Now there is one thing that all the moor folk know about the piskies and that is that they work very hard at being neat and tidy and expect that everybody else should be such as industrious and hard working. Some will have it that at night some of the little folk roam the moor houses to see how well kept they were. Those maids who kept a tidy house were sometimes rewarded whereas those who were lazy and lived in filth were always punished, usually by being pinched as blue as a ‘urt.
In a small cott down Tavistock way lived a young girl who was always a hard working sort. Her home was always spick and span and rarely was the duster not being flicked here and there. She also had a great respect for the piskies and every night the last thing she would do is to leave a tiny bowl of milk for them on her spotless hearth. Without fail the following morning she would find the bowl empty so she knew the piskies had been to inspect her kitchen.
One morning she came down and picked the little bowl up in order to wash if for the coming nights milk when in the bottom she noticed a silver sixpence.
“Oh my,” she shrieked, “the piskies must have left it as a reward for all my hard work”.
She spent the whole of breakfast pondering how she should spend such a windfall. Should she buy a new cooking pot or maybe a new pair of shoes? In the end she decided that the piskies would be impressed if some of it was saved and some of it spent. So after cleaning the house she tripped off to the bustling market at Tavistock.
On her way to the town she met with several friends and neighbours and everyone of them was shown the silver sixpence which the piskies had left.
“Look what the kind piskies left me”, she proudly announced, “I found it in their milk bowl this morning”, she added.
All of her friends said how lucky she was and how they wished the little folk would leave them a shiny sixpence. Eventually she arrived at the market and started walking up and down the rows of stalls, tightly clutching her shiny silver sixpence. Eventually she came to a stall selling ribbons of all imaginable hues and colours.
“That’s it”, she exclaimed, ” I will buy a nice green ribbon for my hair, and as green is the piskies favourite colour it will please them no end”.
The silver coin was handed over and the girl explained to the stallholder that it was a sixpence which the piskies had left her and how she had found it in their milk bowl that very morning. Suitably impressed the stallholder handed her the green ribbon which she immediately tied in her hair.
For the next week that green ribbon never left her hair and every time she met somebody she would proudly point to the ribbon and tell them how she bought it with a shiny silver sixpence that the piskies had left her.
Each morning she would expectantly peer into the bowl to see if there were anymore shiny sixpences but every morning she was disappointed. Her house was always as neat and tidy as it had always been, in fact if anything it was even cleaner, but no more rewards.
One day she was talking to an old maid of the moor and explained her puzzlement as to the lack of silver coins. The old woman wisely nodded and said:
“Perhaps the piskies were not too happy with you telling all and sundry about the present they first left you. Surely you have lived on the moor long enough to know that the little folk don’t like having their deeds broadcast”.
The girl knew the old maid was right and despite always keeping a tidy house never again did she find a silver sixpence in the empty little bowl. So be warned that if ever you are lucky enough to be rewarded by the piskies never tell a living soul or it will never happen again