Peasie and Beansie by Flora Annie Steel
Once upon a time there were two sisters, who lived together; but while
the elder, Beansie by name, was a hard quarrelsome creature, apt to
disagree with everybody, Peasie, the younger, was soft and most
Now, one day, Peasie, who was for ever trying to please somebody, said
to her sister, 'Beansie, my dear! don't you think we ought to pay a
visit to our poor old father? He must be dull nowit is harvest
time, and he is left alone in the house.'
'I don't care if he is!' replied Beansie. 'Go yourself! I'm not
going to walk about in the heat to please any old man!'
So kind Peasie set off alone, and on the way she met a plum-tree.
'Oh, Peasie!' cried the tree, 'stop a bit, there's a good soul, and
tidy up my thorns a little; they are scattered about so that I feel
'So they are, I declare!' returned Peasie, and forthwith set to work
with such a will that ere long the tree was as neat as a new pin.
A little farther on she met a fire, and the fire cried out, 'Oh, sweet
Peasie! tidy up my hearth a bit, for I am half choked in the ashes!'
'So you are, I declare!' returned good-natured Peasie, setting herself
to clear them away, until the fire crackled and flamed with pleasure.
Farther on she met a pīpal tree, and the pīpal called
out, 'Oh, kind Peasie! bind up this broken branch for me, or it will
die, and I shall lose it!'
'Poor thing! poor thing!' cried soft-hearted Peasie; and tearing a
bandage from her veil, she bound up the wounded limb carefully.
After a while she met a stream, and the stream cried out, 'Pretty
Peasie! clear away the sand and dead leaves from my mouth, for I
cannot run when I am stifled!'
'No more you can!' quoth obliging Peasie; and in a trice she made the
channel so clear and clean that the water flowed on swiftly.
At last she arrived, rather tired, at her old father's house, but his
delight at seeing her was so great that he would scarcely let her away
in the evening, and insisted on giving her a spinning-wheel, a
buffalo, some brass pots, a bed, and all sorts of things, just as if
she had been a bride going to her husband. These she put on the
buffalo's back, and set off homewards.
Now, as she passed the stream, she saw a web of fine cloth floating
'Take it, Peasie, take it!' tinkled the stream; 'I have carried it
far, as a reward for your kindness.'
So she gathered up the cloth, laid it on the buffalo, and went on her
By and by she passed the pīpal tree, and lo! on the branch she
had tied up hung a string of pearls.
'Take it, Peasie, take it!' rustled the pīpal; 'I caught it
from a Prince's turban as a reward for your kindness.'
Then she took the pearls, fastened them round her pretty slender
throat, and went on her way rejoicing.
[Illustration: Peasie and her buffalo]
Farther on she came to the fire, burning brightly, and on it was a
girdle with a nice hot sweet-cake.
'Take it, Peasie, take it!' crackled the fire; 'I have cooked it to a
turn, in reward for your kindness.'
So lucky Peasie took the nice hot cake, and, dividing it into two
pieces, put one aside for her sister, and ate the other while she went
on her way.
Now when she reached the plum-tree, the topmost branches were bending
down, covered with ripe yellow fruit.
'Take some, Peasie, take some!' groaned the laden tree; 'I have
ripened these as a reward for your kindness.'
So she gathered her veil full, and eating some, set the rest aside for
her sister; but when she arrived at home, instead of being pleased at
her little sister's good fortune and thoughtfulness, disagreeable
Beansie nearly cried with spite and envy, and was so cross, that poor
little sweet Peasie became quite remorseful over her own luck, and
suggested that her sister might be equally fortunate if she also went
to visit her father.
So, next morning, greedy Beansie set off to see what she could get
from the old man. But when she came to the plum-tree, and it cried
out, 'Oh, Beansie! stop a bit and tidy up my thorns a little, there's
a good soul!' the disobliging Beansie tossed her head, and replied, 'A
likely story! Why, I could travel three miles in the time it would
take me to settle up your stupid old thorns! Do it yourself!'
And when she met the pīpal tree, and it asked her to tie up its
broken branch, she only laughed, saying, 'It doesn't hurt me,
and I should have walked three miles in the time it would take to set
it right; so ask somebody else!'
Then when the fire said to her, 'Oh, sweet Beansie! tidy up my hearth
a bit, for I am half choked by my ashes,' the unkind girl replied,
'The more fool you for having ashes! You don't suppose I am going to
dawdle about helping people who won't help themselves? Not a bit of
So when she met the stream, and it asked her to clear away the sand
and the dead leaves which choked it, she replied, 'Do you imagine I'm
going to stop my walk that you may run? No, no!every one for
At last she reached her father's house, full of determination not to
go away without a heavy load for at least two buffaloes, when, just as
she was entering the courtyard, her brother and his wife fell upon
her, and whacked her most unmercifully, crying, 'So this is your plan,
is it? Yesterday comes Peasie, while we were hard at work, and
wheedles her doting old father out of his best buffalo, and goodness
knows what else besides, and to-day you come to rob us! Out of
the house, you baggage!'
With that they hounded her away, hot, tired, bruised, and hungry.
'Never mind!' said she, to console herself, 'I shall get the web of
Sure enough, when she crossed the stream, there was a web, three times
as fine as Peasie's, floating close to the shore, and greedy Beansie
went straight to get it; but, alas! the water was so deep that she was
very nearly drowned, while the beautiful cloth floated past her very
fingers. Thus all she got for her pains was a ducking.
'Never mind!' thought she, 'I'll have the string of pearls!'
Yes, there it hung on the broken branch; but when Beansie jumped to
catch it, branch and all fell right on her head, so that she was
stunned. When she came to herself, some one else had walked off with
the pearls, and she had only a bump on her head as big as an egg.
All these misfortunes had quite wearied her out; she was starving with
hunger, and hurried on to the fire, hoping for a nice hot sweet
Yes, there it was, smelling most deliciously, and Beansie snatched at
it so hastily that she burnt her fingers horribly and the cake rolled
away. Before she had done blowing at her fingers and hopping about in
pain, a crow had carried off the cake, and she was left lamenting.
'At any rate, I'll have the plums!' cried miserable Beansie, setting
off at a run, her mouth watering at the sight of the luscious yellow
fruit on the topmost branches. First she held on to a lower branch
with her left hand, and reached for the fruit with the right; then,
when that was all scratched and torn by the thorns, she held on with
her right, and tried to get the fruit with the left, but all to no
avail; and when face and hands were all bleeding and full of prickles,
she gave up the useless quest, and went home, bruised, beaten, wet,
sore, hungry, and scratched all over, where I have no doubt her kind
sister Peasie put her to bed, and gave her gruel and posset.