AINSEL

This is a variant of the ‘Noman’ story and is told in Richardson’s Table-Book about the faries of Northumberland.

A widow and her little boy lived in a cottage near Rothley. One night the child was very lively and would not go to bed when his mother did. She warned him that the fairies would come and fetch him if he sat up too late, but he only laughed and went on playing. She had not long blown out the candle when a lovely little creature jumped down the chimney and began to frisk about in front of the boy. *What do they ca’ thou.?’ he said fascinated. ‘Ainsel,’ she answered. ‘And what do they ca’ thou ‘My ainsel,’ he answered, cannily, and they began to play together like two children of one race. Presently the fire got low and the little boy stirred it up so vigorously that a cinder blew out and burnt little Ainsel on the foot. She set up a yell quite disproportionate to her size, *Wow! I’m brent! “Wha’s done it? Wha’s done it?’ said a dreadful voice from the chimney, and the boy made one leap into bed as the old fary mother shot down on to the floor. “My ainsel! My ainsel!’ said the little fairy. *Why then,’ said
her mother, ‘what’s all this noise for: there’s nyon to blame!’ And she kicked Ainsel up the chimney.

SOURCE:

An Encyclopedia of Fairies: Hobgoblins, Brownies, Bogies, and Other Supernatural Creatures written by Katharine Mary Briggs – Copyright © 1976 by Katharine Briggs

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