The Old Man and the Fairies by Anonymous
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.