A FARMER in Hampshire was sorely distressed by the unsettling of his barn. However straightly over-night he laid his sheaves on the threshing-floor for the application of the morning's flail, when morning came all was topsy-turvy, higgledy-piggledy, though the door remained locked, and there was no sign whatever of irregular entry. Resolved to find out who played him these mischievous pranks, Hodge couched himself one night deeply among the sheaves, and watched for the enemy. At length midnight arrived, the barn was illuminated as if by moonbeams of wonderful brightness, and through the key-hole came thousands of elves, the most diminutive that could be imagined. They immediately began their gambols among the straw, which was soon in a most admired disorder. Hodge wondered, hut interfered not; but at last the supernatural thieves began to busy themselves in a way still less to his taste, for each elf set about conveying the crop away, a straw at a time, with astonishing activity and perseverance. The keyhole was still their port of egress and regress, and it resembled the aperture of a bee-hive on a sunny day in June. The farmer was rather annoyed at seeing his grain vanish in this fashion, when one of the fairies said toanother in the tiniest voice that ever was heard: "I weat, you weat?" Hodge could contain himself no longer. He leaped out crying, "The devil sweat ye. Let me get among ye!" when they all flew away so frightened that they never disturbed the barn any more.
1 T . Keightley, The Fairy Mythology, p. 305, quoting the Literary Gazette for 1825.