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“The Telling of Tales” # 01


hobyahs 

The Hobyahs

By Andre Norton (1940s)

(Five To Nine Years)

 

 

Once upon a time at the edge of a deep, dark wood there stood a small cottage in which lived a man, his wife, their little girl and Little Dog Toby. Now within the wood itself was the house of the Hobyahs.

And the Hobyahs were horrid creatures, all leggy and hairy and black as night. And they were as wicked as they were leggy, hairy and black.

One moonless night they came dancing out of the wood waving their hairy, hairy front legs and singing in their harsh, hoarse voices:

 

“Hobyah, Hobyah!

Tear down the cottage,

Eat up the man and woman,

And carry the little girl away--

IN A BIG BROWN BAG!”

 

But Little Dog Toby heard them and he barked and barked. And the Hobyahs were frightened and ran back into the wood.

The next morning the man said to his wife: "Little Dog Toby barked last night and kept me awake. I shall teach him a lesson!" And he tied Little Dog Toby to a tree.

That very night out of the wood came the Hobyahs, waving their hairy, hairy front legs and singing in their harsh hoarse voices:

 

“Hobyah, Hobyah!

Tear down the cottage,

Eat up the man and woman,

And carry the little girl away--

IN A BIG BROWN BAG!”

 

But Little Fog Toby ran around and around the tree barking as loud as he could so that the Hobyahs ran away as fast as they could scuttle.

The next morning the man said again to his wife: "Little Dog Toby barked last night and kept me awake. I shall teach him a lesson!" And he locked Little Dog Toby in the shed which stood behind the cottage.

That night the Hobyahs came again out of the wood, waving their hairy, hairy front legs and singing in their harsh hoarse voices:

 

“Hobyah, Hobyah!

Tear down the cottage,

Eat up the man and woman,

And carry the little girl away--

IN A BIG BROWN BAG!”

 

But Little Dog Toby jumped out of the shed window and ran barking to meet them. So back into the wood went the Hobyahs helter-skelter and squeak!

When the morning came the man said to his wife: "Little Dog Toby barked last night and kept me awake. I shall get rid of Little Dog Toby," he put a cord about Little Dog Toby's neck and led him to the market place where he sold him to a hunter.

That night was cloudy and there was not even the smallest sliver of moon showing. Out of the deep dark wood came the Hobyahs, waving their hairy, hairy front legs and singing in their harsh hoarse voices:

 

“Hobyah, Hobyah!

Tear down the cottage,

Eat up the man and woman,

And carry the little girl away--

IN A BIG BROWN BAG!”

 

And this time, because there was no Little Dog Toby to bark and frighten them away, that is just what the Hobyahs did! They tore down the Cottage, they ate up the man and woman, and they put the little girl in a big brown bag and carried her off to their house in the middle of the deep, dark wood.

When they got there they hung the bag on a nail in the wall and stood about talking of how they should cook the little girl for their supper. One wanted her boiled with onions, but the second wanted her baked with apples, and nothing would do for the third but to have her fried with bacon. Then the fourth pointed out that there was not enough wood in the house to do any sort of cooking--they must go out and gather fire wood for the stove before they made up their minds about supper.

Now while the Hobyahs had gone to hunt fire wood, the hunter who had bought Little Dog Toby came along. And Little Dog Toby broke free from his new master and ran barking to paw at the door of the Hobyahs' house. So the hunter peered through a window and saw the brown hag turning and twisting against the wall as the little girl tried to get out.

He hurried inside and took down the bag to free the little girl all safe and sound. Then he popped Little Dog Toby into the bag and hung it back on the nail, leaving it there while he took the little girl home with him.

After a time the Hobyahs came hurrying back with large armfuls of wood, and when they came inside one of them hurried up to pinch the bag and see if the little girl was truly plump enough to eat for supper. But the Hobyah was clumsy and knocked the bag off the nail to the floor.

Out jumped Little Dog Toby. And SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! SNAP! He went around the circle of the Hohyahs, gobbling them all up. And that is why there are no Hobyahs in the world today -- or so I have been told.

 

 

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Digitized and edited by Jay Watts ~ aka: Lotsawatts ~ May, 2015

Never before seen short story by Andre Norton
Released here for the first time
Copyright ~ Estate of Andre Norton
Online Rights - Andre-Norton-Books.com
Donated by – Victor Horadam

Duplication of this story for profit of any kind NOT permitted.