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rainy, and the pony was safely housed; and so down he went, creeping along till he reached the stable-door. The instant he opened it, out rushed the same three little fat old men whom he and Cheery had met on their way to market, and who promised so much about the pony. As soon as they saw Grumble they set up a shout, and poked at him with their sticks. Then they danced, then laughed, and pinched and kicked Grumble without mercy. Here they beat him—there they pushed him; and at last they bound him with hay-bands hand and foot. Then they untied the pony, placed Grumble on his back, and teiling Grumble he was all the bad luck” of the house, bade the pony scamper round and round the world, and not to stop until he was told.
Away went the pony at a quick, uncomfortable, shaking trot, with
Grumble tied to his back, and was soon out of sight. Then the three little men danced out at the roof of the stable, and all again was still.
In the morning Grumble could not be found, and as the pony was missing also some old dame said she thought she had seen Grumble riding through the village the night before. Days passed, weeks passed, months passed, and sometimes a tale was spread in the village that the pony had been seen trotting through with Grumble on his back. But whenever this happened, something went wrong, At one of Grumble's visit to the village, Tom Tapster's beer turned all sour; at another visit, all the boys and girls were frightened by the bull; at a third visit, which was just before Christmas, no mistletoe could be found anywhere. In short, whenever anybody said they had seen Grumble, some ill-luck was
found to have happened just at the
Until at last, whenever things went wrong in the village, people said, “Grumble has been riding through to-day.”
As for Cheery, after he had sorrowed for the loss of the pony, everything was as gay, glad, and thriving with him, and his merry little wife, and his merry, little, good children (for after a few years he had ten of them), as any one could wish.
The Sisters. N a small cottage on the border of a wood dwelt two orphan sisters. The elder was tall, handsome, and proud beyond
degree, and was called Kate. Nell was the name of the younger, who was the plainest, pleasantest little creature ever seen.
She had but one arm, a hump on her back, a long hooked nose, and a pair of grey moustaches under it, and yet she was as merry and contented as any soul in the neighbouring village. Kate would scold and fret, while Nell laughed every trouble away.
These sisters plaited straw and combed wool for their living.
One night when the rain was pouring down, and the wind shaking the cottage, and little Nell was singing away as both of them worked together at a bundle of wool, there was a gentle tap at the door. Up rose Nell
, but Kate sought to hinder her from going to the door, saying it was only some poor beggar folk; no decent people could be out such a bad night.
The door was tapped at again and again, and soon there were heard three or four good loud raps as if with a stick. Then Kate bounced up angrily and jerked open the door; a poor old woman in a red cloak stood before it,