The Grey Fairy Book HTML version

The Goblin Pony
‘Don't stir from the fireplace to-night,' said old Peggy, ‘for the wind is blowing so
violently that the house shakes; besides, this is Hallow-e'en, when the witches are abroad,
and the goblins, who are their servants, are wandering about in all sorts of disguises,
doing harm to the children of men.'
‘Why should I stay here?' said the eldest of the young people. ‘No, I must go and see
what the daughter of old Jacob, the rope- maker, is doing. She wouldn't close her blue
eyes all night if I didn't visit her father before the moon had gone down.'
‘I must go and catch lobsters and crabs' said the second, ‘and not all the witches and
goblins in the world shall hinder me.'
So they all determined to go on their business or pleasure, and scorned the wise advice of
old Peggy. Only the youngest child hesitated a minute, when she said to him, ‘You stay
here, my little Richard, and I will tell you beautiful stories.'
But he wanted to pick a bunch of wild thyme and some blackberries by moonlight, and
ran out after the others. When they got outside the house they said: ‘The old woman talks
of wind and storm, but never was the weather finer or the sky more clear; see how
majestically the moon stalks through the transparent clouds!'
Then all of a sudden they noticed a little black pony close beside them.
‘Oh, ho!' they said, ‘that is old Valentine's pony; it must have escaped from its stable, and
is going down to drink at the horse- pond.'
‘My pretty little pony,' said the eldest, patting the creature with his hand, ‘you mustn't run
too far; I'll take you to the pond myself.'
With these words he jumped on the pony's back and was quickly followed by his second
brother, then by the third, and so on, till at last they were all astride the little beast, down
to the small Richard, who didn't like to be left behind.
On the way to the pond they met several of their companions, and they invited them all to
mount the pony, which they did, and the little creature did not seem to mind the extra
weight, but trotted merrily along.
The quicker it trotted the more the young people enjoyed the fun; they dug their heels
into the pony's sides and called out, ‘Gallop, little horse, you have never had such brave
riders on your back before!'
In the meantime the wind had risen again, and the waves began to howl; but the pony did
not seem to mind the noise, and instead of going to the pond, cantered gaily towards the