ONCE upon a time there was a widow and her little boy. Their home was a small cottage in
the wood. The mother worked hard from early morning until evening, and she was so tired that
she liked to go to bed early. But the little boy did not like to go to bed early at all.
One evening when his mother told him to undress, he begged her, saying: “I’m not sleepy.
May I sit up just this once?” “Very well,” said she. “Sit up if you wish,
but if the Fairies catch you here alone, they will surely carry you off.” Then she went to bed.
The little boy laughed, and sat down on the hearth before the fire, watching the blaze and
warming his hands. By and by he heard a giggling and a laughing
in the chimney, and the next minute he saw a tiny girl, as big as a doll, come tumbling down
and jump on to the hearth in front of him. At first the little boy was dreadfully frightened,
but the tiny girl began to dance so prettily, and to nod her head at him in such a friendly
way, that he forgot to be afraid. “What do they call you, little girl?” said he. “My name is Ownself,” said she proudly.
“What is yours?” “My name,” he·answered, laughing very hard,
“is My Ownself.” Then the two children began to play together as if they had known each other all their lives.
They danced, and they sang, and they roasted chestnuts before the fire, and they tickled the
house-cat’s ears. Then the fire commenced to flicker, and it grew dimmer and dimmer; so the
little boy took the poker and stirred up the embers. And a hot coal tumbled out and rolled on to
Ownself’s tiny foot. And, oh! how she screamed! Then she wept, and flew into such a rage that the
little boy got frightened and hid behind the door. Just then a squeaky voice called down the
chimney: “Ownself! Ownself! What wicked creature hurt you?”
“My Ownself! My Ownself!” she screamed back.
“Then come here, you troublesome little Fairy,” cried the voice angrily.
And a Fairy mother, slipper in hand, came hurrying down the chimney; and catching Ownself,
she whipped her soundly and carried her off, saying:- “What’s all this noise about, then? If you did
it your ownself, there’s nobody to blame but. yourself!”