The Wee Bannock

By Ada M. Skinner and Eleanor L. Skinner

One day an old woman made two fine oatmeal cakes and put them before the fire to toast.

“What fine bannocks!” said her husband when he saw them. “There is nothing I like better than a good oatmeal bannock.”

He picked up one of the cakes, broke it in two, and began to eat it. Then

Out of the door the other cake ran,
Crying out, “Catch me if you can!”

When the old woman saw the other wee bannock running away she ran after it, but she could not catch it.

Down the road and over the hill rolled the wee bannock, until it came to a cottage where a farmer’s wife was churning. She was almost ready to take the butter from the churn. Her boy Jack stood near, watching. The door of the cottage stood wide open. Something rolled in and wheeled around the kitchen as fast as it could go.

“Look, mother! What’s that?” cried Jack.

“A wee bannock, lad,” she said. “Come, we’ll catch it and eat it with butter for dinner.”

Away they started after the little cake. Jack upset the churn and the buttermilk ran all over the room. Then

Out of the door the wee bannock ran,
Crying out, “Catch me if you can!”

Down the road and across the fields rolled the wee bannock. Soon it came to a mill. The miller was filling a sack with meal, and his boy was waiting to take it to the village. The door of the mill stood open. Something rolled in and wheeled around the mill as fast as it could go.

“Look, lad, a wee bannock!” said the miller. “Come, we’ll catch it for dinner.”

Away they started after the little cake. Jamie upset the sack and the meal poured out on the floor of the mill. Then

Out of the door the wee bannock ran,
Crying out, “Catch me if you can!”

Down the road and through the village rolled the wee bannock. Soon it came to a blacksmith’s shop. The smith was shoeing a horse for the farmer. The door of the shop stood open. Something rolled in and wheeled around the floor as fast as it could go.

“Oh, look! What’s that?” cried the farmer.

“A wee bannock, man,” said the blacksmith. “Come, we’ll catch it and have a fine lunch.”

Away they started after the little cake. It rolled around the anvil and then hid behind some iron in one corner of the shop.

“We’ll move every bit of the iron,” said the blacksmith. As they did so something slipped out from the heap, and

Out of the door the wee bannock ran,
Crying out, “Catch me if you can!”

Down the road and up the hill rolled the wee bannock. Soon it came to a shepherd’s cottage. The shepherd’s wife was making porridge for supper, and the shepherd was mending his crook. The door of the cottage stood open. Something rolled in and wheeled around the room as fast as it could go.

“Look! What’s that?” cried the shepherd.

“A wee bannock,” said his wife. “We’ll catch it and eat it with our porridge.”

Away they started after the little cake. It rolled under the table and stood by the wall.

“Pull it out with your crook,” said his wife, “and I’ll throw my spoon at it.”

The shepherd reached under the table with his crook. But when the wife took her spoon out of the pot she upset the porridge. Then

Out of the door the wee bannock ran,
Crying out, “Catch me if you can!”

Down the hill rolled the wee bannock.

“I’ve had a long, long run,” it said. “I’ll rest until to-morrow, for I’m very tired. I’ll sleep behind those bushes by the brook.” And away it rolled.

“What is this coming over the field?” said a sly fox who was under the bushes. “A wee bannock! A fine supper for me!”

He lay very still. The wee bannock rolled slowly toward the bushes. Snap! Down the fox’s throat it went, and it hadn’t time to cry out, “Catch me if you can!”

From Nursery tales from many lands, by Ada M. Skinner and Eleanor L. Skinner.
New York, Chicago, Boston: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1917.

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