"Spottie Face! O Spottie Face!" continued Ian na Piob, "if I give you some sweetmeats from the chief's table, will you do me a favour?"

Now Spottie Face was a nasty, cruel thing, and did not like doing favours for anybody; but you remember it was winter, and there was not much food going or any green meat on the banks, and so he put his nose above the water and waved assent with his tail.

"Then take this key, and cast it up on the bank below the window of Ian na Sporran. You know it; it is on the other side of the castle. This is not much to ask, you must allow; and I will throw the sweetmeats out of this window after the chief has left the banqueting-hall in the evening."

So Ian na Piob threw the key out to Spottie Face, and went his way down the staircase.

But Spottie Face, when he had seized the key, found it bitter cold to the jaws, for the frost had kissed the chill metal, and he spat it up again on to the bank just where he received it, and there it lay, a dark object on the frozen snow under Ian na Piob's own window. And Spottie Face sank to the bottom of the pool.

Now the fatal day arrived when Ian na Piob was to suffer for his evil deception of the chief, and the gaoler came, and led him into the hall of the castle, where all were assembled, and the chief and his wife sat in state to see the sentence carried out.

"I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful," spoke the chief. "You deceived me, and you tried to poison me: you shall die now, that's settled!"

"A boon I crave, one boon before I die!" cried Ian na Piob. "Let me but whisper a secret of utmost value into your lady's ear."

"Nothing of the sort!" roared the chief. "Go and have your head cut off! I won't hear of any delay."

But his good lady was not going to miss knowing that secret, whatever it might be; for she had been thinking about it for the last two days, and had fretted herself a good deal, besides, on the subject. So she gave her husband one of her looks, and he knew too well to say no when she looked yes. 

Then Ian na Piob whispered in her ear.

"What? what? My jewels, my shining jewels?" screamed that lady, and, clenching her fists, she ran up to Ian na Sporran and, shaking them in his astonished face, cried: "Give me my jewels back, you thieving villain you! give back my shining jewels that you have stolen!" 

"What's all this fuss about!" asked the chief, jumping up with a bounce from his chair of state.

"Why, Ian na Piob says that Ian na Sporran has stolen my jewels! O husband dear! you must send Ian na Sporran at once to the gallows."

"Hush, softly, my love!" said he. "You are beautiful, but remember, be just as well. In fact, I don't believe a word you're saying; and as to Ian na Piob, witness or no witness, I'll never put trust in him again, that's flat!"

"How many witnesses would make you believe my word?" said Ian na Piob. "Will ten please you?"

"No!" roared the chief. "Nothing under twenty, so be off and be hung!"

"There are twenty waiting to prove this at this moment in the castle," cried Ian na Piob.

Then the chief found he was caught, and knew that if he would keep up his character for justice, he must consent to hear the case. 

"And who may these witnesses be?" growled he.

"None other than the stars of heaven," answered Ian na Piob.

"That's a low trick to escape your doom till the evening!" said the chief.

"Nay, but they are waiting you at this very moment in the south chamber," said Ian na Piob; "and what's more, the jewels are there too," whispered he in the lady's ear.

"Come along, come along!" cried she, seizing the chief by the sleeve, and the whole party, headed by Ian na Piob, made towards the door, for the chief saw he must go, willy nilly, as his wife seemed quite out of her mind.

"Now where's the key?" said he when he got to the door and found it fast locked, "that's the next thing."

"Those who hide can find! He's got it, of course," said Ian na Piob pointing to Ian na Sporran, "search him. If he has it not, depend upon it he has hid it in his chamber; and if it's not there, he's cast it out of his window. Oh, I know his tricks!"

"Why, there it is on the bank!" said one of the chief's followers, looking out of the window. And sure enough, there it was, lying on the bank just under the chamber window belonging to Ian na Piob.

So they ran down and fetched it; but Ian na Piob nearly fainted with rage, for he saw that Spottie Face the salmon had deceived him.

But now the door was opened wide, and there within without doubt the jewels lay on the table and on the floor glittering in the light of the stars that shone brightly through the window into the darkened room.

"My jewels, my jewels!" cried the chief's wife, running forward.

"O Ian na Sporran," said the chief, shaking his head, "you must this time without doubt be put an end to!"

"Yes, yes," cried his wife, "at once! at once! for he deserves it."

"I pray you, noble chief," said Ian na Sporran, "question those witnesses, and ask them the truth." 

What nonsense you're talking! Why, they are thousands of miles off," said the chief. "How can they hear me?"

"They are not further than the other side of the window," answered Ian na Sporran. "Permit me to go and beckon to them."

"Don't let him, don't let him!" shrieked Ian na Piob, hobbling forward in his petticoat to prevent him. "He's going to play some nasty trick!"

"You forget yourself, Ian na Piob!" thundered the chief; "and you forget also that I am a just man, and my wife is beautiful. Ian na Sporran, go and beckon to them."

Then Ian na Sporran went to the casement and flung the shutter wide, and the bright daylight filled the chamber, and all put up their hands to their eyes, for they were dazzled at the sudden change.

"Dear lady," said Ian na Sporran, "look now at your jewels! Nought but glass are they, you see; and--where are my enemy's witnesses? I trow they are still sleeping in the dark coffers of the night, the other side of the ocean."

"Ian na Sporran, forgive me and all of us!" said the chief coming forward, and giving him his hand. "We will never, never, never distrust you again, as long as we live. Ask me any favour, and it shall be granted."

"Then give me the life of Ian na Piob," cried lan na Sporran; "for as I am the happiest man to-day in the country, I would have none sorrow while I am glad." 

"On one condition," answered the chief. "Ian na Piob, stand forth, and with both hands uplifted, swear you will never try to give false-witness and lie to me again."

Then Ian na Piob waddled forward, and flung both his hands up over his head, but leaving go of the crutch, he overbalanced himself and fell flat on his face before the chief, and by no effort could he raise himself up again.

"You have signed your own doom," said the chief. "To the loch with him! Hanging is too good!"

Then they flung Ian na Piob, petticoat, crutch and all, out of the window into the loch below, where Spottie Face the great salmon had his residence, and he had not reached the bottom before Spottie Face had him fast, and with one great gulp swallowed him, petticoat and all.

"My dear," said his wife to the chief, "I think you are as clever as you are just," and she gave him a good kiss on his brown cheek.

"And you, my love," said he, vastly pleased, "you are as sensible as you are beautiful."

And with these words he gave her a good kiss on the left cheek, which was real good of him, don't you think, for turn and turn about is but fair play!

Source:  Scottish Fairy and Folk Tales, by George Douglas, [1901], at

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Magic Rocks and the Beggar - A Christmas Story

Folk Tales of Brittany, by Elsie Masson, [1929], at

The Magic Rocks and the Beggar

N Brittany near the sea there is a village called Plouhinec. It is surrounded by moors with here and there a grove of fir trees. There is not enough grass in the whole parish to rear an ox for the butcher nor enough bran to fatten a little pig.

But if the folk there have neither corn nor cattle they have more stones than you would need to build a town. For just outside the village there is a big stretch of heather where long ago the Korrigans, a race of elves who lived in ancient Brittany, planted two rows of tall rocks which look for all the world like an avenue, except that they lead nowhere.

Near there on the banks of the river there once lived a man named Marzin. He was rich for the place, that is to say, he could salt down a pig every day, eat as much black bread as he wanted, and buy a pair of wooden shoes every Palm Sunday.

So everyone said he was proud and haughty. He had refused his sister Rozen's hand to several ardent lovers, who earned their daily bread by the sweat of their brows.

Among the suitors for the hand of Rozen was a youth named Bernez. He was a steadfast toiler, upright as the day is long, but unfortunately he possessed nothing in the world save his industry.

Bernez had known Rozen since she was a tiny girl and when she grew up his love had grown up, too. So you can quite understand that Marzin's refusal to consider him as worthy of his sister's hand nearly broke poor Bernez' heart. Rozen, however, was still permitted to welcome Bernez on the farm.

Now one Christmas eve there was a storm and people were unable to get to midnight mass. So Marzin invited all the field-hands and several neighbors to his farm. Bernez was among them. The master of the house, to show his generosity, had planned to treat them all to a supper of pig's pudding, and a whole-meal pudding sweetened with honey. All eyes were fixed on the open fire where the supper was cooking, all, that is, except those of Bernez, who kept gazing at his darling Rozen.

Now just as Bernez was drawing the benches up to the table and Rozen had stuck the wooden spoons in a circle in the huge pasty basin, the door was pushed open and an ugly old man stepped into the room.

He was a beggar, a strange man, who had never put his foot inside a church door, and the God-fearing people were afraid of him. They accused him of placing a curse on the cattle and making the corn blacken in the ear. Some folk even went so far as to say he could turn himself into a werewolf.

However, as he wore a beggar's habit, farmer Marzin let him come near the fire, gave him a three-legged stool to sit upon and the same share of the food as the invited guests.

When the old beggar, whom folks called a wizard, had finished his meal, he asked where he could sleep. Marzin opened the door of the stable where there was only a skinny donkey and a scraggy ox. The beggar went into the stable, lay down between them to get their warmth and put his head on a sack filled with chopped heather.

Now you must remember that it was Christmas eve, and just as the beggar was about to fall asleep, midnight struck, that mysterious hour when animals of the stable are said to talk like men.

The old donkey shook his long ears and turned toward the scraggy ox.

"Well, cousin, how have you been getting on since Christmas a year ago when I last spoke to you?" he asked in a friendly voice.

"It is not worth while for us to have a gift of speech on Christmas eve on account of our ancestors having been present at the birth of the Holy Babe," the ox answered crossly, "if our only hearer is an old-good-for-nothing like this beggar."

"You are very proud, my lord of Lowing Castle," said the donkey, laughing. "But I know how to be satisfied with what I have. Anyhow can you not see that the old beggar is asleep?"

"All his witchcraft doesn't make him any the richer," the ox said, "and then when he dies he will go to a nice warm place without much profit to himself. It is strange that his chum, Old Nick, has not told him of the good luck to be had near here merely for the asking."

"What luck is that?" said the donkey.

"Well," sniffed the ox, "didn't you know that once every hundred years, and the time is drawing near, for it is on this New Year's eve, a strange thing happens? The great rocks just outside the village leave their places and go down to the river to drink. Then it is that the treasures they guard beneath them are laid bare."

"Yes, yes, I remember now," answered the donkey, "but the rocks return so quickly that they catch you and grind you into powder. Folks say that the only way to avoid their fury is to hunt a branch of verbena and bind it with a five-leaved clover. This is magic against all disaster."

"But there is another condition harder to fulfill," said the ox. "The treasures that you find will fall into dust unless in return a human soul be sacrificed. Yes, you must cause a human death if you wish to enjoy the wealth of Plouhinec." When he had said this both the animals became silent.

Now all this time the beggar had been listening to their conversation, hardly daring to breathe.

"Ah, dear beasts," he thought to himself, "you have made me rich. And you can wager your last wisp of hay that this old beggar will not go below for nothing!"

And so the wizard fell asleep. But at crack of dawn, he hastened out into the country, his eyes all eagerness to find verbena and the five-leaved clover. Well-nigh endlessly he looked, up and down, here and there, hunting inland where the air is mild and plants keep green all the year round. At last, on New Year's eve, he came back to the little town of Plouhinec. His hands were clutching as though at treasure. His face bore a striking resemblance to that of a weasel that has found its way into a dove-cote.

As he was walking across the heath to the place where the huge rocks stand, he saw Bernez. Bernez, with a pointed hammer in his hand, was chipping away at one of the largest rocks.

"Well, well," mocked the wizard, "are you trying to hollow a house out of this great stone pillar?"

"No," said Bernez quietly, "but as I am out of work just now I thought I would carve a cross on one of these accursed rocks. Perhaps it will be agreeable to Providence, and possibly I shall some day be rewarded."

"You have a request to make then?" asked the old beggar slyly.

"Every Christian wishes the salvation of his soul," answered the lad.

"Have you nothing else to ask for?" whispered the beggar.

"Ah, so you know that too!" exclaimed poor Bernez.

"Well, after all it is no sin. I love the dearest maid of all Brittany and long to go before the priest with her. But alas, her brother wants for her a husband who can count out more silver coins than I have lucky pennies."

"What would you say if I could put you in the way of earning more gold coins than the maiden's brother has silver?" murmured the wizard.

"You!" exclaimed Bernez.

"Yes, I!"

"But what will you want in return?" inquired Bernez.

"Only a prayer when you say yours," answered the wicked wizard.

"Then tell me what to do!" cried Bernez, letting his hammer fall. "I am willing to risk a score of deaths. For I should rather die than not win Rozen."

When the wizard saw Bernez was so eager he explained that the next night at the stroke of twelve the great rocks would go down to the river to drink, leaving their treasures uncovered, But the crafty beggar did not tell Bernez how to avoid being crushed when the stones returned to their places.

The lad suspected nothing. He thought he had but to be brave and swift.

"As there is a Heaven above us I shall do what you say, old man," said he. "And there will always be a pint of my blood at your service for what you have told me. Let me finish the cross that I am cutting on this rock," he continued, picking up his hammer, "and when the appointed hour arrives I shall meet you on the edge of the moor."

Bernez kept his word and was at the meeting place one hour before midnight. The beggar was already there. He had three knapsacks, one in each hand, and another hanging around his neck ready to be filled with treasure.

"Well," said the beggar to the young man, "sit down beside me and tell me what you will do when you have as much silver, gold and precious stones as you can dream of," said he.

Bernez stretched out on the heather. "When I have as much as I like," said he, "I shall give my sweet Rozen everything she wishes, linen and silk, white bread and oranges."

"And what will you do when you have as much gold as you like?" the wizard asked.

"When I have as much gold as I like," the lad answered, "I shall make Rozen's family rich, and all their friends and all their friends, too, to the limits of the parish!"

"And what will you do when you have many precious stones?" went on the wizard, laughing up his sleeve.

"Then," cried Bernez, "I shall make everyone rich and happy, and I shall declare it to be of Rozen's doing!"

While they were talking, an hour slipped by. From the distant village came the stroke of midnight. Scarcely had the last note sounded when there was convulsion on the heath and in the starlight the huge rocks could be seen, leaping from their beds, tumbling headlong towards the river to quench a century's thirst. They rushed down the hillside tearing up the soil and reeling like a throng of drunken giants. They then disappeared into the darkness.

The beggar leapt through the heather, followed by Bernez, to the place where the rocks had been. There, where they stood, two wells were glittering, filled up to their brims with gold, silver and precious stones.

Bernez uttered a cry of delight, but the beggar began to cram his wallets in the wildest haste, all the while listening for the return of the rocks, his ear turned toward the river.

He had just finished stuffing his knapsacks and Bernez had managed to pocket a few gold pieces for himself when a dull rumbling was heard, which swelled rapidly to thunder. 

The rocks had finished drinking and were coming to their places. Tumultuously they plunged forward, faster than man can run, crushing everything before them.

When Bernez saw the rocks upon them he could not move: he cried aloud, "We are done for!"

"You are!" sneered the wizard, "but this will save me," and he clasped tightly in his hand the verbena and the clover. "You must die in order for this wealth to be mine!" shouted the wizard. "Give up your dear Rozen and think about your sins!"

While the beggar was shouting the rocks rushed headlong on him but he held up his magic leaves and the huge stones stopped with a violent jerk; then passing to the right and to the left, they rushed upon Bernez.

Bernez saw that all was over. He fell on his knees and closed his eyes. The mightiest rock of all was leading. Suddenly as it reached the kneeling Bernez, a strange thing happened. The huge stone stopped, closing up the way, standing before Bernez like a barrier to protect him.

Bernez opened his eyes. Upon the mighty stone he beheld the cross that he had carved. The stone now could do no harm to a Christian. There it remained motionless before the young man till all the others had resumed their places, and then on it went, tumbling toward its own. It came upon the beggar by this time bent double with his laden bags.

The beggar held up the magic plants but the rock was carved with a cross and in consequence was no longer in the power of evil spells. It hurled itself upon the wizard and crushed him into powder.

As for Bernez, he picked himself up and slung upon his back the wizard's bags of silver, gold and precious stones, and trudged off for home with them.

And so he married pretty Rozen after all. Together they lived as happily as both their hearts. desired, and brought up as many children as has a jenny-wren in a brood.