The Violet Fairy Book
The History Of Dwarf Long Nose
It is a great mistake to think that fairies, witches, magicians, and such people lived only
in Eastern countries and in such times as those of the Caliph Haroun Al-Raschid. Fairies
and their like belong to every country and every age, and no doubt we should see plenty
of them now--if we only knew how.
In a large town in Germany there lived, some couple of hundred years ago, a cobbler and
his wife. They were poor and hard-working. The man sat all day in a little stall at the
street corner and mended any shoes that were brought him. His wife sold the fruit and
vegetables they grew in their garden in the Market Place, and as she was always neat and
clean and her goods were temptingly spread out she had plenty of customers.
The couple had one boy called Jem. A handsome, pleasant-faced boy of twelve, and tall
for his age. He used to sit by his mother in the market and would carry home what people
bought from her, for which they often gave him a pretty flower, or a slice of cake, or even
some small coin.
One day Jem and his mother sat as usual in the Market Place with plenty of nice herbs
and vegetables spread out on the board, and in some smaller baskets early pears, apples,
and apricots. Jem cried his wares at the top of his voice:
'This way, gentlemen! See these lovely cabbages and these fresh herbs! Early apples,
ladies; early pears and apricots, and all cheap. Come, buy, buy!'
As he cried an old woman came across the Market Place. She looked very torn and
ragged, and had a small sharp face, all wrinkled, with red eyes, and a thin hooked nose
which nearly met her chin. She leant on a tall stick and limped and shuffled and stumbled
along as if she were going to fall on her nose at any moment.
In this fashion she came along till she got to the stall where Jem and his mother were, and
there she stopped.
'Are you Hannah the herb seller?' she asked in a croaky voice as her head shook to and
'Yes, I am,' was the answer. 'Can I serve you?'
'We'll see; we'll see! Let me look at those herbs. I wonder if you've got what I want,' said
the old woman as she thrust a pair of hideous brown hands into the herb basket, and
began turning over all the neatly packed herbs with her skinny fingers, often holding
them up to her nose and sniffing at them.
The cobbler's wife felt much disgusted at seeing her wares treated like this, but she dared
not speak. When the old hag had turned over the whole basket she muttered, 'Bad stuff,
bad stuff; much better fifty years ago--all bad.'
This made Jem very angry
'You are a very rude old woman,' he cried out. 'First you mess all our nice herbs about
with your horrid brown fingers and sniff at them with your long nose till no one else will