Colman Grey *

* Suitable for a bedtime story

A farmer gives a small man shelter and is repaid with joy.

A farmer was walking home one evening from a day's work on a faraway farm. He met a very small man sitting on a rock in the middle of a shadowy field. As the farmer came closer, he realised the figure had human characteristics but was shrunken to the height of a large crow. Usually, the farmer only spoke to those he knew well but this one seemed to be cold, hungry and thoroughly miserable. It was well known in East Cornwall that piskies often bought good luck and this one certainly needed a bit of luck himself as did the farmer and his family.

Making up his mind, the farmer took the sad little fellow home and into the kitchen. The farmer's wife wrapped the little piskey in a blanket, gave it some milk and hung its clothes to dry. After not much time at all the little man revived although he didn't seem to have a voice and just looked about him grinning from one family member to another. He sprang up with an air of merriment about his being and begun to amuse them all in any way he could. Over the following days, the little piskey bought a sense of fun and friendly playfulness to the farmer's hard up and work worn family. Every thing seemed somehow easier than before and they were all blessed with an infectious energy.

On the fourth day of his visit a voice was heard coming from outside. Three times the words, "Colman Grey!" was shouted in the yard. Instantly regaining his lost voice the little piskey said, "My Dad has come. I must be gone," and he flew through the keyhole never to be seen again.


retold by Anna Chorlton

Reference: 'Stories of Polperro' Jonathan Couch

  • Polperro