Once there lived a farmer who had three daughters, and good useful girls they were, up with the sun, and doing all the work of the house. One morning they all ran down to the river to wash their clothes, when a hoodie came round and sat on a tree close by.
‘Wilt thou wed me, thou farmer’s daughter?’ he said to the eldest.
‘Indeed I won’t wed thee,’ she answered, ‘an ugly brute is the hoodie.’ And the bird, much offended, spread his wings and flew away. But the following day he came back again, and said to the second girl:
‘Wilt thou wed me, farmer’s daughter?’
‘Indeed I will not,’ answered she, ‘an ugly brute is the hoodie.’ And the hoodie was more angry than before, and went away in a rage. However, after a night’s rest he was in a better temper, and thought that he might be more lucky the third time, so back he went to the old place.
‘Wilt thou wed me, farmer’s daughter?’ he said to the youngest.
‘Indeed I will wed thee; a pretty creature is the hoodie,’ answered she, and on the morrow they were married.
‘I have something to ask thee,’ said the hoodie when they were far away in his own house. ‘Wouldst thou rather I should be a hoodie by day and a man by night, or a man by day and a hoodie by night?’
The girl was surprised at his words, for she did not know that he could be anything but a hoodie at all times.
Still she said nothing of this, and only replied, ‘I would rather thou wert a man by day and a hoodie by night,’ And so he was; and a handsomer man or a more beautiful hoodie never was seen. The girl loved them both, and never wished for things to be different.
By and bye they had a son, and very pleased they both were. But in the night soft music was heard stealing close towards the house, and every man slept, and the mother slept also. When they woke again it was morning, and the baby was gone. High and low they looked for it, but nowhere could they find it, and the farmer, who had come to see his daughter, was greatly grieved, as he feared it might be thought that he had stolen it, because he did not want the hoodie for a son-in-law.
The next year the hoodie’s wife had another son, and this time a watch was set at every door. But it was no use. In vain they determined that, come what might, they would not close their eyes; at the first note of music they all fell asleep, and when the farmer arrived in the morning to see his grandson, he found them all weeping, for while they had slept the baby had vanished.
Well, the next year it all happened again, and the hoodie’s wife was so unhappy that her husband resolved to take her away to another house he had, and her sisters with her for company. So they set out in a coach which was big enough to hold them, and had not gone very far when the hoodie suddenly said:
‘You are sure you have not forgotten anything?’
‘I have forgotten my coarse comb,’ answered the wife, feeling in her pocket, and as she spoke the coach changed into a withered faggot, and the man became a hoodie again, and flew away.
The two sisters returned home, but the wife followed the hoodie. Sometimes she would see him on a hill-top, and then would hasten after him, hoping to catch him. But by the time she had got to the top of the hill, he would be in the valley on the other side. When night came, and she was tired, she looked about for some place to rest, and glad she was to see a little house full of light straight in front of her, and she hurried towards it as fast as she could.