My Own Self

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'Me A'an Sel', Ainsel or My Own Self is a Northumbrian fairy tale collected by Joseph Jacobs. A version of the tale appears in Scottish Folk Tales by Ruth Manning-Sanders. It is Aarne-Thompson type 1137 Self Did It, similar to the encounter between Odysseus and Polyphemus.[1]


A widow lived with her son in a cottage with many 'good folk' living about it. One day, her son would not go to bed, and she went to sleep on her own. A small girl dropped down the chimney and told him that her name was "My Own Self"; he told her that he was the same. They played together for a time. He stirred up the fire, and a spark landed on her foot, burning her. She screamed. A voice came down the chimney, demanding to know what had happened, and the girl said "my own self" had burned her foot. The voice said she shouldn't make such a fuss about it, then, and a long arm came down the chimney to pull the girl back up.

After that, the boy went to bed when his mother told him to.


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