“How the kettle sings to-night!” said Bess, “and how it rains!” she added. For at that moment a tremendous storm burst around the house, and the rain poured down in sheets of water, as if it meant to wash everything into the lake. The kettle now really boiled, and the lid danced up and down with the frantic leaping and jumping of the agonized Nix, who puffed and blew till his breath came out of the spout in clouds of steam.
“If your eyes were as sharp as your ears you’d see that the water is boiling over,” snapped the woman; and giving her daughter a passing push, she hurried to the fire-place, and lifted the kettle on to the ground.
But no sooner had she set it down, than the lid flew off, and out jumped a little man with green teeth and a tall green hat, who ran out of the door wringing his hands and crying—
“Three hundred and three years have I lived in the water of this lake, and I never knew it boil before!”
As he crossed the threshold, a clap of thunder broke with what sounded like a peal of laughter from many voices, and then the storm ceased as suddenly as it had begun.
The woman now saw how matters stood, and did not fail next morning to fasten an old horseshoe to the door of her house. And seeing that she had behaved unjustly to her daughter, she bought her the gayest set of pink ribbons that were to be found at the next fair.
It is on record that Bess (who cared little for slaps and sharp speeches) thought this the best bargain she had ever made. But whether the Nix was equally well satisfied is not known.
THE COBBLER AND THE GHOSTS.
Long ago there lived a cobbler who had very poor wits, but by strict industry he could earn enough to keep himself and his widowed mother in comfort.
In this manner he had lived for many years in peace and prosperity, when a distant relative died who left him a certain sum of money. This so elated the cobbler that he could think of nothing else, and his only talk was of the best way of spending the legacy.
His mother advised him to lay it by against a rainy day.
“For,” said she, “we have lived long in much comfort as we are, and have need of nothing; but when you grow old, or if it should please Heaven that you become disabled, you will then be glad of your savings.”
But to this the cobbler would not listen. “No,” said he, “if we save the money it may be stolen, but if we spend it well, we shall have the use of what we buy, and may sell it again if we are so minded.”
He then proposed one purchase after another, and each was more foolish than the rest. When this had gone on for some time, one morning he exclaimed: “I have it at last! We will buy the house. It cannot be stolen or lost, and when it is ours we shall have no rent to pay, and I shall not have to work so hard.”
“He will never hit on a wiser plan than that,” thought the widow; “it is not to be expected.” So she fully consented to this arrangement, which was duly carried out; and the bargain left the cobbler with a few shillings, which he tied up in a bag and put in his pocket, having first changed them into pence, that they might make more noise when he jingled the bag as he walked down the street.