The Old Man And The Fairies
The following story appeared in P. H. Emerson’s ‘Welsh Fairy-Tales and Other Stories’ (1894). Many years ago the Welsh mountains were full of fairies. People used to go by moonlight to see them dancing, for they knew where they would dance by seeing green rings in the grass.
There was an old man living in those days who used to frequent the fairs that were held across the mountains. One day he was crossing the mountains to a fair, and when he got to a lonely valley he sat down, for he was tired, and he dropped off to sleep, and his bag fell down by his side. When he was sound asleep the fairies came and carried him off, bag and all, and took him under the earth, and when he awoke he found himself in a great palace of gold, full of fairies dancing and singing. And they took him and showed him everything, the splendid gold room and gardens, and they kept dancing round him until he fell asleep.
When he was asleep they carried him back to the same spot where they had found him, and when he awoke he thought he had been dreaming, so he looked for his bag, and got hold of it, but he could hardly lift it. When he opened it he found it was nearly filled with gold.
He managed to pick it up, and turning round, he went home.
When he got home, his wife Kaddy said, “What’s to do, why haven’t you been to the fair?”
“I’ve got something here,” he said, and showed his wife the gold.
“Why, where did you get that?”
But he wouldn’t tell her. Since she was curious, like all women, she kept worrying him all night — for he’d put the money in a box under the bed — so he told her about the fairies.
Next morning, when he awoke, he thought he’d go to the fair and buy a lot of things, and he went to the box to get some of the gold, but found it full of cockle-shells.