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The Tail

THERE was a shepherd once who went out to the hill to look after his sheep. It was misty and cold, and he had much trouble to find them. At last he had them all but one ; and after much searching he found that one too in a peat hag, half drowned; so he took off his plaid, and bent down and took hold of the sheep's tail, and he pulled ! The sheep was heavy with water, and he could not lift her, so he took off his coat and he pulled !! but it was too much for him, so he spit on his hands, and took a good hold of the tail and he PULLED ! ! and the tail broke! and if it had not been for that this tale would have been a great deal longer.

Jacobs, Joseph. More Celtic Fairy Tales. London: David Nutt, 1894. Buy the book in paperback.

Jacobs' Notes and References

Source - Campbell, No. lvii.

Parallels - Most story-tellers have some formula of this kind to conclude their narrations. Prof. Crane gives some examples in his Italian Popular Tales, pp. 155-7. The English have "I'll tell you a story of Jack a Nory," and "The Three Wise Men of Gotham" who went to Sea in a Bowl:

"If the bowl had been stronger,
My song would have been longer."

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