Phouka is a friendly being, and often helps the
farmer at his work if he is treated well and
kindly. One day a farmer's son was minding the
cattle in the field when something rushed past
him like the wind; but he was not frightened, for
he knew it was the Phouka on his way to the old
mill by the moat where the fairies met every
night. So he called out, "Phouka, Phouka!
show me what you are like, and I'll give you my
big coat to keep you warm." Then a young
bull came to him lashing his tail like mad; but
the Phadrig threw the coat over him, and in a
moment he was quiet as a lamb, and told the boy
to come to the mill that night when the moon was
up, and he would have good luck.
Phadrig went, but saw nothing except sacks of
corn all lying about on the ground, for the men
had fallen asleep, and no work was done. Then he
lay down also and slept, for he was very tired:
and when he woke up early in the morning there
was all the meal ground, though certainly the men
had not done it, for they still slept. And this
happened for three nights, after which Phadrig
determined to keep awake and watch.
there was an old chest in the mill, and he crept
into this to hide, and just looked through the
keyhole to see what would happen. And exactly at
midnight six little fellows came in, each
carrying a sack of corn upon his back, and after
them came an old man in tattered rags of
clothing, and he bade them turn the mill, and
they turned and turned till all was ground.
Phadrig ran to tell his father, and the miller
determined to watch the next night with his son,
and both together saw the same thing happen.
this the father grew so rich that there was no
end to his money, for he had no men to pay, and
all his corn was ground without spending a penny.
Of course the people wondered much over his
riches, but he never told them about the Phouka,
or their curiosity would have spoiled the luck.
Phadrick went often to the mill and hid in the
chest that he might watch the fairies at work;
but he had great pity for the poor old Phouka in
his tattered clothes, who yet directed everything
and had hard work of it sometimes keeping the
little Phoukas in order. So Phadrig, out of love
and gratitude, bought a fine suit of cloth and
silk and laid it one night on the floor of the
mill just where the old Phouka always stood to
give his orders to the little men, and then he
crept into the chest to watch.
is this?" said the Phouka when he saw the
clothes. "Are these for me? I shall be
turned into a fine gentleman."
he put them on, and then began to walk up and
down admiring himself. But suddenly he remembered
the corn and went to grind as usual, then stopped
and cried out--
no. No more work for me. Fine gentlemen don't
grind corn. I'll go out and see a little of the
world and show my fine clothes." And he
kicked away the old rags into a corner, and went
corn was ground that night, nor the next, nor the
next; all the little Phoukas ran away, and not a
sound was heard in the mill. Then Phadrig grew
very sorry for the loss of his old friend, and
used to go out into the fields and call out,
"Phouka, Phouka! come back to me. Let me see
your face." But the old Phouka never came
back, and all his life long Phadrig never looked
on the face of his friend again. However, the
farmer had made so much money that he wanted no
more help; and he sold the mill, and reared up
Phadrig to be a great scholar and a gentleman,
who had his own house and land and servants. And
in time he married a beautiful lady, so beautiful
that the people said she must be daughter to the
king of the fairies.
strange thing happened at the wedding, for when
they all stood up to drink the bride's health,
Phadrig saw beside him a golden cup filled with
wine. And no one knew how the golden cup had come
to his hand; but Phadrig guessed it was the
Phouka's gift, and he drank the wine without fear
and made his bridge drink also. And ever after
their lives were happy and prosperous, and the
golden cup was kept as a treasure in the family,
and the descendants of Phadrig have it in their
possession to this day.