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Chapter 10
There entering in, they found the goodman selfe
Full busylie unto his work ybent,
Who was to weet a wretched wearish elf,
With hollow eyes and rawbone cheeks forspent,
As if he had been long in prison pent.
"Are we far from the dwelling of this smith, my pretty lad?" said Tressilian to his young
"How is it you call me?" said the boy, looking askew at him with his sharp, grey eyes.
"I call you my pretty lad--is there any offence in that, my boy?"
"No; but were you with my grandam and Dominie Holiday, you might sing chorus to the
old song of
'We three
Tom-fools be.'"
"And why so, my little man?" said Tressilian.
"Because," answered the ugly urchin, "you are the only three ever called me pretty lad.
Now my grandam does it because she is parcel blind by age, and whole blind by
kindred; and my master, the poor Dominie, does it to curry favour, and have the fullest
platter of furmity and the warmest seat by the fire. But what you call me pretty lad for,
you know best yourself."
"Thou art a sharp wag at least, if not a pretty one. But what do thy playfellows call
"Hobgoblin," answered the boy readily; "but for all that, I would rather have my own ugly
viznomy than any of their jolter-heads, that have no more brains in them than a brick-
"Then you fear not this smith whom you are going to see?"
"Me fear him!" answered the boy. "If he were the devil folk think him, I would not fear
him; but though there is something queer about him, he's no more a devil than you are,
and that's what I would not tell to every one."
"And why do you tell it to me, then, my boy?" said Tressilian.