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Yallery Brown的故事

2010-01-06 07:45:24

 

??? Once upon a time, and a very good time it was, though it wasn\'t in my time, nor in your time, nor any one else\'s time, there was a young lad of eighteen or so named Tom Tiver working on the Hall Farm. One Sunday he was walking across the west field, \'t was a beautiful July night, warm and still and the air was full of little sounds as though the trees and grass were chattering to themselves. And all at once there came a bit ahead of him the pitifullest greetings ever he heard, sob, sobbing, like a bairn spent with fear, and nigh heartbroken; breaking off into a moan and then rising again in a long whimpering wailing that made him feel sick to hark to it. He began to look everywhere for the poor creature. \"It must be Sally Bratton\'s child,\" he thought to himself; \"she was always a flighty thing, and never looked after it. Like as not, she\'s flaunting about the lanes, and has clean forgot the babby.\" But though he looked and looked, he could see nought. And presently the whimpering got louder and stronger in the quietness, and he thought he could make out words of some sort. He hearkened with all his ears, and the sorry thing was saying words all mixed up with sobbing--
??? \"Ooh! the stone, the great big stone! ooh! the stones on top!\"
??? Naturally he wondered where the stone might be, and he looked again, and there by the hedge bottom was a great flat stone, nigh buried in the mools, and hid in the cotted grass and weeds. One of the stones was called the \"Strangers\' Table.\" However, down he fell on his knee-bones by that stone, and hearkened again. Clearer than ever, but tired and spent with greeting came the little sobbing voice--\"Ooh! ooh! the stone, the stone on top.\" He was gey, and mis-liking to meddle with the thing, but he couldn\'t stand the whimpering babby, and he tore like mad at the stone, till he felt it lifting from the mools, and all at once it came with a sough out o\' the damp earth and the tangled grass and growing things. And there in the hole lay a tiddy thing on its back, blinking up at the moon and at him. \'T was no bigger than a year-old baby, but it had long cotted hair and beard, twisted round and round its body so that you couldn\'t see its clothes; and the hair was all yaller and shining and silky, like a bairn\'s; but the face of it was old and as if \'t were hundreds of years since \'t was young and smooth. Just a heap of wrinkles, and two bright black eyne in the midst, set in a lot of shining yaller hair; and the skin was the colour of the fresh turned earth in the spring--brown as brown could be, and its bare hands and feet were brown like the face of it. The greeting had stopped, but the tears were standing on its cheek, and the tiddy thing looked mazed like in the moonshine and the night air.
??? The creature\'s eyne got used like to the moonlight, and presently he looked up in Tom\'s face as bold as ever was; \"Tom,\" says he, \"thou \'rt a good lad!\" as cool as thou can think, says he, \"Tom, thou \'rt a good lad!\" and his voice was soft and high and piping like a little bird twittering.
??? Tom touched his hat, and began to think what he ought to say. \"Houts!\" says the thing again, \"thou needn\'t be feared o\' me; thou \'st done me a better turn than thou know\'st, my lad, and I\'ll do as much for thee.\" Tom couldn\'t speak yet, but he thought; \"Lord! for sure \'t is a bogle!\"
??? \"No!\" says he as quick as quick, \"I am no bogle, but ye \'d best not ask me what I be; anyways I be a good friend o\' thine.\" Tom\'s very knee-bones struck, for certainly an ordinary body couldn\'t have known what he\'d been thinking to himself, but he looked so kind like, and spoke so fair, that he made bold to get out, a bit quavery like--
??? \"Might I be axing to know your honour\'s name?\"
??? \"H\'m,\" says he, pulling his beard; \"as for that\"--and he thought a bit--\"ay so,\" he went on at last, \"Yallery Brown thou mayst call me, Yallery Brown; \'t is my nature seest thou, and as for a name \'t will do as any other. Yallery Brown, Tom, Yallery Brown\'s thy friend, my lad.\"
??? \"Thankee, master,\" says Tom, quite meek like.
??? \"And now,\" he says, \"I\'m in a hurry to-night, but tell me quick, what\'ll I do for thee? Wilt have a wife? I can give thee the finest lass in the town. Wilt be rich? I\'ll give thee gold as much as thou can carry. Or wilt have help wi\' thy work? Only say the word.\"
??? Tom scratched his head. \"Well, as for a wife, I have no hankering after such; they\'re but bothersome bodies, and I have women folk at home as \'ll mend my clouts; and for gold that\'s as may be, but for work, there, I can\'t abide work, and if thou \'lt give me a helpin\' hand in it I\'ll thank--\"
??? \"Stop,\" says he, quick as lightning, \"I\'ll help thee and welcome, but if ever thou sayest that to me--if ever thou thankest me, s

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