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Cap o' Rushes


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'What do you want?' asked the cook, as she opened the door and saw the girl in her cloak of rushes.

'I have nowhere to go, and nowhere to stay,' said the girl. 'I'll do any sort of work for you, and ask only for food and a roof to sleep under in return.'

'Well,' said the cook. 'I do need someone to scrub the floor and wash the dishes and scour the pans. If you are willing to do that, you are welcome to stay.'

So the girl became a scullery maid in the large house. All day long she would scrub and clean. At night she would go to sleep in a little corner of the kitchen.

The girl would never take her cloak of rushes off, not even at night. If someone asked her her name, she wouldn't answer. So, since she wouldn't give a name and she wouldn't take her hood and cloak of rushes off, the other maids began calling her Cap o' Rushes.

Cap o' Rushes stayed in that big house for many days, doing all that she was asked to do.

One evening the other maids said to her, 'There is a great dance tonight in the next village, and the servants have leave to go and watch the rich folk dance. Will you come with us?'

But Cap o' Rushes said she was far too tired to go that far. She lay down in her corner and pretended to go to sleep.

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Last updated: April 2010. Copyright © Rohini Chowdhury 2002. All rights reserved.

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