THE shoemakers and tailors and chance spinners used to go round on people's houses, making things and spinning rolls of wool for the people.
One time the tailor went to Chalse Ballawhane. Long enough they were waiting for him, and, as luck happened, he caught Chalse at home.
Now Chalse had power over the fishes of the sea and the birds of the air as well as over the beasts of the field. Himself and the Little Ones got on well together too, but somehow or other he was never able to get the power over them. People said he was never able to learn their language right. Anyhow, be that as it may, he was often enough with them.
After the tailor had had a crack with the women he turned round to Ballawhane, who was sitting in the big chair, his elbow on the table and his hand holding his forehead, the other hand in his trouser's pocket to the elbow, and he not minding anybody nor anything.
'I batter take yer measure, Mr. Teare, while yer in, for there's no knowin' how long that'll be,' the tailor said.
'Aw, boy, boy,' answered Chalse, looking out through the window--people were not bothering with blinds then--and then turning to the clock, he said: 'There's no time goin' to-night: I want to go from home apiece, an' it's time I was gettin' ready.' Nobody said a word for a minute or two. He was exactly like a body with his mind far away. Again, all of a sudden, he looked at the tailor. Then he said:
'Ahm goin' to a big supper to-night. Thou'll get nothin' done here, maybe thou would like to go? It's apiece to go, but thou'll be right enough with me. But there's one promise I'll be wantin' from thee--no matter, no matter what thou'll see, nor what thou'll hear, nor who'll spake to thee, thou mustn't spake back or it'll be all over with thee.'
The tailor was so taken up with the chance of seeing the Little People for himself that he promised faithfully, no matter what took place, never to speak a word, and he knew he would be right enough with Chalse.
Ballawhane then took his hat from the latt, and when he was going out he said:
'I'll be back for thee just now; side thee things a bit while thou're waitin'.'
In a while there was a noise of horses coming up the street--it was awful. Then they stopped on the street and in came Ballawhane saying:
'We couldn' get another hoss for thee, boy, do what we would, but thou 'll have to get a hoss of some sort.'
And going down to the parlour he got hold of something, and went out, never saying a word. Coming back to the door after a bit, he said:
'Come on, boy. I'll hold her head till thou get on.'
Out goes the tailor, and up, with one whip, on her back, and they go like the very hommers, on and on, over hedges and ditches, till they came to a big brow by a river. It seems they knew the way, night as it was, for they all took it one after another like fun. It was a big jump, though, and when the tailor felt himself flying through the air, his heart jumped to his mouth.
'Oh Lord, what a jump!' he said.
The next minute he fell flop in a bog, with the lapboard between his legs, all alone in the dark. Next morning he got up all slaaed with slush, looking like a thing that had been dragged through a gutter, and as quiet as a mouse--the shy he was, every bit of steam took out of him.
Awhile after some of the women were asking him, how did he like it last night, and would he go again? But all they could get out of him was:
'Aw, naver no more, naver no more!'