Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 14 > Inside Front Cover - How the Robinsons Got So Strong

Inside Front Cover - How the Robinsons Got So Strong

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1976/8/1 (1719 reads)
 

How the Robinsons Got so Strong M,C,Blue of Blues Mills In the days of ray youth I lived in Cape Breton Island in a large old house which my grandfather had built. My maternal grandparents lived in the valley of Kew- stoke, eleven miles away by road but only six miles away across the mountain. Hie Highland Scots did not make much of Christinas. It was mostly a religious re? minder and was so celebrated. New Year was an entirely different matter and was well and properly celebrated. On this occasion my father and mother took ray two sisters and rayself to visit our grandparents on New Year's Eve, We' journeyed across the mountain in a sleigh with two seats in it and drawn by two black horses. The mountain was very steep to climb, so my father walked behind the sleigh until we reached the top. We then rode along with bells jingling, usually at a walk until we began to descend. The horses could not be held in but rushed down the raountain at great speed until we reached our grandfather's gate. IVhen we got into the house we were warm? ly received. Grandfather was from North Uist, Grandmother was from the Island of Rum. After a hearty dinner we sat around the stove and were entertained by stories of the past, particularly ghost stories. IVhen it was tirae to go to bed we were so scared that we could not sleep. Grandmo? ther apparently realized this, for she carae and sat on the side of the bed and told me still another story. This is it: Do you know why the Robinsons doivn the road are so strong? Long ago in Scotland, on the land farmed by John Robinson there was a hill in which the fairies lived. John had a daughter who was very beauti? ful. She was also an excellent cook. Her name was Jean. John Robinson said that he did not be? lieve in fairies and he made fun of the people who did. In any case, his sayings vexed the king of the fairies and he decided to do something about it. One evening Jean went to call on a poor old lady. She brought her some cakes and cookies. She sat and talked until it was quite dark. She then left for home. She did not get there, for on the way she was surrounded by the fairies and taken to the hill. The fairies were not unkind. She was given a nice clean room with a comfortable bed to sleep in. In the morning the fairies told her that she was to bake oat bread for them' They gave her everything she needed to work with and they showed her a small bin where the meal was kept. It was as full as it could hold. They told her that when she had baked all the meal in the room she could go home. She worked hard all day and the bin was almost empty. There was some meal still on the board. Of it she made a little cake and when it was cooked she went to bed. When she got up in the morning the bin was as full as ever. Jean baked all day long and in the evening she made another small cake of the leavings. The next morning the bin was again full. This went on for se? veral weeks. Jean was beginning to wonder if she would ever get home. One morning the fairies were all out ex? cept one old fairy who was toasting his toes at the fire. Suddenly he said to Jean: "I am a mortal. I was stolen from my mother when I was a baby. If you want to get home, do this. When you have the leavings on the board tonight instead of raaking a little cake of them, throw the leavings into the fire and the bin will be as you left it when you get up tomor? row." That evening Jean said that she was tired and the leavings of which she used to

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