A DREADFUL BOAR
By Adele M. Fielde
A POOR Old Woman, who lived with her one little granddaughter in a
wood, was out gathering sticks for fuel and found a green stalk of
sugar-cane which she added to her bundle. She presently met an elf in
the form of a Wild Boar, that asked her for the cane. She declined
giving it to him, saying that at her age to stoop and to rise again was
to earn what she picked up, and she was going to take the cane home and
let her little granddaughter suck its sap.
The Boar, angry at her refusal, said that during the coming night he
would come and eat her granddaughter instead of the cane, and went off
into the wood.
When the Old Woman reached her cabin she sat down by the door and
wailed, for she knew that she had no means of defending herself against
the Boar. While she sat crying a vender of needles came along and
asked her what was the matter. She told him, but all that he could do
for her was to give her a box of needles. The Old Woman stuck the
needles thickly over the lower half of the door, on its outer side, and
then went on crying.
Just then a Man came along with a basket of crabs, heard her
lamentations, and stopped to inquire what was the matter. She told
him, but he said he knew no help for her, but he would do the best he
could for her by giving her half his crabs. The woman put the crabs in
her water jar, behind her door, and again sat down and cried.
A Farmer, who was coming along from the fields, leading his ox, also
asked the cause of her distress and heard her story. He said he was
sorry he could not think of any way of preventing the evil she
expected, but that he would leave his ox to stay all night with her, as
it might be a sort of company for her in her loneliness. She led the
ox into her cabin, tied it to the head of her bedstead, gave it some
straw, and then sat down to cry again.
A courier returning on horseback from a neighboring town was the next
to pass her door, and he dismounted to inquire what troubled her.
Having heard her tale, he said he would leave his horse to stay with
her, and make the ox more contented. So she tied the horse to the foot
of the bed, and, thinking how surely evil was coming upon her, she
burst out crying anew.
A boy just then came along with a snapping turtle that he had caught
and stopped to ask what had happened to her. On learning the cause of
her weeping he said it was no use to contend against sprites, but that
he would give her his snapping turtle as a proof of his sympathy. She
took the turtle, tied it in front of her bedstead, and continued to
Some men who were carrying millstones then came along, inquired into
her trouble, and expressed their compassion by giving her a millstone,
which they rolled into her back yard. While they were doing this a Man
went by carrying hoes and a pickaxe, and he stopped and asked her why
she was crying so hard. She told him her grief, and he said he would
gladly help her if he could, but he was only a well digger and could do
nothing for her except to dig a well. She pointed out a place in the
backyard, and he went to work and quickly dug a well.
On his departure the old woman cried again, until a Paper Seller came
and inquired what was the matter. When she told him he gave her a
large sheet of white paper, as a token of pity, and she laid it
smoothly over the mouth of the well.
Nightfall came. The old woman shut and barred her door, put her
granddaughter snugly on the wall side of the bed, and then lay down
beside her to await the foe.
At midnight the Boar came and threw himself against the door to break
it in. The needles wounded him sorely, so that when he had gained an
entrance he was heated and thirsty, and went to the water jar to drink.
When he thrust in his snout the crabs attacked him, clung to his
bristles, and pinched his ears, till he rolled over and over to free
Then in a rage he approached the front of the bed; but the snapping
turtle nipped his tail and made him retreat under the feet of the
horse, who kicked him over to the ox, and the ox tossed him back to the
horse. Thus beset, he was glad to escape to the back yard to take a
rest and to consider the situation.
Seeing a clean paper spread on the ground, he went to lie upon it, and
fell into the well. The Old Woman, hearing the fall, rushed out and
rolled the millstone down on him and crushed him.