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How wry face played a trick.

From The Book of Stories for the Storyteller by Fanny E. Coe.

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Then he lifted his knife and fork to cut off a large piece; but alas, the fork stuck fast. As for the knife, it would not move either, not an inch. Wry-Face began to weep. "Alack, what has happened to my apple-pie?" cried he; and his tears fell round as round. Then he got upon his feet, and he caught hold of the knife and fork and pulled, and pulled, and pulled. And with the last pull the top of the apple-pie came off, sticking to the knife and fork, and Wry-Face saw that within the pie there was not one piece of apple, but--a big brown potato! Wry-Face wept again with horror at the sight. "I should like to know," cried he, "what are you doing in my fine apple-pie." But the brown potato replied, as cool as cool, "I am one of the potatoes belonging to One-Eye, the potato-wife, and I turned the apples out, that I might hide here a while. But this I must tell you, my Wry-Face, unless you take me home immediately to the potato-wife, here, in this pie-dish, I intend to remain." "Alas," cried Wry-Face, "to-night I am so tired I could never find One-Eye; but if you will but wait till to-morrow, I will carry you home to the potato-wife--I will indeed!" At first the potato would not agree to this at all, but after a while it said, "Very well, I will wait till to-morrow. But remember, my Wry-Face, if to-morrow you do not carry me home to One-Eye, I will creep into every pie you make; and you will die at last of starvation without a doubt!" So Wry-Face stored the potato in the potato-bin, and he went supperless to bed. And he knew nothing of the spell which Oh-I-Am had placed by his door.

Now he got into bed, and thought he would go to sleep; but, oh, how hard the mattress was! Wry-Face lay this way, then that, but no matter what way he lay, he found a great lump just beneath him which was as hard as hard, and as nobbly as could be. Wry-Face tossed and tossed till it was nearly morning; and his bones were so sore that he could lie no longer. Then he pulled the mattress from the bed and cut a great hole in it, and when he had searched and searched he found in the middle of the mattress--a big brown potato! "This," cried Wry-Face, "is why I have not slept the whole night through!" and he wept like anything. But the potato was as cool as cool. "I belong," it said, "to One-Eye, the potato-wife; and let me tell you, my little gnome, unless you take me to her immediately, I shall climb into your mattress again; and there I shall remain!" "Alas," cried Wry-Face, "I have tossed about for hours and hours, and am too tired to do anything. But if you will wait till to-morrow, dear potato, I will carry you to One-Eye, the potato-wife--I will, indeed!" At first the potato was unwilling to listen to this, but after a while it said: "Very well, then, I will wait till the morning. But this much I know, my Wry-Face, if you do not carry me then to One-Eye, the potato-wife, I shall get into your mattress and roll again every night !" So Wry-Face put the potato in the bin. When he had done that he went back to bed, and slept, and slept. When the sun was shining he awakened, and he remembered that he had to carry the potatoes back to One-Eye, the potato-wife; and he was as cross as anything.

"Well, I suppose I must!" he said. And when he had had his breakfast, he went to his cupboard to get a sack. Then he found that his sack was full of pearls which he had gathered together for Heigh-Heavy the Giant, whose daughter So-Small he wished to marry. So he thought, "First of all I will carry the pearls to Heigh-Heavy, for that is more important." And away he went with the sack upon his back. And he never saw the spell which Oh-I-Am had placed beside his door. When he reached the Most-Enormous-House of Heigh-Heavy the Giant, there the giant was, sitting in his parlour lacing his shoes. So Wry-Face cried out in a gay little voice, "Here I am, Heigh-Heavy, here I am! And here is a bag of pearls which I have brought you in exchange for your beautiful daughter So-Small!" When Heigh-Heavy heard this, he stopped lacing his shoes, and he said, "You must bring me in exchange for my daughter So-Small as many pearls as will cover my palm." Then Wry-Face skipped forward, and he tipped up the sack; and he shook out all that it held into the hand of Heigh-Heavy the Giant, standing high upon his toes. Now all that it held was--one brown potato! Wry-Face the gnome stared, and stared, and stared, his eyes growing rounder and rounder; but he had no time to weep on account of Heigh-Heavy the Giant who had fallen into a rage terrible to see. "Now there is one thing quite certain," said Heigh-Heavy, "and that is that you shall never marry my daughter So-Small; for, my Wry-Face, I will turn you into a brown potato, and a brown potato you shall remain your whole life through!"

When Wry-Face heard this terrible threat, he took to his heels, and ran from the Most-Enormous-House of Heigh-Heavy the Giant. And he ran, and ran, till his coat was torn and his ears were red. And he never rested till he reached his cottage door, and got inside. Heigh-Heavy laughed till he cried to see the little gnome run. "He will play no tricks on me !" said he. And he went in and shut the door. But Wry-Face said to himself as, weeping, he carried the potatoes to the potato-wife: "I will never play a trick on anyone again, not as long as I live!"


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