English Fairy Tales (Joseph Jacobs)

Week 12: England - Assignments - Reading - Resources - Images

Cap O' Rushes

Reading time: 3 minutes. Word count: 600 words.

Well, you might be wondering how the master's son and Cap O' Rushes are going to be united, since Cap O' Rushes did not have a slipper that she left behind at the ball - but remember: "he gave her a ring and told her if he didn't see her again he should die..."

The master's son tried every way to find out where the lady was gone, but go where he might, and ask whom he might he never heard anything about her. And he got worse and worse for the love of her till 'he had to keep his bed. 'Make some gruel for the young master,' they said to the cook. 'He's dying for the love of the lady.' The cook set about making it when Cap o' Rushes came in.

'What are you a-doing of?' says she. 'I'm going to make some gruel for the young master,' says the cook, 'for he's dying for love of the lady.' 'Let me make it,' says Cap o' Rushes. Well, the cook wouldn't at first, but at last she said yes, and Cap o' Rushes made the gruel. And when she had made it, she slipped the ring into it on the sly before the cook took it upstairs. The young man he drank it and then he saw the ring at the bottom. 'Send for the cook,' says he. So up she comes.

'Who made this gruel here?' says he. 'I did,' says the cook, for she was frightened. And he looked at her. 'No, you didn't,' says he. 'Say who did it, and you shan't be harmed.' 'Well, then, 'twas Cap o' Rushes,' says she. 'Send Cap o' Rushes here,' says he. So Cap o' Rushes came.

'Did you make my gruel?' says he. 'Yes, I did,' says she. 'Where did you get this ring?' says he. 'From him that gave it me,' says she. 'Who are you, then?' says the young man. 'I'll show you,' says she. And she offed with her cap o' rushes, and there she was in her beautiful clothes. Well, the master's son he got well very soon, and they were to be married in a little time. It was to be a very grand wedding, and everyone was asked far and near.

And Cap o' Rushes's father was asked. But she never told anybody who she was. But before the wedding, she went to the cook, and says she: 'I want you to dress every dish without a mite o' salt.' 'That' ll be rare nasty,' says the cook. 'That doesn't signify,' says she. 'Very well,' says the cook.

Well, the wedding day came, and they were married. And after they were married, all the company sat down to the dinner. When they began to eat the meat, it was so tasteless they couldn't eat it. But Cap o' Rushes's father tried first one dish and then another, and then he burst out crying. 'What is the matter?' said the master's son to him. 'Oh!' says he, 'I had a daughter. And I asked her how much she loved me. And she said. "As much as fresh meat loves salt." And I turned her from my door, for I thought she didn't love me. And now I see she loved me best of all. And she may be dead for aught I know.' 'No, father, here she is!' said Cap o' Rushes. And she goes up to him and puts her arms round him. And so they were all happy ever after.

Questions. Make sure you can answer these questions about what you just read:

  • what happened when the master's son could not find the woman he loved?
  • how did Cap o' Rushes reveal her identity to the master's son?
  • how did Cap o' Rushes reveal her identity to her father?

Source: English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs (1890). Weblink.

Modern Languages / Anthropology 3043: Folklore & Mythology. Laura Gibbs, Ph.D. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. You must give the original author credit. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.
Page last updated: October 9, 2004 12:52 PM