Wednesday, May 16, 2012

52 Weeks of Fairy Tales Week #19 The Peddler of Swaffham

What child doesn't dream of finding buried treasure?  For Week #19's fairy tale post, I have chosen a tale that I grew up reading, called The Peddler of Swaffham, a tale which inspired my imagination about finding buried treasure, and was probably responsible for at least a few digging sessions.

This story is about a a peddler who lived a long time ago in the countryside of England in the town of Swaffham.  One night he had a dream that if he traveled to London Bridge he would hear some good and beneficial news.  The next night, the peddler had the same dream and started to take notice.  The third night the peddler had this dream, he was convinced that he should make the journey to London Bridge.

The peddler was poor and didn't have a horse, the journey was long, and by the time he reached London Bridge his shoes were nearly worn through. For three days he walked up and down London Bridge waiting to hear his special news.

Finally on the third day, a shopkeeper who had been watching the peddler, came to see what the peddler was doing.  The shopkeeper asked the peddler if he was selling anything, the peddler told him he was not.   The shopkeeper, seeing the peddlers worn out clothing and shoes, then asked if the peddler was begging, to which the peddler replied "surely not!".  Then the shopkeeper asked the peddler what on earth he was doing.

The peddler told the shopkeeper about his dream.  The shopkeeper laughed at the peddler.

"You came all the way to London Bridge because of a dream?  Why just last night I, myself, had a dream, that in an orchard behind a peddler's house in Swaffham (a place the shopkeeper had never even heard about), under an old oak tree there is a buried treasure.  Of course I am not so foolish as to leave my shop and travel all the way out to the countryside because of a dream!"

Upon hearing this information the peddler turned to leave.  The shopkeeper asked the peddler where he was going, and the peddler replied "home", the shopkeeper turned to head back to his shop thinking the peddler was a very strange man.  Of course he didn't realize that this peddler lived in Swaffham, and there was an old orchard behind his home.

The peddler walked quickly back to his home, and started digging under his old oak tree as soon as he arrived.  Just as the shopkeeper's dream had said, the peddler found a chest of buried treasure.  Both dreams were true, the peddler's and the shopkeepers and The peddler was rich until the end of his days.

Such a fun story, the Wikipedia entry on The Peddler of Swaffham   has an additional ending to this story, that the peddler used some of his treasure to rebuild the town's falling down church, and that to this day there are signs and pub windows depicting the Peddler.  Here is a link to a picture of The Swaffham Town sign with the peddler.  

For this weeks fairy tale, I made another page for our fairy tale scrapbook.

The tree trunk and branches are painted, and the leaves were cut out of textured paper, I was not able to cut out proper oak leaves, I would have needed a tiny oak leaf punch for that, but I do like how the leaves turned out, the textured paper really gives the page some depth, the treasure chest was also cut out from textured brown paper to give it a real wood look, then I painted on the detail. The treasure is gold, silver, ruby and sapphire colored glitter.

This would be a fun story to read, and then set up a real treasure hunt for the kids to find then dig up!

Did you dream of buried treasure as a child?


  1. Good story April! Guess the moral of that one is that even though your prayers may not be answered in the way you expect, they are answered if you are open to believing. I never realized there were so many interesting fairy tales. Thanks for your weekly posts!

  2. I haven't heard this one before. What a great story though to follow your dreams :-) And I love your idea to read it and then have your own treasure hunt!

    Thanks for sharing on Happy Family Times :-)

  3. Hi April, thanks for dropping into faerymother, I will too enjoy reading your adventures... lots of love Star

  4. Thank you for linking up to Tuesday Tots this weeks.

    I love this story - I grew up about 16 miles from Swaffham and it was told often in school and had a copy of the story that we brought in Swaffham as well.


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