The Lilac Fairy Book
The King of the Waterfalls
When the young king of Easaidh Ruadh came into his kingdom, the first thing he thought
of was how he could amuse himself best. The sports that all his life had pleased him best
suddenly seemed to have grown dull, and he wanted to do something he had never done
before. At last his face brightened.
'I know!' he said. 'I will go and play a game with the Gruagach.' Now the Gruagach was a
kind of wicked fairy, with long curly brown hair, and his house was not very far from the
But though the king was young and eager, he was also prudent, and his father had told
him on his deathbed to be very careful in his dealings with the 'good people,' as the fairies
were called. Therefore before going to the Gruagach the king sought out a wise man of
'I am wanting to play a game with the curly-haired Gruagach,' said he.
'Are you, indeed?' replied the wizard. 'If you will take my counsel, you will play with
'No; I will play with the Gruagach,' persisted the king.
'Well, if you must, you must, I suppose,' answered the wizard; 'but if you win that game,
ask as a prize the ugly crop-headed girl that stands behind the door.'
'I will,' said the king.
So before the sun rose he got up and went to the house of the Gruagach, who was sitting
'O king, what has brought you here to-day?' asked the Gruagach. 'But right welcome you
are, and more welcome will you be still if you will play a game with me.'
'That is just what I want,' said the king, and they played; and sometimes it seemed as if
one would win, and sometimes the other, but in the end it was the king who was the
'And what is the prize that you will choose?' inquired the Gruagach.
'The ugly crop-headed girl that stands behind the door,' replied the king.
'Why, there are twenty others in the house, and each fairer than she!' exclaimed the