Chiefly of Last Century
ROBERT HAYS CUNNINGHAM
LONDON: HAMILTON, ADAMS, & CO
GLASGOW: THOMAS D. MORISON
OF late years there has been a largely increasing interest on
the subject of folklore in its various departments. In such
respects there has been a very considerable change in the
feelings and tastes of the educated middle-class population
of this country, from what there was several generations ago.
Formerly the educated classes appeared to think that any-
thing relating to the tastes or ideas of the common people was
of very little interest. And in the course of some two
hundred years back, leaving out the present time, the num-
ber of writers who thought it worth their while to deal with
such topics were not much more than a dozen in number,
including such men as Aubrey, Bourne, Brand, Hone,
Strut, Halliwell, etc. Now, all that is changed, and it has
been discovered that much of extreme interest can be
learned from the superstitions, habits, beliefs, tastes, customs,
ideas, amusements, and general social life of the uneducated
or lower classes of previous times.
Not the least interesting or least important of the
many sources from which information on these and similar
matters, can be obtained, is that of the people's earliest
popular literature-namely, the chap-book. Beginning at
little after the commencement of the eighteenth century,
and continuing for over a hundred years afterwards, right
up to the general introduction and use of cheap magazines
and cheap newspapers, the chap-book was almost the only
kind of reading within the reach of the poorer portion of
What adds greatly both to the interest attaching to the
chap-book literature and to its importance, is the fact, that
these literary productions, if they may be so termed, were
6 EDITORIAL NOTE.
almost entirely written by the people themselves; that is,
they were written by the people for the people. This fact
intensifies the conviction that they give a true and unvar-
nished description of the lower orders and their ways. Then,
as now, every district had its proportion of local geniuses,
who had a gift above their fellows in the matter of story-
telling, or some other such way. And in many instances
these narratives became chap-books, and were printed and
reprinted times without number at the various printing
establishments over the country devoted to business of
With regard to this feature in chap-book literature
already referred to-namely, that it was composed by the
people for the people, and thus gives a true portraiture of
many features in their social life-still more may be said.
It being the case that not a few of those who hawked these
cheap volumes over the country were themselves the
authors of some of them, and in the composition of the
chaps, to a considerable extent, just reproduced circum-
stances, incidents, and narratives that they had met with in
their wanderings over the country.
To a very marked degree was this the case in the most
prominent of all the Scottish chap-book writers-namely,
Dougal Graham. See his works, two volumes octavo, col-
lected and edited by George MacGregor in 1883. It would
appear that at an early period of Graham's peregrinations
he accompanied Prince Charlie's army in 1745-46 through-
out its various fortunes, pursuing his trade as a hawker of
sundry articles that might be in demand by the prince's
retainers. After that event was over, Graham continued the
calling of hawker and chapman, at the same time becoming
the author of a number of chap-books. But after a while he
got a step or two further on; for, finding such an immense
demand for his extremely amusing, though coarse, volumes,
he ultimately set up a printing press of his own, for the
EDITORIAL NOTE. '
purpose of producing his chaps and supplying the chapmen
with them, by whom they were spread broadcast over the
country. The knowledge of such instances as this lends
much additional value to the chap-book, as containing a for-
cible description of the social life and ideas of the masses in
A slight study of this department of literature will show
that there was, then as now, much variety in the tastes of
the people. And we also find that in this respect the
various tastes could be fairly well met from among the
stores of the chap-book publisher. In these days, just as at
the present time, there had been any amount of enterprise
on the part of authors and publishers in furnishing readers
with whatever their fancy might desire. The Litteratura
Vulgi may be fairly well divided into the following or
similar classifications :-Historical, biographical, religious,
romantic, poetical, humorous, fabulous, supernatural, dia-
bolical, legendary, superstitious, criminal, jest-books, etc.
The strictly religious appear to be the fewest in number.
The supernatural and the superstitious elements appear to
have been more in demand, as the supply of such classes
seems to have been greater,-in these days the marvellous
had evidently very great charms. The romantic likewise
had been in great request,-the old romances handed down
from the days long before printing was invented continued up
till last century to be of undiminished interest. Also, from
the number of poetical chaps that have come down to us, it
is evident that the demand for them had been great all over
the country. The most popular of all, however, appears to
have been the humorous section, which again might be sub-
divided into a variety of departments, each with numerous
representatives. The love of fun and frolic was apparently
as deeply implanted in the feelings and tastes of previous
generations as of the present.
Printing establishments devoted to the production of
6 EDITORIAL NOTE.
chap-books were pretty well scattered all over the country
In England the principal places appear to have been London,
York, Birmingham, and Newcastle. In Scotland, the towns
of Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk; and Montrose appear to have
carried off the palm in that respect. In Ireland there had
been few places besides Dublin and Belfast.
The immense volume of business done in the production
of the chap-book, and its importance as an article of trade
all over the country, has been a matter of surprise; and the
more one investigates into the facts of the case, the more is
one impressed with the magnitude of the institution. It
appears to have given employment to many thousands of
chapmen and printers' employees. As an instance of the
profits derivable from the business as an article of trade, one
publisher of chap-books, and that not in an especially large
way, is known to have retired with accumulated profits
amounting to 30,000, which in these days would represent
a much larger sum than it does now.
Notwithstanding the immense quantities of chap-books
circulated broadcast over the country, comparatively early
copies are now extremely rare. And the desire on the part.of
the public for their possession is now so great that about sixty
times their original price is readily given-that is, what
originally was sold for one penny, now frequently fetches five
shillings, and sometimes more.
In the present collection, which is chiefly of last century,
the reader will find considerable variety, containing as it
does interesting specimens of several classes or divisions of
the popular literature, mostly, however, of an amusing and
humorous nature; and from the perusal of the majority of
the chaps herein contained, a good deal of entertainment
may be derived.
As a companion volume, it is the Editor's intention to
issue shortly a collection of AMUSING POETICAL CHAP-
THE COMICAL HISTORY OF THE PAGE
KING AND THE COBBLER
Containing the Entertaining and Merry Tricks and Droll Frolics
played by the Cobbler, how he got acquainted with the King,
became a Great Man and lived at Court ever after, 13
THE MERRY TALES OF THE
WISE MEN OF GOTHAM, 23
THE HISTORY OF
THOMAS HICKATHRIFT, 35
THE HISTORY OF
JACK THE GIANT-KILLER
Containing his Birth and Parentage; His Meeting with the
King's Son; Bis Noble Conquests over many Monstrous
Giants; and his rescuing a Beautiful Lady, whom he after-
wards married, - -53
SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES
WIFE MARGERY'S CRUELTY
Which began the very next Morning after their Marriage, -69
THE ADVENTURES OF
BAMFYLDE MOORE CAREW,
Who was for more than forty years King of the Beggars, 78
THE COMICAL SAYINGS OF PAGE
PADDY FROM CORK
With his Coat Buttoned behind, being an Elegant Conference
between English Tom and Irish Teague; with Paddy's
Catechism, and his Supplication when a Mountain Sailor, 95
THE HISTORY OF
AND HIS CAT, 117
THE MAD PRANKS OF
Son in Law to Mother Winter ; to which are added his Merry
Jests and Pleasant Tales,- -- 127
A YORK DIALOGUE BETWEEN
NED AND HARRY:
Or Ned giving Harry an Account of his Courtship and Marriage
State, -- 141
DANIEL O'ROURKE'S WONDERFUL
VOYAGE TO THE MOON. 15o
MOTHER BUNCH'S CLOSET
NEWLY BROKE OPEN;
Containing Rare Secrets of Nature and Art, tried and experienced
by Learned Philosophers, and recommended to all ingenious
young men and maids, teaching them, in a natural way, how
to get good wives and husbands. Approved by several that
have made trial of them ; it being the product of forty-nine
years' study. By our loving Friend Poor Tom, for the King,
a lover of Mirth but a hater of Treason. In Two Parts, 159
THE COMICAL HISTORY OF THE
COURTIER AND TINKER, 178
THE HISTORY OF THE PAGE
Of Canterbury, Colchester, Cornwall, and Cumberland, their
Queens and Daughters; being the Merry Tales of Tom
Hodge and his School-Fellows, 187
BUDGET OF WIT
AND PACKAGE OF DROLLERY; 200
THE MERRY CONCEITS OF
TOM LONG THE CARRIER,
Being many Pleasant Passages and Mad Pranks which he ob-
served in his Travels. Full of Honest Mirth and Delight, 219
THE STORY OF
Or the Effects of Female Curiosity, - 230
THE LIFE OF
Tailor in Dalkeith, - 236
THE LIFE AND ASTONISHING ADVENTURES OF
Who was carried off when a Child from Aberdeen and sold for a
Slave,- - 254
THE FAMOUS EXPLOITS OF
LITTLE JOHN, AND HIS MERRY MEN ALL,
Including an Account of his Birth, Education, and Death, 269
HISTORY OF PAGE
Showing his wicked Life and horrid Death, and how he sold him-
self to the Devil, to have power for twenty-four years to do
what he pleased, also many strange things done by him with
the assistance of
With an account how the Devil came for him at the end of
twenty-four years, and tore him to pieces, 286
THE WHOLE LIFE AND DEATH OF
Of Westminster,- - 299
THE FAMOUS HISTORY OF THE LEARNED
Giving a Particular Account of his Birth, Parentage, with the
many Wonderful Things he did in his Lifetime, to the
amazement of all the World, 309
THE HISTORY OF
THE BLIND BEGGAR
OF BETHNAL GREEN,
Containing his Birth and Parentage ; how he went to the Wars
and Lost his Sight, and turned Beggar at Bethnal Green;
how he got Riches, and educated his Daughter; of her being
Courted by a rich, young Knight; how the Blind Beggar
dropt Gold with the Knight's Uncle ; of the Knight and the
Beggar's Daughter being Married; and, lastly, how the
famous Pedigree of the Beggar was discovered, and other
Things worthy of Note, -324
THE PLEASANT HISTORY OF
THE MERRY SADDLER OF WALDEN
Showing the Merry Pranks he played during his Apprenticeship,
and how he Tricked a Rich Miser, etc. Very diverting for
a Winter Evening Fireside, - 337
KING AND THE COBBLER
The Entertaining and Merry Tricks and Droll Frolics
played by the Cobbler
How he got acquainted with the. King,
became a Great Man and lived at Court ever after.
How King Henry VIII. used to visit the watches in the city
and how he became acquainted with a
merry, jovial cobbler.
IT was the custom of King Henry the Eighth to walk late in
the night into the city disguised, to observe and take notice
how the constables and watch performed their duty, not only
in guarding the city gates, but also in diligently watching
the inner parts of the city, that so they might, in a great
AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
measure, prevent those disturbances and casualties which
too often happen in great and populous cities in the night;
and this he did oftentimes, without the least discovery who
he was, returning home to Whitehall early in the morning.
Now, on his return home through the Strand, he took
notice of a certain cobbler who was constantly up at work
whistling and singing every morning. The king was resolved
to see him and be acquainted with him, in order to which he
immediately knocks the heel off his shoe by hitting it against
a stone, and having so done, he bounced at the cobbler's
"Who's there ?" cries the cobbler.
"Here's one," cries the king. With that the cobbler
opened the stall door, and the king asked him if he could
put the heel on his shoe.
"Yes, that I can," says the cobbler; "come in, honest
fellow, and sit thee down by me and I will do it for thee
straight," the cobbler scraping his awls and old shoes to one
side to make room for the king to sit down.
The king being hardly able to forbear laughing at the
kindness of the cobbler, asked him if there was not a house
hard by that sold a cup of ale and the people up.
"Yes," said the cobbler, there is an inn over the way,
where I believe the folks are up, for the carriers go from
thence very early in the morning."
With that the king borrowed an old shoe off the cobbler
and went over to the inn, desired the cobbler would bring
his shoe to him thither as soon as he had put on the heel
again. The cobbler promised he would; so making what
haste he could to put on the heel, he carries it over to the
king, saying, Honest blade, here is thy shoe again, and I
warrant thee it will not come off in such haste again."
"Very well," says the king; "what must you have for
your pains ?"
A couple of pence," replied the cobbler.
COMICAL HISTORY OF THE KING AND THE COBBLER. 15
Well," said the king, "seeing thou art an honest merry
fellow, there is a tester for thee; come, sit down by me, I
will drink a full pot with thee; come, here's a good health to
"With all my heart," said the cobbler, "I'll pledge thee
were it in water."
So the cobbler sat down by the king and was very merry,
and drank off his liquor very freely; he likewise sung some
of his merry songs and catches, whereat the king laughed
heartily and was very jocund and pleasant with the cobbler,
telling him withal that his name was Harry Tudor, that he
belonged to the court, and that if he would come and see
him there, he would make him very welcome, because he was
a merry companion, and charged him not to forget his name,
and to ask any one for him about the court and they would
soon bring him to him; "For," said the king, "I am very
well known there."
Now the cobbler little dreamt that he was the king that
spake to him, much less that the king's name was Harry
Tudor. Therefore, with a great deal of confidence, he stands
up and puts off his hat, makes two or three scrapes with his
foot and gives the king many thanks, also telling him that
he was one of the most honest fellows he ever met with in
all his lifetime, and although he never had been at court, yet
he should not be long before he would make a holiday to
come and see him.
Whereupon the king paying for what they had drunk,
would have taken his leave of the cobbler; but he, not being
willing to part with him, took hold of his hand and said,
"By my faith you must not go, you shall not go, you shall
first go and see my poor habitation. I have there a tub of
good brown ale that was never tapped yet, and you must go
and taste it, for you are the most honest blade I ever met
withal, and I love an honest merry companion with all my
AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
How the cobbler entertained the king in his cellar, and
of the disturbance they had like to have had
by his wife Joan.
So the cobbler took the king with him over the way, where
he had his cellar adjoining the stall, which was handsomely
and neatly furnished for a man of his profession. Into the
cellar he took the king. There," said he, sit down, you are
welcome; but I must desire you to speak softly, for fear of
waking my wife Joan, who lies hard by (showing the king
a close bed made neatly up at one corner of the cellar, much
like a closet), for if she should wake she will make our ears
At which speech of the cobbler the king laughed and
told him he would be mindful and follow his directions.
Whereupon the cobbler kindled up a fire and fetched out
a brown loaf, from which he cut a lusty toast, which he sat
baking at the fire; then he brought out his Cheshire cheese.
" Now," says he, there is as much fellowship in eating as in
Which made the king admire the honest freedom of the
cobbler. So having eaten a bit the cobbler began. "A
health to all true hearts and merry companions;" at which
the king smiled, saying, "Friend, I'll pledge thee."
In this manner they ate and drank together till it. was
almost break of day; the cobbler being very free with his
liquor, and delighting the king with several of his old stories,
insomuch that he was highly pleased with the manner of his
entertainment; when, on a sudden, the cobbler's wife Joan
began to awake. "I'faith," says the cobbler, "you must
begone, my wife Joan begins to grumble, she'll awake pre-
sently, and I would not for half the shoes in my shop she
should find you here.
Then taking the king by the hand, he led him up the
COMICAL HISTORY OF THE KING AND THE COBBLER. 17
stairs, saying, "Farewell, honest friend, it shan't be long
before I make a holiday to come and see thee at court."
Thou shalt be kindly welcome," replied the king.
So they parted, the king on his way to Whitehall and the
cobbler to his cellar, and there putting all things to rights
before his wife Joan got up, he went to work again, whistling
and singing as merry as he used to be, being much satisfied
that he happened on so good and jovial a companion, still
pleasing himself in his thoughts how merry he should be
when he came to court.
How the cobbler prepared himself to go to court and how
he was set out in the best manner
by his wife Joan.
Now as soon as the king came home, he sent out orders
about the court, that if any one inquired for him by the
name of Harry Tudor, they should immediately bring him
before him, whatever he was, without any further examina-
The cobbler thought every day a month till he had been
at court to see his new acquaintance, and was troubled how
he should get leave of his wife Joan, for he could not get
without her knowledge, by reason he did resolve to make
himself as fine as he could, for his wife always keeped the
keys of his holiday clothes; whereupon one evening, as they
sat at supper, finding her in a very good humour, he began
to lay open his mind to her, telling her the whole story of
their acquaintance, repeating it over and over again, that he
was the most honest fellow that ever he met withal. Hus-
band," quoth she, "because you have been so ingenious as to
tell me the whole truth, I will give you leave to make a
holiday, for this once you shall go to court, and I will make
you as fine as I can."
So it was agreed that he should go to court the next day;
18 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
whereupon Joan rose betime the next morning to brush up
her husband's holiday clothes and make him as fine as she
could. She washed and ironed the lace-band, and made his
shoes shine that he might see his face in them; having done
this she made her husband rise and pull off his shirt. Then
she washed him with warm water from head to foot, putting
on him a clean shirt; afterwards she dressed him in his
holiday clothes, pinning his laced band in prim.
The cobbler's reception at court with the manner of his
behaviour before the king.
The cobbler being thus set forth, he strutted through the
street like a crow in a gutter, thinking himself as fine as the
best of them all.
In this manner he came to the court, staring on this body
and on that body as he walked up and down, and not
knowing how to ask for Harry Tudor. At last he espied
one as he thought, in the habit of a servant-man, to whom
he made his address, saying-
"Dost thou hear, honest fellow, do you know one Harry
Tudor who belongs to the court ?"
"Yes," said the man, "follow me and I will bring you to
With that he had him presently up into the guard cham-
ber, telling one of the yeomen of the guard there was one
that inquired for Harry Tudor.
The yoeman replied: "I know him very well; if you
please to go along with me, I'll bring you to him imme-
So the cobbler followed the yeoman, admiring very much
the prodigious finery of the rooms which he carried him
through. He thought within himself that the yeoman was
mistaken in the person whom he inquired for; for, said he,
" He whom I look for is a plain, merry, honest fellow, his
COMICAL HISTORY OF THE KING AND THE COBBLER. 19
name is Harry Tudor; we drank two pots together not long
since. I suppose he may belong to some lord or other about
"I tell you, friend," replied the yeoman, "I know him
very well, do you but follow me and I shall bring you to
So going forward, he came into the room where the king
was accompanied by several of his nobles, who attended him.
As soon as the yeoman had put up by the arras, he spoke
aloud, May it please your majesty, here is one that inquires
for Harry Tudor."
The cobbler hearing this, thought he had committed no
less than treason, therefore he up with his heels and ran for
it; but not being acquainted with the several turnings and
rooms through which he came, he was soon overtaken and
brought before the king, whom the cobbler little thought to
be the person he inquired after, therefore in a trembling con-
dition he fell down on his knees, saying-
May it please your grace, may it please your highness, I
am a poor cobbler, who inquired for one Harry Tudor, who
is a very honest fellow; I mended the heel of his shoe not
long since, and for which he paid me nobly and gave me two
pots to boot; but I had him afterwards to my cellar, where
we drank part of a cup of nappy ale and we were very
merry till my wife Joan began to grumble, which put an
end to our merriment for that time; but I told him I would
come to the court and see him as soon as conveniently I
Well," said the king, don't be troubled, would you know
this honest fellow again if you could see him ?"
The cobbler replied, Yes; that I will among a thousand."
"Then," said the king, stand up and be not afraid, but
look well about you, peradventure you may find the fellow
in this company."
Whereupon the cobbler arose and looked wistfully upon
AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
the king and the rest of the nobles, but it was to little or no
purpose; for, though he saw something in the king's face
which he thought he had seen before, yet he could not be
Harry Tudor, the heel of whose shoe he had mended and
who had been so merry a companion with him at the inn and
at his own cellar.
He therefore told the king he did not expect to find Harry
Tudor among such fine folks as he saw there, but that the
person he looked for was a plain, honest fellow. Adding
withal, that he was sure that did Harry Tudor but know he
was come to court, he would make him very welcome,
"For," says the cobbler, "when we parted he charged me to
come to court soon and see him, which I promised I would,
and accordingly I have made a holiday on purpose to have
a glass with him."
At which speech of the cobbler's the king had much ado
to forbear laughing out, but keeping his countenance as
steady as he could before the cobbler, he spoke to the yeo-
man of the guard.
"Here," said he, "take this honest cobbler down into my
cellar and let him drink my health, and I will give orders
that Harry Tudor shall come to him presently."
So away they went, the cobbler being fit to leap out of
his skin for joy, not only that he had come off so well, but
that he should see his friend Harry Tudor.
The cobbler's entertainment in the king's cellar.
The cobbler had not been long in the king's cellar, before
the king came to him in the same habit that he had on when
the cobbler mended his shoe; whereupon the cobbler knew
him immediately and ran and kissed him, saying, "Honest
Harry, I have made an holiday on purpose to see you, but I
had much ado to get leave of my wife Joan, who was loath
to lose so much time from my work; but I was resolved to
COMICAL HISTORY OF THE KING AND THE COBBLER. 21
see you and therefore I made myself as fine as I could; but
I'll tell thee, Harry, when I came to court I was in a peck
of troubles how to find you out; but at last I met with a
man who told me he knew you very well and that he would
bring me to you, but instead of doing so he brought me be-
fore the king, which almost frightened me out of my seven
senses; but faith, I'm resolved to be merry with you now,
since I have met you at last."
"Aye, that we shall," replied the king; "we shall be as
merry as princes."
Now after the cobbler had drunk about four or five good
health, he began to be merry and fell a- singing his old songs
and catches, which pleased the king very much and made
him laugh heartily.
When on a sudden several of the nobles came into the
cellar, extraordinary rich in apparel, and all stood uncovered
before Harry Tudor, which put the cobbler into great amaze-
ment at first, but presently recovering himself, he looked
more wistfully upon Harry Tudor, and soon knowing him to
be the king, whom he saw in his presence chamber, though
in another habit, he immediately fell upon his knees
"May it please your grace, may it please your highness, I
am a poor honest cobbler and mean no harm."
"No, no," said the king, "nor shall receive any here, I
He commanded him therefore to rise and be merry as he
was before, and, though he knew him to be the king, yet he
should use the same freedom with him as he did before,
when he mended the heel of his shoe.
This kind speech of the king's and three or four glasses of
wine made the cobbler be in as good humour as before,
telling the king several of his old stories and singing some
of his best songs, very much to the satisfaction of the king
and all his nobles.
AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
THE COBBLER'S SONG IN THE KING'S
Come let us drink the other pot,
Our sorrows to confound;
We'll laugh and sing before the king,
So let his health go round.
For I am as bold as bold can be,
No cobbler e'er was ruder;
Then here, good fellow, here's to thee,
(Remembering Harry Tudor.)
When I'm at work within my stall,
Upon him I will think;
His kindness I to mind will call,
Whene'er I eat or drink.
His kindness was to me so great,
The like was never known,
His kindness I shall still repeat,
And so shall my wife Joan.
I'll laugh when I sit in my stall,
And merrily will sing;
That I with my poor last and awl,
Am fellow with the king.
But it is more I must confess,
Than I at first did know;
But Harry Tudor, nevertheless,
Resolves it shall be so.
And now farewell unto Whitehall,
I homeward must retire;
To sing and whistle in my stall,
My Joan will me desire.
I do but think how she shall laugh,
When she hears of this thing,
That he that drank her nut-brown ale,
Was England's Royal King.
MERRY TALES OF THE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM. 23
How the cobbler became a courtier.
Now the king considering the pleasant humour of the
cobbler, how innocently merry he was and free from any
design; that he was a person that laboured very hard, and
took a great deal of pains for a small livelihood, was pleased,
out of his princely grace and favour, to allow him a liberal
annuity of forty merks a year, for the better support of his
jolly humour and the maintenance of his wife Joan, and that
he should be admitted one of his courtiers, and that he might
have the freedom of his cellar whenever he pleased.
Which being so much beyond expectation, did highly
exalt the cobbler's humour, much to the satisfaction of the
So after a great many legs and scrapes, he returned home
to his wife Joan, with the joyful news of his reception at
court, which so well pleased her that she did not think
much at the great pains she took in decking him for the
THE MERRY TALES
WISE MEN OF GOTHAM.
THERE were two men of Gotham, and one of them was going
to Nottingham market to buy sheep, and both met together
on Nottingham bridge. Well met," said one to the other;
24 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
" whither are you going ?" said he that came from Notting-
ham. Marry," said he that was going thither, I am going
to the market to buy sheep." "Buy sheep I" said the other,
"which way will you bring them home ?" "Marry," said
the other, I will bring them over this bridge." By Robin
Hood," said he that came from Nottingham, "but thou shalt
not." "By my maid Margery," said the other, "but I will."
"You shall not," said the one. "I will," said the other.
Then they beat their staves one against the other and then
against the ground, as if a hundred sheep had been betwixt
them. "Hold there," said the one. "Beware of my sheep
leaping over the bridge," said the other. "I care not," said
the one. "They shall all come this way," said the other.
" But they shall not," said the one. "Then," said the other,
"if thou makest much ado, I will put my finger in thy
mouth." "A groat thou wilt," said the other. And as they
were in contention, another wise man that belonged to
Gotham, came from the market with a sack of meal on his
horse, and seeing his neighbours at strife about sheep and
none betwixt them, said he, Ah fools, will you never learn
wit ? Then help me," continued he, "to lay this sack upon
my shoulder." They did so and he went to the side of the
bridge and shook out the meal into the river, saying, "How
much meal is there in my sack, neighbour ?" "Marry," said
one, "there is none." "Indeed," replied this wise man,
"even so much wit is there in your two heads, to strive for
what you have not." Now which was the wisest of these
three I leave thee to judge.
THERE was a man of Gotham that rode to the market with
two bushels of wheat, and, lest his horse should be damaged
by carrying too great a burden, he was determined to carry
the corn himself upon his own neck, and still kept riding
upon his horse till he arrived at the end of his journey. I
MERRY TALES OF THE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM. 25
will leave you to judge which was the wisest, his horse or
ON a time the men of Gotham fain would have pinned in the
cuckoo that she might sing all the year, and in the midst of
the town they had a hedge made round in compass, and got
a cuckoo and put her into it, and said, "Sing here and thou
shalt lack neither meat nor drink all the year." The cuckoo,
when she found herself encompassed by the hedge, flew
away. "A vengeance on her," said these wise men, "we
did not make our hedge high enough."
THERE was a man of Gotham who went to Nottingham
market to sell cheese, and going down the hill to Nottingham
bridge, one of his cheeses fell out of his wallet and ran down
the hill. "Prithee," said the man, "can you run to the
market alone ? I'll now send one after another." Then
laying his wallet down and taking out the cheeses, he
tumbled them down the hill one after another. Some ran
into one bush and some into another. He charged them,
however, to meet him at the market place. The man went
to the market to meet the cheeses and staying till the market
was almost over, then went and inquired of his neighbours
if they saw his cheeses come to the market. Why, who
should bring them ?" says one. "Marry, themselves," said
the fellow, "they knew the way very well. A vengeance on
them, they ran so fast I was afraid they would run beyond
the market; I am sure they are by this time as far as York."
So he immediately rode to York, but was much disappointed.
And to add to it he never found nor heard of one of his
A MAN of Gotham bought, at Nottingham market, a trevet
of bar iron, and going home with it his feet grew weary with
26 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
the carriage. He set it down and seeing it had three feet
said, "Prithee, thou hast three feet and I but two; thou
shalt bear me home if thou wilt," so he set himself down upon
it and said to it, "Bear me as long as I have done thee, for
if thou dost not thou shalt stand still for me." The man of
Gotham saw his trevet would not move. "Stand still," said
he, "in the mayor's name and follow me if thou wilt and I
can show you the right way." When he went home his wife
asked where the trevet was. He said it had three legs and
he had but two and he had taught him the ready way to
his house, therefore he might come himself if he would.
"Where did you leave the trevet ?" said the woman. "At
Gotham bridge," said he. So she immediately ran and
fetched the trevet herself, otherwise she must have lost it on
account of her husband's want of wit.
A CERTAIN smith of Gotham had a large wasp's nest in the
straw at the end of the forge, and there coming one of his
neighbours to have his horse shod, and the wasps being ex-
ceeding busy the man was stung by one of them. The man,
being grievously affronted, said, "Are you worthy to keep
a forge or not, to have men stung with these wasps ?" 0
neighbour," said the smith, be content, and I will put them
from their nest presently." Immediately he took a coulter
and heated it red hot, and thrust it into the straw at the end
of his forge, and set it on fire and burnt it up. Then, said
the smith, "I told thee I'd fire them out of their nest."
ON Good Friday the men of Gotham consulted together what
to do with their white herrings, sprats, and salt fish, and
agreed that all such fish should be cast into a pond or pool
in the midst of the town, that the number of them might in-
crease the next year. Therefore everyone that had any fish
MERRY TALES OF THE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM.
left did cast them immediately into the pond. Then," said
one, "I have gotten left so many red herrings." "Well,"
said another, "and I have left so many whitings." Another
cried out, "I have as yet gotten so many sprats left."
"And," said the last, "I have gotten so many salt fishes,
let them go together in the great pond, without any distinc-
tion, and we may be sure to fare like lords the next year."
At the beginning of the next Lent, they immediately went
about drawing the pond, imagining they should have the
fish, but were much surprised to find nothing but a great
eel. "Ah !" said they, "a mischief on this eel, for he hath
eaten up our fish." "What must we do with him?" said
one. "Chop him in pieces," said another. "Nay, not so,"
said another; "but let us drown him." "Be it accordingly
so," replied they all. So they went immediately to another
pond and cast the eel into the water. "Lay there," said
these wise men, "and shift for thyself, since you may not
expect help from us." So they left the eel to be drowned.
ON a time the men of Gotham had forgotten to pay their
rents to their landlord; so one said to the other, To-morrow
must be pay-day, by whom can we send our money ?" So
one said, "I have this day taken a hare and she may carry
it, for she is very quick-footed." Be it so," replied the rest;
"she shall have a letter and a purse to put our money in,
and we can direct her the way." When the letter was
written and the money put into a purse, they tied them
about the hare's neck, saying, "You must first go to Lough-
borough and then to Leicester, and at Newark is our land-
lord; then commend us to him and there is his due." The
hare, as soon as she got out of their hands, ran quite a con-
trary way. Some said, "Thou must first go to Lough-
borough." Others said, "Let the hare alone, for she can
tell a nearer way than the best of us, let her go."
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A MAN of Gotham, that went mowing in the meadow, found
a large grasshopper. He instantly threw down his scythe
and ran home to his neighbour and said that the devil was
at work in the field, and was hopping among the grass.
Then was every man ready with their clubs, staves, halberts,
and other weapons to kill the grasshopper. When they came
to the place where the grasshopper was, said one to the other,
" Let every man cross himself from the devil, for we will not
meddle with him." So they returned again and said, "We
are blest this day that we went no farther." "0, ye
cowards!" said he that left the scythe in the meadow,
"help me to fetch my scythe." "No," answered they,
"it is good to sleep in a whole skin. It is much better
for thee to lose thy scythe than to mar us all."
ON a certain time there were twelve men of Gotham that
went to fish; some waded in the water and some stood on
dry land. In going home, one said to the other, "We
have ventured wonderfully in wading, I pray God that
none of us did come from home to be drowned." "Nay,
marry," said one to the other, "let us see that, for
there did twelve of us come out." Then they told them-
selves and every one told eleven. Said the one to the other,
" There is one of us drowned." Then they went back to the
brook where they'd been fishing, and sought up and down
for him that was drowned, making a great lamentation.
A courtier coming by asked what it was they sought for
and why they were sorrowful. Oh," said they, "this day
we went to fish in the brook; twelve of us came out to-
gether and one is drowned." The courtier said, "Tell how
many there be of you." One of them told eleven, but he did
not tell himself. Well," said the courtier, what will you
give me and I will find the twelfth man?" "All the
MERRY TALES OF THE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM. 29
money we have got," said they. "Give me the money,"
said he. He began with the first and gave him a stroke
over the shoulders with his whip, that made him groan,
saying, "Here is one," and so he served them all, and they
groaned at the matter. When he came to the last, he paid
him well, saying, "Here is the twelfth man." "God's
blessings on thee," said they, "for finding our brother."
A MAN of Gotham, riding along the highway, saw a cheese,
so drew his sword and pricked it with the point in order to
pick it up. Another man who came by alighted, picked
it up and rode away with it. The man of Gotham rides to
Nottingham to buy a long sword to pick up the cheese, and
returning to the place where it did lie, he pulled out his
sword, pricked the ground and said, "If I had had but this
sword I should have had the cheese myself, but now another
has come before me and got it."
A MAN in Gotham that did not love his wife, and she having
fair hair he said divers times he would cut it off, but durst
not do it when she was awake, so he resolved to do it when
she was asleep; therefore, one night he took a pair of shears
and put them under his pillow, which his wife perceiving,
said to her maid, "Go to bed to my husband to-night, for
he intends to cut off my hair; let him cut off thy hair and
I will give thee as good a kirtle as ever thou didst see."
The maid did so and feigned herself asleep, which the man
perceiving, cut off her hair, wrapped it about the shears,
and laying them under the pillow, fell asleep. The maid
arose and the wife took the hair and shears and went to the
hall and burnt the hair. The man had a fine horse that he
loved, and the goodwife went into the stable, cut off the hair
of the horse's tail, wrapped the shears up in it and laid them
30 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
under the pillow again. Her husband, seeing her combing
her head in the morning, marvelled threat. The girl,
seeing her master in a deep study, said, "What ails the
horse in the stable, he has lost his tail ?" The man ran into
the stable and found the horse's tail was cut off; then going
to the bed, he found the shears wrapped up in his horse's
tail. He then went to his wife, saying, "I crave thy mercy,
for I intended to cut off thy hair, but I have cut off my own
horse's tail." "Yea," said she, "self do self have." Many
men think to do a bad turn, but it turneth oftimes to them-
A MAN of Gotham laid his wife a wager that she could not
make him a cuckold. "No," said she, "but I can." "Do
not spare me," said he, "but do what you can." On a time
she had hid all the spigots and faucets, and going into the
buttery, set a barrel of broach, and cried to her spouse,
"Pray, bring me a spigot and faucet or else the ale will all
run out." He sought up and down but could not find one.
"Come here then," said she, "and put thy finger in the tap-
hole." Then she called a tailor with whom she made a
bargain. Soon after she came to her husband and brought
a spigot and a faucet, saying, Pull thy finger out of the tap-
hole, good cuckold. Beshrew your heart for your trouble,"
said she, make no such bargain with me again."
A MAN of Gotham took a young buzzard and invited four or
five gentlemen's servants to the eating of it; but the wife
killed an old goose, and she and two of her gossips ate up
the buzzard, and the old goose was laid to the fire for the
gentlemen's servants. So when they came the goose was
set before them. "What is this ?" said one of them. The
goodman said, "A curious buzzard." "A buzzard! why it
is an old goose, and thou art an knave to mock us," and so
MERRY TALES OF THE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM.
departed in great anger. The fellow was sorry that he
had affronted them, and took a bag and put the buzzard's
feathers in it; but his wife desired him, before he went, to
fetch a block of wood, and in the interim she pulled out the
buzzard's feathers and put in the goose's. The man, taking
the bag, went to the gentlemen's servants and said, "Pray,
be not angry with me, you shall see I had a buzzard, for
here be the feathers." Then he opened the bag and took
out the goose's feathers; upon which one of them took a
cudgel and gave him a dozen of stripes, saying, "Why, you
knave, could you not be content to mock us at home, but
you are come here to mock us also."
A MAN'S wife of Gotham was brought to bed of a male child,
and the father invited the gossips who were children of eight
or ten years of age. The eldest child's name was Gilbert, the
second's name was Humphrey, and the godmother was called
Christabel. Their relations admonished them divers times,
that they must all say after the parson. And when they
were come to the church, the priest said, Be you all agreed
of the name ?" Gilbert, Humphrey, and Christabel," said
the same. The priest then said, "Wherefore came you
hither?" They immediately said the same. The priest
being amazed could not tell what to say, but whistled and
said, "Whey," and so did they. The priest being angry,
said, Go home, you fools, go home." Then Gilbert, Humph-
rey, and Christabel did the same. The priest then provided
godfathers and godmothers himself.
A YOUNG man of Gotham went a wooing a fair maid: his
mother warned him beforehand, saying, Wheneveryou look
at her, cast a sheep's eye at her, and say, How dost thou,
my sweet pigmy?'" The fellow went to a butcher and
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bought seven or eight sheep eyes. And when this lusty
wooer was at dinner, he would look upon the fair wench
and cast in her face a sheep's eye, saying, "How dost thou
do, my sweet pigmy ?" "How do I do," said the wench;
"swine's face, what do you mean by casting a sheep's eye
at me?" "O! sweet pigmy, have at thee with another."
"I defy thee, swine's face," said the wench. "What my
sweet old pigmy, be content, for if you live to next year
you will be a foul sow." "Walk, knave, walk," said she,
"for if you live till next year you will be a fool."
THERE was a man of Gotham who would be married, and
when the day of marriage was come they went to the church.
The priest said, Do you say after me." The man said Do
you say after me." The priest said, Say not after me such
like, but say what I shall tell you; thou dost play the fool
to mock the holy scriptures concerning matrimony." The
fellow said, "Thou dost play the fool to mock the holy
scriptures concerning matrimony." The priest wist not
what to say, but answered, "What shall I do with this
fool?" and the man said, "What shall I do with this fool ?"
So the priest took his leave and would not marry them.
The man was instructed by others how to do, and was after-
wards married. And thus the breed of the Gothamites has
been perpetuated even unto this day.
THERE was a Scotsman who dwelt at Gotham, and he took
a house a little distance from London and turned it into an
inn, and for his sign he would have a boar's head. Accord-
ingly he went to a carver and said, "Can you make me a
bare head?" "Yes," said the carver. "Then," said he,
" make me a bare head, and thou'se hae twenty shillings for
thy hire." "I will do it," said the carver. On St. Andrew's
day before Christmas (called Yule in Scotland) the Scot
MERRY TALES OF THE WISE MEN OF GOTHAM. 33
came to London for his boar's head. "I say, speak," said
the Scotsman, "hast thou made me a bare head ?" "Yes,"
said the carver. He went and brought a man's head of wood
that was bare, and said, "Sir, there is your bare head."
" Ay," said the Scot, the meikle de'il is this a bare head ?"
"Yes," said the carver. "I say," said the Scotsman, "I will
have a bare head like the head that follows a sow with gryces.
What, fool, know you not a sow that will greet and
groan and cry a-week, a-week." "What," said the carver,
"do you mean a pig?" "Yes," said the Scotsman, "let me
have her head made of timber, and set on her a scalp and let
her sing, 'Whip whire.'" The carver said he could not.
"You fool," said he, "gar her as she'd sing whip whire."
IN old times, during these tales, the wives of Gotham were
got into an alehouse, and said they were all profitable to
their husbands. "Which way, good gossips ?" said the ale-
wife. The first said, "I will tell you all, good gossips, I
cannot brew nor bake, therefore I am every day alike, and
go to the ale-house because I cannot go to church; and in
the ale-house I pray to God to speed my husband, and I
am sure my prayers will do him more good than my labour."
Then said the second, "I am profitable to my husband in
saving of candle in winter, for I cause my husband and all
my people to go to bed by daylight and rise by daylight."
The third said, I am profitable in sparing bread, for I drink
a gallon of ale, and I care not much for meat." The fourth
said, "I am loath to spend meat and drink at home, so I go
to the tavern at Nottingham and drink wine and such other
things as God sends me there." The fifth said, A man will
ever have more company in another's house than his own,
and most commonly in the ale-house." The sixth said,
" My husband has flax and wool to spare if I go to other
folk's houses to do their work." The seventh said, "I spare
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my husband's wood and clothes, and sit all day talking at
other folks' fires." The eighth said, "Beef, mutton, and
pork are dear, I therefore take pigs, chickens, conies, and
capons, being of a lesser price." The ninth said, "I spare
my husband's soap, for instead of washing once a week, I
wash but once a quarter." Then said the ale-wife, "I keep
all my husband's ale from souring; for as I was wont to
drink it almost up, now I never leave a drop."
ON Ash Wednesday, the minister of Gotham would have a
collection from his parishioners, and said unto them. "My
friends, the time is come that you must use prayer, fasting,
and alms, but come ye to shrift, I will tell you more of
my mind, but as for prayer I don't think that two men
in the parish can say their paternoster. As for fasting, ye
fast still, for ye have not a good meal's meat in the year.
As for aim-deeds, what should they give that have nothing ?
In Lent you must refrain from drunkenness and abstain
from drink." "No, not so," said one fellow, "for it is an
old proverb, 'That fish should swim.'" "Yes," said the
priest, they must swim in the water." I crave thy mercy,"
quoth the fellow, "I thought it should have swam in fine
ale, for I have been told so." Soon after the men of Gotham
came to shrift, and being seven the priest knew not what
penance to give. He said, "If I enjoin you to pray, you
cannot say your paternoster. And it is but folly to make
you fast, because you never eat a meal's meat. Labour hard
and get a dinner on Sunday, and I will partake of it." An-
other man he enjoined to fare well on Monday, and another
on Tuesday, and another on Wednesday, and so on one after
another, that one or other should fare well once in the week,
that he might have part of their meat, on every day during
the week. "And as for your aim-deeds," the priest said,
"ye be but beggars all, except one or two, therefore bestow
your alms on yourselves."
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT.
PART THE FIRST.
Tom's Birth and Parentage.
IN the reign of William the Conqueror, having read in
ancient records, there lived in the Isle of Ely, in Cambridge-
shire, a man named Thomas Hickathrift, a poor labourer,
yet he was an honest, stout man, and able to do as much
work in a day as two ordinary men. Having only one son,
he called him after his own name, Thomas. The old man
put his son to school, but he would not learn anything.
It pleased God to call the old man aside, and his mother
being tender of her son, she maintained him by her own
labour as well as she could; but all his delight was in the
corner; and he ate as much at once as would serve five
At ten years old he was near six feet high, and three in
thickness; his hand was much like to a shoulder of mutton,
and every other part proportionable; but his great strength
was yet unknown.
How Thomas Hickathrift's Great Strength
Came to be Known.
TOM'S mother, being a poor widow, went to a rich farmer's
house to beg a bundle of straw to shift herself and her son
Thomas. The farmer, being an honest charitable man, bid
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her take what she wanted. She going home to her son
Thomas, said," Pray go to such a place, and fetch me a bundle
of straw; I have asked leave." He swore he would not go.
"Nay, prithee go," said the good old mother. He again swore
he would not go, unless she would borrow him a cart rope.
She being willing to please him, went and borrowed one.
Then taking up the cart rope, away he went, and coming
to the.farmer's house, the master was in the barn, and two
other men threshing.
Said Tom, I am come for a bundle of straw." "Tom," said
the farmer, take as much as thou can't carry." So he laid
down his cart rope, and began to make up his bundle.
"Your rope, Tom," said they, "is too short," and jeered
him. But he fitted the farmer well for his joke; for when
he had made up his burden, it was supposed to be near a
thousand weight. "But," said they, "what a fool thou art;
for thou can't not carry the tithe of it." But, however, he
took up his burden, and made no more of it than we do of
an hundred pounds weight, to the great astonishment of
both master and men.
Now Tom's strength beginning to be known in the town,
they would not let him lie basking in the chimney corner,
every one hiring him to work, seeing he had so much
strength, all telling him it was a shame for him to lie idle
as he did from day to day; so that Tom finding them bait
at him as they did, went first to one to work and then to
One day a man came to him, desiring him to bring a tree
home. So Tom went with him and four other men.
Now when they came to the wood they set the cart by
the tree, and began to draw it by pulleys; but Tom seeing
them not able to stir it, said, "Stand aside, fools," and so set
on the one end, and then put it into the cart. "There,"
said he, "see what a man can do !" "Marry," said they,
" that is true indeed."
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT.
Having done, and coming through the wood, they met the
woodman; and Tom asked him for a stick to make his
mother a fire with.
Aye," says the woodman, "take one."
So Tom took up a bigger than that on the cart, and
putting it on his shoulder, walked home with it faster than
the six horses in the cart drew the other.
Now this was the second instance of Tom showing his
strength; by which time he began to think that he had
more natural strength than twenty common men, and from
that time Tom began to grow very tractable; he would
jump, run, and take delight in young company, and would
ride to fairs and meetings, to see sports and diversions.
One day going to a wake where the young men were met,
some went to wrestling, and some to cudgels, some to
throwing the hammer, and the like.
Tom stood awhile to see the sport, and at last he joined
the company in throwing the hammer: at length he took
the hammer in his hand, and felt the weight of it, bidding
them stand out of the way, for he would try how far he could
Ay," says the old smith, you will throw it a great way,
I warrant you."
Tom took the hammer, and giving it a swing, threw it
into a river four or five furlongs distant, and bid them go
and fetch it out.
After this Tom joined the wrestlers, and though he had no
more skill than an ass, yet by main strength he flung all he
grasped with; if once he but laid hold they were gone;
some he threw over his head, and others he laid gently down.
He did not attempt to look or strike at their heels, but
threw them two or three yards from him, and sometimes on
their heads, ready to break their necks. So that at last none
durst enter the ring to wrestle with him, for they took
him to be some devil among them.
38 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
Thus was the fame of Tom's great strength spread more
and more about the country.
How Tom became a Brewer's Servant; how he killed a
Giant, and came to be called Mr. Hickathrift.
ToM's fame being spread, no one durst give him an angry
word; for being foolhardy, he cared not what he did, so
that those who knew him would not displease him. At last
a brewer of Lynn, who wanted a lusty man to carry beer to
the Marsh and to Wisbeach, hearing of Tom, came to hire
him; but Tom would not hire himself till his friends
persuaded him, and his master promised him a new suit of
clothes from top to toe, and also that he should be his man;
and the master showed him where he should go, for there
was a monstrous giant who kept part of the Marsh, and
none dared to go that way; for if the giant found them he
would either kill them or make them his servants.
But to come to Tom and his master, Tom did more in one
day than all the rest of his men did in three: so that his
master seeing him so tractable and careful in his business,
made him his head man, and trusted him to carry beer by
himself, for he needed none to help him. Thus Tom went
each day to Wisbeach, a journey of near twenty miles.
Tom going this journey so often, and finding the other
road the giant kept nearer by the half, and Tom having
increased his strength by being so well kept, and improving
his courage by drinking so much strong ale; one day as he
was going to Wisbeach, without saying anything to his
master or any of his fellow servants, he resolved to make the
nearest road or lose his life; to win the horse or lose the
saddle; to kill or be killed, if he met with this giant.
Thus resolved, he goes the nearest way with his cart,
flinging open the gates in order to go through; but the giant
soon spied him, and seeing him a daring fellow, vowed to
stop his journey and make a prize of his beer; but Tom
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT. 39
cared not a groat for him, and the giant met him like a roar-
ing lion, as though he would have swallowed him up.
"Sirrah," said he, "who gave you authority to come this
way ? Do you not know that I make all stand in fear of
my sight ? and you, like an impudent rogue, must come and
fling open my gates at pleasure. Are you so careless of your
life that you do not care what you do ? I will make you an
example to all rogues under the sun. Dost thou not see
how many heads hang upon yonder tree that have offended
my laws ? Thine shall hang higher than any of them alL"
"A tod in your teeth," said Tom, "you shall not find me
"No," said the giant; "why, you are but a fool if you
come to fight me, and bring no weapon to defend thyself."
Cries Tom, "I have got a weapon here that shall make
you know I am your master."
"Aye, say you so, sirrah," said the giant, and then ran to
his cave to fetch his club, intending to dash his brains out
at a blow.
While the giant was gone for his club, Tom turned his
cart upside down, taking the axle tree and wheel for his
sword and buckler; and excellent weapons they were on
such an emergency.
The giant coming out again began to stare at Tom, to see
him take the wheel in one of his hands and the axle tree in
Oh, oh! said the giant, you are like to do great things
with those instruments; I have a twig here that will beat
thee, thy axle tree, and wheel to the ground."
Now that which the giant called a twig was as thick as a
mill post; with this the giant made a blow at Tom with
such force as made his wheel crack.
Tom, not in the least daunted, gave him as brave a blow
on the side of the head, which made him reel again.
"What," said Tom, have you got drunk with my small
40 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
beer already ?" The giant recovering, made many hard
blows at Tom; but still as they came he kept them off with
his wheel, so that he received but very little hurt.
In the meantime Tom plied him so well with blows that
sweat and blood ran together down the giant's face, who,
being fat and foggy, was almost spent with fighting so long,
so begged Tom to let him drink, and then he would fight
"No," said Tom, "my mother did not teach me such wit.
Who is fool then?" Whereupon, finding the giant grew
weak, Tom redoubled his blows till he brought him to the
The giant, finding himself overcome, roared hideously,
and begged Tom to spare his life and he would perform any-
thing he should desire, even yield himself unto him and be
But Tom, having no more mercy on him than a dog upon
a bear, laid on him till he found him breathless, and then
cut off his head, after which he went into his cave, and there
found great store of gold and silver, which made his heart
leap for joy.
When he had rummaged the cave, and refreshed himself a
little, he restored the wheel and axle tree to their places, and
loaded his beer on his cart, and went to Wisbeach, where he
delivered his beer, and returned home the same night as
Upon his return to his master, he told him what he had
done, which, though he was rejoiced to hear, he could not
altogether believe, till he had seen if it were true.
Next morning Tom's master went with him to the place,
to be convinced of the truth, as did most of the inhabitants
When they came to the place they were rejoiced to find
the giant quite dead; and when Tom showed them the
head and what gold and silver there was in the cave, all of
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT. 41
them leaped for joy; for the giant had been a great enemy
to that part of the country.
News was soon spread that Tom Hickathrift had killed
the giant, and happy was he that could come to see the
giant's cave; and bonfires were made all round the
country for Tom's success.
Tom, by the general consent of the country, took possession
of the giant's cave and riches. He pulled down the cave,
and built himself a handsome house on the spot. He gave
part of the giant's lands to the poor for their common, and
the rest he divided and enclosed for an estate to maintain
him and his mother.
Now Tom's fame was spread more and more through the
country, and he was no longer called plain Tom, but Mr.
Hickathrift, and they feared his anger now almost as much
as they did that of the giant before.
Tom now finding himself very rich, resolved his neighbours
should be the better for it. He enclosed himself a park and
kept deer; and just by his house he built a church, which he
dedicated to St. James, because on that saint's day he killed
How Tomr kept a pack of Hounds, and of his being attacked
by some Highwaymen.
ToM not being used to such a stock of riches, could hardly
tell how to dispose of it; but he used means to do it, for he
kept a pack of hounds and men to hunt them; and who but
Tom; he took much delight in sports and exercises, and'he
would go far and near to a merry making.
One day as Tom was riding he saw a company at football,
and dismounted to see them play for a wager; but he spoiled
all their sport, for meeting the football, he gave it such a
kick that they never found it more; whereupon they began
to quarrel with Tom, but some of them got little good by it;
for he got a spar, which belonged to an old house that had
4Z AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
been blown down, with which he drove all opposition before
him, and made a way wherever he came.
After this, going home late in the evening, he was met by
four highwaymen, well mounted, who had robbed all the
passengers that travelled on that road.
When they saw Tom, and found that he was alone, they
were cock sure of his money, and bid him stand and deliver.
"What must I deliver?" cries Tom. "Your money,
sirrah," said they. "Aye," said Tom, "but you shall give
me better words for it first, and be better armed too."
Come, come," said they, we came not here to prate, but
for your money, and money we must have before we go."
"Is it so ?" said Tom; "then get it and take it."
Whereupon one of them made at him with a rusty sword,
which Tom immediately wrenched out of his hand, and
attacked the whole four with it, and made them set spurs
to their horses; but seeing one had a portmanteau behind
him, and supposing it contained money, he more closely
pursued them, and soon overtook them and cut their
journey short, killing two of them and sadly wounding the
other two, who, begging hard for their lives, he let them go,
but took away all their money, which was about two
hundred pounds, to bear his expenses home.
When Tom came home he told them how he had served
the poor football players and the four thieves, which pro-
duced much mirth and laughter amongst all the company.
Tom meets with a Tinker and of the Battle
SOME time afterwards, as Tom was walking about his
estate to see how his workmen went on, he met upon the
skirts of the forest a very sturdy tinker, having a good staff
on his shoulder and a great dog to carry his budget of tools.
So Tom asked the tinker from whence he came and
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT. 43
whither he was going, as that was no highway ? Now the
tinker being a very sturdy fellow, bid him go look, what
was that to him ? But fools must always be meddling.
"Hold," said Tom, "before you and I part I will make
you know who I am."
Aye," says the tinker, "it is three years since I had a
combat with any man; I have challenged many a one, but
none dare face me, so I think they are all cowards in this
part of the country; but I hear there is a man lives here-
abouts named Thomas Hickathrift, who has killed a giant,
him I'd willingly see to have a bout with him."
"Aye," said Tom, "I am the man. What have you to say
to me ?"
"Truly," said the tinker, "I am very glad we are so
happily met, that we may have one touch."
Surely," said Tom, "you are but in jest."
Marry," said the tinker, but I am in earnest."
A match," said Tom.
"It is done," said the tinker.
"But," said Tom, will you give me leave to get me a
"Aye," said the tinker, "I hate him that fights with a
So Tom stepped to a gate and took a rail for a staff. So
to it they fell. The tinker at Tom, and Tom at the tinker,
like two giants. The tinker had a leather coat on, so that
every blow Tom gave him made it roar again, yet the tinker
did not give way an inch till Tom gave him such a bang on
the side of the head that felled him to the ground.
"Now, tinker, where art thou ?" said Tom. But the
tinker being a nimble fellow, leaped up again, and gave Tom
a bang, the which made him reel, and following his blows,
took Tom on the other side, which made him throw down
his weapon and yield the mastery to the brave tinker.
After this Tom took the tinker home to his house, where
44 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
we shall leave them to improve their acquaintance, and get
themselves cured of the bruises they gave each other. And
for a further account of the merry pranks of Tom and the
tinker, the reader is referred to the Second Part, which is
far more entertaining than this.
PART THE SECOND.
Tom Hickathrift and the Tinker conquer Ten Thousand
IN and about the Isle of Ely, many disaffected persons, to
the number of ten thousand or upwards, drew themselves
together in a body, pretending to contend for their rights
and privileges, which they said had been greatly infringed;
insomuch that the civil magistrates of the country thought
themselves in great danger of their lives.
Whereupon the sheriff by night came to the house of Mr.
Thomas Hickathrift, as a secure place of refuge in so
eminent a time of danger, where he laid open to Mr.
Hickathrift the unreasonableness of the complaint of these
rebels, and begged his protection and assistance.
Sheriff," said Tom, what service my brother," meaning
the tinker, "and I can perform shall not be wanting."
This said, in the morning, by break of day, with trusty
clubs, they both went out, desiring the sheriff to be their
guide in conducting them to the place where the rebels
When they came there, Tom and the tinker marched
boldly up to the head of them, and demanded the reason
why they disturbed the government? To which they
replied, That their will was their law, and by that only we
will be governed."
"Nay," said Tom, "if it be so, these are our weapons, and
by them ye shall be chastised." These words were no
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT. 40
sooner out of his mouth, but the tinker and he threw them-
selves both together into the crowd, where with their clubs
they beat down all before them. Nay, remarkable it was,
the tinker struck a tall man upon the neck with such force
that his head flew off and was carried ten yards from him,
and struck the chief leader with such violence as levelled
him to the. ground.
Tom, on the other hand, pressing forward, beat down all
before him, making great havoc, till by an unfortunate blow
he broke his club; yet he was not in the least dismayed, for he
presently seized a lusty, stout, raw-boned miller, and so made
use of him for a weapon, till at last they cleared the field,
that not one of them d'urst lift up their hand against them.
Shortly after Tom took some of them and exposed them
to public justice; the rest being pardoned at the request of
Tom and the tinker.
Tom Hickathrift and the Tinker are sent for up to Court;
and of their kind Entertainment.
THE king being truly informed of the faithful services per-
formed by these his loving subjects, Tom Hickathrift and
the tinker, he was pleased to send for them and the nobility.
Now after the banquet the king said, "These are my
trusty and well-beloved subjects, men of known courage and
valour, who conquered ten thousand persons who were met
together to disturb the peace of my realm.
According to the characters given of Thomas Hickathrift
and Henry Nonsuch, persons here present, which cannot be
matched in the world; all were it possible to have an army
of 20,000 such, I durst immediately venture to act the part
of great Alexander.
As a proof of my favour, kneel down and receive the order
of knighthood, Mr. Hickathrift; and as for Henry Nonsuch
I will settle upon him a reward of forty pounds a year
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So said, the king withdrew, and Sir Thomas Hickathrift
and Henry Nonsuch, the tinker, returned to their home.
But, to the great grief of Sir Thomas Hickathrift, he found
his mother dead and buried.
Tom, after the Death of his Mother, goes a-wooing; and of
a Trick he served a Gallant, 'who had offended him.
TOM'S mother being dead, and he left alone in a spacious
house, he found himself strange; therefore began to consider
with himself that it would not be amiss to seek a wife; so,
hearing of a rich and young widow in Cambridge, he goes
to her and makes his addresses, and at the first coming she
seemed to show him much favour; but between that and
his coming again she gave entertainment to an airy, brisk,
and young spark that happened to come in while Tom was
there a second time.
He looked very wistfully at Tom, and Tom stared as
fiercely at him again; so at last the young spark began to
abuse Tom with very affronting language, saying he was a
lubberly welp and a scoundrel.
A scoundrel!" said Tom. Better sayings would
become you; and if you do not instantly mend your
manners, you will meet with correction."
At which the young man challenged him; so to the yard
they went-the young man with his sword, and Tom with
neither stick nor staff.
Said the spark, Have you nothing to defend yourself ?
Then I shall the sooner despatch you."
So he made a pass at Tom, but that he butt by; and then,
wheeling round unto his back, Tom gave him such a nice
kick in the breech as sent the spark like a crow up in
the air, whence he fell upon the ridge of a thatched house,
and came down into a fish-pond, where he had certainly been
drowned if it had not been for a poor shepherd, who was
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT.
walking by that road, and, seeing him floating on the water,
dragged him out with his hook, and home he returned like a
drowned rat; whilst Tom enjoyed the kind embraces of his
How Tom served Two Troopers, whom the Spark had
hired to beset him.
Now the young gallant vexed himself to think how Tom
had conquered him before his new mistress, so was resolved
on speedy revenge, and, knowing he was not able to cope
with Tom, he hired two lusty troopers, well mounted, to lie
in ambush under a thicket, which Tom was to pass on his
way home, and so accordingly they both attempted to set
How now, rascals!" said Tom; what would you be
at? Are you indeed so weary of your lives that you so
unadvisedly set upon one who is able to crush you like a
cucumber?" The two troopers, laughing at him, said they
were not to be daunted at his high words. High words !"
said Tom; nay, now I will come to action," and so ran
between them, catching them in his arms, horses and men,
as easy as if they had been but two baker's bavins.
In this manner he steered homewards, but, as he passed
through a company of haymakers, the troopers cried, Stop
him! stop him! He runs away with two of the king's
troopers." But they laughed to see Tom hugging them,
frequently upbraiding them for their baseness, saying he'd
make mince meat of them for crows and jackdaws.
This was a dreadful lecture to them, and the poor rogues
begged he would be merciful to them, and they would dis-
cover the whole plot, and who was the person that employed
them, which they accordingly did, and gained favour in the
sight of Tom, who pardoned them on promise that they
would never be concerned in so villainous an action as that
was for the future.
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Tom, going to be Married, is set upon by Twenty-one
Ruffians; and of the Havock he made.
IN regard Tom had been hindered hitherto by the troopers,
he delayed his visit to his lady and love till the next day,
and, coming to her, he gave her a full account of what had
She was much pleased at this relation, and received him
with joy and satisfaction, knowing it was safe for a woman
to marry wi1h a man who was able to defend her against any
assault whatever; and so brave a man as Tom was found to be.
The day of marriage being appointed, and friends and
relations invited, yet secret malice, which is never satisfied
but with revenge, had like to have prevented it; for, having
near three miles to go to church, the aforementioned gentle-
man had provided one-and-twenty ruffians to destroy Tom,
for to put them to consternation.
Howbeit, it so happened in a private place, all bolted out
upon Tom, and with a spear gave him a slight wound,
which made his sweetheart shriek out lamentably. Tom
endeavoured to pacify her, saying, Stand you still, and I
will soon show you some pleasant sport."
Here he catched hold of a broad-sword from the side of
one of the company, and behaved so gallantly with it that
at every stroke he took off a joint. He spared their lives,
but lopped off their legs and arms, that in less than a
quarter of an hour there was not one in the company bht
had lost a limb. The grass was all stained with a purple
gore, and the ground was covered with legs and arms.
His lover and the rest of the company were all this while
standing by and admiring his valour, crying out, O, what
a sight of cripples has he made in a short time!"
Yes," said Tom, I verily believe that for every drop of
blood I have lost I have made the rascals pay me a limb,
as a just tribute."
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT.
This said, he steps to a farmer's house, and hired a
servant, by giving him twenty shillings to carry the several
cripples home to their respective habitations in his cart,
and then posted to church with his love,' when they were
heartily merry with their friends after this encounter.
Tom provides a Feast for all the poor Widows in the
adjacent Towns; and how he served an Old
Woman who Stole a Silver Cup.
Now Tom, being married, made a plentiful feast, to which
he invited all the poor widows in the parish, for the sake of
his mother, who had been lately buried.
This feast was carried on with the greatest solemnity,
and, being ended, a silver cup was missing, and being asked
about it they all denied it.
At last, all being searched, the cup was found on an old
woman named Strumbelow. Then all the rest were in a
rage; some were for hanging her, others for chopping the
old woman in pieces for ingratitude to such a generous
But he entreated them all to be quiet, saying they should
not murder a poor old woman, for he would appoint a
punishment for her, which was this:-He bored a hole
through her nose, and put a string in it, and then ordered
her to be stripped; so commanding the rest of the old
women to lead her through all the streets and lanes in
Cambridge, which comical sight caused a general laughter.
This being done, she had her clothes again, and so was
Sir Thomas and his Lady are sent for up to Court;
and of what happened at that Time.
Now, tidings of Tom's wedding was soon raised at court,
insomuch that they had a royal invitation there, in order
that the king might have a sight of his newly-married lady.
50 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
Accordingly, they came, and were received with much joy
Whilst they were in the midst of their mirth news was
brought the king by the Commons of Kent that a very
dreadful giant was landed in one of the islands, and had
brought with him a great number of bears, and also young
lions, with a dreadful dragon, upon which he always rode,
which said monster and ravenous beasts had much frighted
all the inhabitants of the said island. And, moreover, they
said, if speedy course was not taken to suppress them in due
time, they would destroy the country.
The king, hearing of this relation, was a little startled;
yet he persuaded them to return home, and make the best
defence they could for the present, assuring them that he
would not forget them, and so they departed.
Tom is made Governor of East Angles, now called the Isle
of Thanet; and of the wonderful Achievements
he there performed.
THE king, hearing these dreadful tidings, immediately sat
in council to consider what was best to be done for the
conquering this giant and wild beasts.
At length Tom Hickathrift was pitched upon as being a
stout and bold subject, for which reason it was judged
necessary to make him Governor of that island, which place
of trust he readily accepted; and accordingly he went down
with his wife and family to take possession of the same,
attended by a hundred and odd knights and gentlemen at
least; they taking leave of him, and wishing him all health
Many days he had not been there before it was his
fortune to meet this monstrous giant, for thus it was:-Sir
Thomas, looking out at his own window, espied this giant
mounted on a dreadful dragon, and on his shoulder he bore
a club of iron. He had but one eye, which was in the
THE HISTORY OF THOMAS HICKATHRIFT. 01
middle of his forehead, and was as large as a barber's basin,
and seemed like flaming fire, the hair of his head hanging
down like snakes, and his beard like rusty wire.
Lifting up his eye, he saw Sir Thomas, who was viewing
him from one of the windows of the castle. The giant
then began to knit his brows, and to breathe forth some
threatening words to the Governor, who, indeed, was a little
surprised at the approach of such a monstrous and ill-
The monstrous giant, finding that Tom did not make
much haste to get down to him, alighted from his
dragon, and chained him to an oak tree, then marched to
the castle, setting his broad shoulders against the corner of
the wall as if he intended to overthrow the whole bulk of
the building at once. Tom, perceiving it, said, "Is this the
game you would be at ? Faith, I shall spoil your sport, for
I have a tool to pick your teeth with."
He then took the two-handed sword the king gave
him, down he went, and, flinging open the gate, he
there finds the giant, who, by an unfortunate slip in his
thrusting, was fallen along, and there lay, not able to defend
How now! said Tom; do you come here to take up
your lodging? This is not at all to be suffered." And
with that he ran his long broad sword between the giant's
tawny buttocks, and made the brute give a groan almost as
loud as thunder.
Then Sir Thomas, pulling out his sword again, and at six
or seven blows he severed his head, which, when cut off,
seemed like the root of a great oak; then, turning to the
dragon, which was all this time chained to a tree, without
any more ado, at a few blows cut off that also.
This adventure being over, he sent for a waggon and
horses, and loaded them with the heads, and then summoned
all the constables of the county for a safeguard, and sent
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them to the court, with a promise to his Majesty that in a
short time he would clear the island of all the bears, lions,
The Tinker, hearing of Tom's Fame, he goes to his Partner;
and of his being unfortunately slain by a Lion.
TOM's victories rang so loud that they reached the ears of
his old acquaintance the tinker, who, being desirous of
honour, resolved to go* down and visit him in his govern-
ment; and coming there he was kindly entertained.
After a few days' pleasure, Tom told him he must go in.
search of some bears and lions in the island.
"Then," said the tinker, "I will go with you."
"With all my heart," said Tom, for I must own I shall
be glad of your company." On this they went forward-
Tom with his great sword and the tinker with his pike staff.
After they had travelled four or five hours, it was their
fortune to meet all the wild beasts together, being in number
fourteen, six of which were bears, the other eight young
lions. When these creatures had set their eyes on them
they ran furiously, as if they would have devoured them at
a mouthful, but Tom and the tinker stood side by side, with
their backs against an oak, until the lions and bears came
within their reach. Tom, with his sword, clave all their
heads asunder, until they were all destroyed, except one
young lion, who, seeing the rest of his fellow-creatures dead,
he was making his escape; but the tinker, being too ven-
turous, ran hastily after him, and gave the lion a blow.
The beast turned upon him, and seized him with such
violence by the throat as soon ended his life.
Tom's joy was now mingled with sorrow, for, though he
had cleared the island of those ravenous beasts, yet his grief
was intolerable for the loss of his friend.
Home he returned to his lady, where, in token of joy for
the success he'd had in his dangerous enterprises, he made
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER. 06
a very noble and splendid feast, to which he invited all his
friends and acquaintances, and then made the following
My friends, while I have strength to stand,
Most manfully I will pursue
All dangers, till I clear the land
Of lions, bears, and tigers too."
His Birth and Parentage
His Meeting with the King's Son; His Noble
Conquests over many Monstrous Giants
And his rescuing a Beautiful Lady, whom he
IN the reign of King Arthur, near the Land's-End of Eng-
land, in the county of Cornwall, there lived a wealthy
farmer, who had only one son, commonly known by the
name of Jack. He was brisk, and of a lively, ready wit,
so that whatever he could not perform by strength he
completed by wit and policy. Never was any person heard
of that could worst him; nay, the learned he baffled by his
cunning and ready inventions.
For instance, when he was no more than seven years of
54 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
age, his father sent him into the field to look after his oxen.
A country vicar, by chance one day coming across the field,
called Jack, and asked him several questions; in particular,
" How many commandments were there ?" Jack told him
there were nine. The parson replied, "There are ten."
" Nay," quoth Jack, master parson, you are out of that;
it is true there were ten, but you have broken one of
them." The parson replied, Thou art an arch wag, Jack."
" Well, master parson," quoth Jack, you have asked
me one question, and I have answered it; let me ask
you another. "Who made these oxen ?" The parson
replied, "God." "You are out again," quoth Jack, "for
God made them bulls, but my father and his man Hobson
made oxen of them." The parson, finding himself fooled,
trudged away, leaving Jack in a fit of laughter.
In those days the mount of Cornwall was kept by a huge
and monstrous giant of 27 feet high and of 3 yards in
compass, of a grim countenance, to the terror of all the
neighboring towns. His habitation was a cave in the
midst of the mount; neither would he suffer any living
creature to inhabit near him. His feeding was upon other
men's cattle; for whensoever he had occasion for food he
would wade over to the main land, where he would furnish
himself with whatever he could find; for the people at his
approach would forsake their habitations; then he would
take their cows and oxen, of which he would make nothing
to carry over on his back half a dozen at a time ; and as for
sheep and hogs, he would tie them round his waist. This
he had for many years practised in Cornwall.
But one day Jack, coming to the Town Hall, when the
Magistrates were sitting in consternation about the giant,
he asked what reward they would give to any person that
would destroy him. They answered, "He shall have all
the giant's treasure in recompense." Quoth Jack, "Then
I myself will undertake the work."
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER.
Jack furnished himself with a horn, a shovel, and a pick-
axe, and over to the mount he goes in the beginning of a dark
winter evening, where he fell to work, and before morning
had digged a pit 22 feet deep, and as broad, and covered
the same over with long sticks and straw; then strewed a little
mould upon it, so that it appeared like the plain ground.
This done, Jack places himself on the contrary side of
the pit just about the dawning of the day, when, putting
his horn to his mouth, he then blew, Tan twivie, tan twivie,"
which unexpected noise roused the giant, who came roaring
towards Jack, crying out, You incorrigible villain, are you
come hither to break my rest ? You shall dearly pay for it;
satisfaction I will have, and it shall be this-I will take
you wholly and broil you for my breakfast," which words
were no sooner out of his mouth but he tumbled headlong
into the deep pit, whose heavy fall made the very founda-
tion of the mount to shake.
Oh! giant, where are you now ? Faith, you are got
into Lobb's Pond, where I shall plague you for your
threatening words. What do you think now of broiling me
for your breakfast ? Will no other diet serve you but poor
Jack ?" Thus having tantalized the giant for a while, he gave
him a most weighty knock on the crown of his head with
his pick-axe, so that he immediately tumbled down, gave a
most dreadful groan, and died. This done, Jack threw the
earth in upon him, and so buried him; then, going and
searching the cave, he found a great quantity of treasure.
Now, when the Magistrates who employed him heard the
work was over, they sent for him, declaring that he should
henceforth be called Jack the Giant-Killer. And in honour
thereof, they presented him with a sword, together with a
fine rich embroidered belt, on which these words were
wrought in letters of gold-
"Here's the right valiant Cornish man
Who slew the giant Cormillan."
00 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
The news of Jack's victory was soon spread; when another
huge giant, named Blunderboar, hearing of it, vowed to
be revenged on Jack if ever it was his fortune to light upon
him. This giant kept an enchanted castle, situated in the
midst of a lonesome wood. Now, Jack, about four months
after, walking near the borders of the said wood, on his
journey towards Wales, grew weary, and therefore sat
himself down by the side of a pleasant fountain, where a
deep sleep suddenly seized on him, at which time the giant
coming for water, found him; and by the line on his belt
knew him to be Jack that killed his brother; and, without
any words, threw him upon his shoulder, to carry him to
his enchanted castle.
Now, as they passed through a thicket, the ruffling of the
boughs awaked poor Jack, who, finding himself in the
clutches of the giant, was strangely surprised; for, at the
entering within the first walls of the castle, he beheld the
ground all covered with bones and skulls of dead men,
the giant telling Jack that his bones would enlarge the
number that he saw. This said, he brought him into a
large parlour, where he beheld the bloody quarters of some
who were lately slain, and in the next room were many
hearts and livers, which the giant, in order to terrify Jack,
told him that men's hearts and livers were the choicest of
his diet, for he commonly ate them with pepper and vinegar,
and he did not question but his heartwould make him a dainty
bit." This said, he locks up poor Jack in an upper room, while
he went to fetch another giant living in the same wood, that
he might partake in the destruction of poor Jack.
Now, while he wasgone, dreadful shrieks and criesaffrighted
poor Jack, especially a voice which continually cried-
"Do what you can to get away,
Or you'll become the giant's prey;
He's gone to fetch his brother, who
Will kill and likewise torture you."
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER. 07
This dreadful noise so amazed poor Jack he was ready to
run distracted. Seeing from the window afar off the two
giants coming, Now," quoth Jack to himself, "my death
or deliverance is at hand."
There were strong cords in the room by him, of which
he takes two, at the end of which he makes a noose, and,
while the giant was unlocking the gate, he threw the ropes
over each of the heads, and, drawing the other end across
the beam, he pulled with all his strength until he had
throttled them; and then, fastening the rope to the beam,
turning towards the window he beheld the two giants to be
black in their faces. Sliding down by the rope, he came
close to their heads, where the helpless giants could not
defend themselves, and, drawing out his sword, slew them
both, and delivered himself from their intended cruelty;,
then, taking out a bunch of keys, he unlocked the rooms,
where he found three fair ladies, tied by the hair of their
heads, almost starved to death, who told Jack that their
husbands were slain by the giant, and that they were kept
many days without food, in order to force them to feed upon
the flesh of their husbands.
Sweet ladies," quoth Jack, I have destroyed this
monster, and his brutish brother, by which I have obtained
your liberties." This said, he presented them with the keys
of the castle, and so proceeded on his journey to Wales.
Jack, having but very little money, thought it prudent
to make the best of his way by travelling as fast as he
could, but, losing his road, was benighted, and could not
get a place of entertainment until he came to a valley
placed between two hills, where stood a large house in a
lonesome place. He took courage to knock at the gate, and
to his great surprise there came forth a monstrous giant,.
having two heads; yet he did not seem so fiery as the
others had been, for he was a Welsh giant, and what he did
was by secret malice, for Jack telling his condition he bid
58 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
him welcome, showing him a room with a bed in it, whereon
he might take his night's repose; therefore Jack undressed
himself, and, as the giant was walking to another apart-
ment, Jack heard him mutter forth these words to himself-
"Though here you lodge with me this night,
You shall not see the morning light;
My club shall dash your brains out quite."
"Sayest thou so," quoth Jack; this is like your Welsh
tricks; yet I hope to be cunning enough for you." Then
getting out of bed he put a billet in his stead, and hid
himself in a corner of the room; and in the dead time of
the night the Welsh giant came with his great knotty club,
and struck several heavy blows upon the head where Jack
had laid the billet, and then returned to his own chamber,
supposing he had broken all the bones in his body.
In the morning Jack gave him hearty thanks for his
lodging. The giant said to him, "How have you rested?
Did you not feel something in the night?" "Nothing,"
quoth Jack, but a rat which gave me three or four slaps
with her tail." Soon after the giant arose and went to
breakfast with a bowl of hasty pudding, containing nearly
four gallons, giving Jack the like quantity, who, being
loath to let the giant know he could not eat with him, got
a large leather bag, putting it very artfully under his loose
coat, into which he secretly conveyed his pudding, telling
the giant he could show him a trick; then, taking a large
knife, he ripped open the bag, which the giant supposed to
be his belly, when out came the hasty pudding, at which
the Welsh giant cried, Cotsplut, hur can do dat trick
hurself." Then, taking his sharp knife, he ripped up his
own belly from the bottom to the top; and out dropped his
bowels, so that he fell down for dead. Thus Jack outwitted
the giant, and proceeded on his journey.
About this time King Arthur's son only desired of his
father to furnish him with a certain sum of money, that he
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER. 59
might go and seek his fortune in Wales, where a beautiful
lady lived, whom he heard was possessed with seven evil
spirits; but the king his father advised him utterly against
it, yet he would not be persuaded of it; so he granted what
he requested, which was one horse loaded with money, and
another for himself to ride on; thus he went forth without
Now, after several days' travel, he came to a market
town in Wales, where he beheld a large concourse of people
gathered together. The king's son demanded the reason of
it, and was told that they had arrested a corpse for many
large sums of money which the deceased owed when he
died. The king's son replied, "It is a pity that creditors
should be so cruel; go bury the dead, and let his creditors
come to my lodging, and their debts shall be discharged."
Accordingly they came in great numbers, so that he left
Now, Jack the Giant-Killer being there, and, seeing the
generosity of the king's son, he was taken with him, and
desired to be his servant. It was agreed upon the next
morning, when, riding out at the town-end, the king's son,
turning to Jack, said, I cannot tell how I will subsist in
my intended journey." For that," quoth Jack, take you
no care: let me alone; I warrant you we will not want."
Now, Jack, having a spell in his pocket, which served at
noon for a refreshment, when done, they had not one penny
left betwixt them. The afternoon they spent in travel and
discourse, till the sun began to grow low, at which time the
king's son said, Jack, since we have no money, where can
we think to lodge this night ? Jack replied, "We'll do
well enough, for I have an uncle living within two miles of
this. He is a monstrous giant with three heads; he will
fight 500 men in armour, and make them to fly before him."
"Alas!" saith the king's son, "what shall we do there?
He will certainly chop us both up at one mouthful!" "It
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is no matter for that," quoth Jack; "I will go before and
prepare the way for you. Tarry here."
He waits, and Jack rides full speed; when he came to the
castle, he knocked with such a force that he made all the
neighboring hills to resound. The giant, with a voice like
thunder, roared out, "Who's there?" He answered, "None
but your own cousin Jack. Dear uncle, heavy news, God wot.'"
" Prithee, what heavy news can come to me ? I am a giant
with three heads, and besides thou knowest I can fight five
hundred men." O but," quoth Jack, "here's the king's
son coming with 1,000 men to kill you." Oh! Jack, this
is heavy news indeed. I have a large vault under ground,
where I will hide myself, and thou shalt lock, bolt, and bar
me in, and keep the keys till the king's son is gone."
Jack having secured the giant, he returned and fetched
his master. They were both heartily merry with the wine
and other dainties which were in the house; so that night
they rested in very pleasant lodgings, whilst the poor uncle
the giant lay trembling in the vault under ground.
Early in the morning Jack furnished his master with a
supply of gold and silver, and set him three miles forward
on his journey, concluding he was then pretty well out of
the smell of the giant, and then returned to let his uncle
out of the hole, who asked Jack what he would give him
in reward, since his castle was not demolished. "Why," quoth
Jack, I desire nothing but the old coat and cap, together
with the old rusty sword and slippers which are at your
bed-head." "Jack, thou shalt have them, and pray keep
them for my sake, for they are things of excellent use. The
coat will keep you invisible; the cap will furnish you with
knowledge; the sword cuts asunder whatever you strike,
and the shoes are of extraordinary swiftness: these may be
serviceable to you, and therefore pray take them with all
my heart." Jack takes them, thanking his uncle, and
follows his master.
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER. 61
Jack, having overtaken his master, soon after arrived at
the lady's house, who, finding the king's son to be a suitor,
prepared a banquet for him, and, being ended, she wiped his
mouth with her napkin, saying, "You must show this
to-morrow, or else lose your head," and she put it safely
into her bosom.
The king's son went to bed sorrowful, but Jack's cap of
knowledge instructed him how to obtain it. In the middle
of the night she called upon her familiar spirit to carry her to
Lucifer. Jack put on his coat of darkness, with his shoes of
swiftness, and was there as soon as her; by reason of his coat
they could not see him. When she entered the place she
gave the handkerchief to old Lucifer, who laid it carefully
upon a shelf, from whence Jack brought it to his master,
who showed it to the lady the next day.
The next night she saluted the king's son, telling him he
must show her to-morrow morning the lips that she kissed
last this night, or lose his head. Ah," replied he, if you
kiss none but mine I will." It is neither here nor there,"
said she; "if you do not, death's your portion." At mid-
night she went as before, and was angry with Lucifer for
letting the handkerchief go. But now," said she, I will
be too hard for the king's son, for I will kiss thee, and he's
to show thylips." Jack, standing near him with his sword
of sharpness, cut off the devil's head, and brought it under his
invisible coat to his master, who was in bed, and laid it at
the end of his bolster. In the morning, when the lady came
up, he pulled it out by the horns, and showed her the devil's
lips, which she kissed last.
Thus, having answered her twice, the enchantment broke,
and the evil spirits left her, at which time she appeared a
beautiful and virtuous creature. They were married next
morning in great pomp and solemnity, and returned with a
numerous company to the court of King Arthur, where they
were received with the greatest joy and loud acclamations
62 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
Jack, for the many and great exploits he had done for the
good of his country, was made one of the Knights of the
Jack, having resolved not to be idle, humbly requested of
the king to fit him with a horse and money to travel, for,"
said he, "there are many giants alive in the remotest parts
of the kingdom, to the unspeakable damage of your Majesty's
liege subjects; wherefore, may it please your Majesty to
give me encouragement to rid the realm of these cruel and
devouring monsters of nature, root and branch.
Now, when the king had heard these noble propositions,
and had duly considered the mischievous practices of these
blood-thirsty giants, he immediately granted what Jack re-
quested; and, being furnished with all necessaries for his
progress, he took his leave of King Arthur, taking with him
the cap of knowledge, sword of sharpness, shoes of swiftness,
and likewise the invisible coat, the better to perfect and
complete the dangerous enterprises that lay before him.
Jack travelled over vast hills and mountains, when, at
the end of three days, he came to a large and spacious
wood, where, on a sudden, he heard dreadful shrieks and
cries, whereupon, casting his eyes around, he beheld a giant
rushing along with a worthy knight and his fair lady,'whom
he held by the hair of their heads in his hands, wherefore
he alighted from off his horse, and then, putting on his
invisible coat, under which he carried his sword of sharp-
ness, he came up to the giant, and, though he made several
passes at him, yet he could not reach the trunk of his body,
by reason of his height, though it wounded his thighs in
several places; but at length, giving him a swinging stroke,
he cut off both his legs just below the knee, so that the
trunk of his body made the ground shake with the force of
his fall, at which the knight and the lady escaped; then
had Jack time to talk with him, and, setting his foot upon
his neck, said, "You savage and barbarous wretch, I am
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER. 63
come to execute upon you the just reward of your villainy."
And with that, running him through and through, the
monster sent forth a hideous groan, and yielded up his life,
while the noble knight and virtuous lady were joyful spec-
tators of his sudden downfall and their own deliverance.
This being done, the courteous knight and his fair lady
returned him hearty thanks for their deliverance, but also
invited him home, there to refresh himself after the dreadful
encounter, as likewise to receive ample reward, by way of
gratitude for his good service. "No," quoth Jack, I
cannot be at ease till I find out the den which was this
monster's habitation." The knight hearing this waxed
sorrowful, and replied, Noble stranger, it is too much to
run a second risk, for this monster lived in a den under yon
mountain, with a brother of his, more fierce than himself;
therefore, if you go thither and perish in the attempt, it
would be the heartbreaking of both me and my lady. Let
me persuade you to go with us." "Nay," quoth Jack, "if
there were twenty I would shed the last drop of my blood
before one of them should escape my fury; but when I have
finished this task I will come and pay my respects to
you." So, taking directions to their habitation, he mounted
his horse, and went in pursuit of the deceased giant's
Jack had not rode past a mile before he came in sight of
the cave's mouth, at the entrance of which he beheld the
other giant sitting upon a huge block of timber, with a
knotty iron club by his side, waiting for his brother's return
with his cruel prey. His goggle eyes appeared like terrible
flames of fire, his countenance grim and ugly, and his cheeks
appeared like a couple of large flitches of bacon; the bristles
of his head seemed to resemble rods of iron wire; his locks
hung down on his broad shoulders like curled snakes.
Jack alighted from his horse, and put him into a thicket;
then, with his coat of darkness, he came near to behold his
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figure, and said, Oh! are you here ? It will not be long
before I take you by the beard." The giant could not see
him by reason of his invisible coat: so Jack, fetching a
blow at his head with his sword of sharpness, and missing
somewhat of his aim, cut off the giant's nose, whose nostrils
were wider than a pair of jack-boots. The pain was terrible;
he put up his hand to feel for his nose, and when he could
not find it he raved and roared louder than thunder; and,
though he turned up his large eyes, he could not see from
whence the blow came; nevertheless, he took up his iron-
headed club, and began to thrash about him like one stark
mad. "Nay," quoth Jack, "if you be for that sport, then
I will despatch you quickly, for fear of an accidental blow."
Then Jack makes no more to do, but runs his sword up to
the hilt in the giant's body, where he left it sticking
for a while, and stood himself laughing to see the giant
caper and dance with the sword in him, crying out he
should die with the pain in his body. Thus did the
giant continue raving for an hour or more, and at length
fell down dead.
This being done, Jack cut off both the giants' heads, and
sent them to King Arthur by a waggoner, whom he hired
for the purpose.
Jack, having despatched these two monsters, resolved to
enter the cave in search of the giant's treasure. He passed
through many turnings and windings, which led him at
length to a room paved with freestone, at the upper end of
which was a boiling cauldron; on the right hand stood a
large table, where the giants used to dine; then he came to
an iron gate, where was a window secured with bars of
iron, through which he looked, and beheld a vast many
captives, who, seeing Jack, said, "Young man, art thou
come to be one among us in this miserable den ?" "Ay,"
quoth Jack, I hope I shall not tarry long here; but what
is the meaning of your captivity ?" "Why," said one of
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER. i5
them, we have been taken by the giants, and here we are
kept till they have a feast, then the fattest among us is
slaughtered for their devouring jaws. It is not long since
they took three of us for the purpose." "Say you so,"
quoth Jack; well, I have given them both such a dinner
that it will be long enough ere they need any more. You may
believe me, for I have slain them both; and as for their
monstrous heads, I sent them to the court of King Arthur
as trophies of my victory." Then, leading them to the afore-
said room, he placed them round the table, and set before
them two quarters of beef, also bread and wine, so that
they feasted there very plentifully. Supper being ended,
they searched the giant's coffers, where, finding a vast store
of gold, Jack divided it equally among them. They all re-
turned him hearty thanks for their treasure and miraculous
deliverance. That night they went to their rest, and in
the morning they arose and departed to their respective
places of abode, and Jack to the knight's house.
Jack mounted his horse, and by his direction he came to
the knight's house, where he was received with all demon-
strations of joy by the knight and his lady, who, in respect
to Jack, prepared a feast, which lasted for many days,
inviting all the gentry in the adjacent parts. He presented
him with a ring of gold, on which was engraven by curious
art the picture of the giant dragging a distressed knight
and his fair lady by the hair of the head.
Now, there were five aged gentlemen who were fathers
to some of those miserable captives whom Jack had set at
liberty, who immediately paid him their respects. The
smiling bowl was then pledged to the victorious conqueror,
but during their mirth a dark cloud appeared, which daunted
A messenger brought the dismal tidings of the approach
of one Thunderful, a huge giant with two heads, who,
having heard of the death of his kinsmen, the above-named
66 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
giants, was come in search of Jack, to be revenged on him
for their terrible downfall, and was within a mile of the
knight's seat, the people flying before him from their habita-
tions. When they had related this, Jack said, "Let him
come. I am prepared with a tool to pick his teeth, and you,
gentlemen and ladies, walk forth into the garden, and you
shall be the joyful spectators of this monstrous giant's
death." To which they consented, wishing him good fortune
in that great enterprise.
The situation of the knight's house was in a small island,
encompassed with a vast moat, thirty feet deep and twenty
feet wide, over which lay a drawbridge. Wherefore Jack
employed two men to cut it on both sides, and then, dressing
himself in' his coat of darkness, putting on his shoes of
swiftness, he marched against the giant, with his sword of
sharpness ready drawn. When he came close up, the giant
could not see Jack, by reason of his invisible coat; never-
theless, he was sensible of approaching danger, which made
him cry out-
Fe, Fi, Fo, Fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman; be he
living or be he dead, I'll grind his bones to mix my bread."
"Sayest thou so," quoth Jack; "then thou art a mon-
strous miller. But how ? If I serve thee as I did the two
giants of late, I should spoil your practice for the future."
At which time the giant spoke with a voice as loud as
thunder-" Art thou that villain which destroyed my kins-
men? Then I will tear thee with my teeth, and suck thy
blood. I will grind thy bones to powder."
Catch me first," quoth Jack; and he threw off his coat of
darkness that the giant might see him, and then ran from him
as through fear, the giant, with glaring eyes, following after
like a walking castle, making the earth to shake at every
step. Jack led him a dance three or four times round the
moat, that the ladies and gentlemen might take a full view
of this huge monster who followed Jack, but could not over-
THE HISTORY OF JACK THE GIANT-KILLER. 67
take him by reason of his shoes of swiftness. At length
Jack took over the bridge, the giant, with full speed, pur-
suing after him, with his iron club; but, coming to the
middle of the draw-bridge, the weight of his body, and the
most dreadful steps which he took, it broke down, and he
tumbled into the water, where he rolled and wallowed like
a whale. Jack, standing at the side of the moat, laughed
at the giant, and said, "You would grind my bones to
powder? You have water; pray, where is your mill?"
The giant foamed to hear him scoffing at that rate, though
he plunged from place to place in the moat. Jack at length
got a cart rope, and cast it over the giant's two heads with
a slip knot, and, by the help of horses, he dragged him out
again, nearly strangled. Before he would let him loose, he
cut off both his heads with his sword of sharpness, in the
view of all the assembly of knights and ladies, who gave a
shout when they saw the giant despatched. Then, before
he would either eat or drink, he sent these heads also to the
court of King Arthur.
After some mirth and pastime, Jack, taking leave of the
noble knights and ladies, set off in search of new adven-
tures. Through many woods and groves he passed, till,
coming to the foot of a high mountain late at night, he
knocked at the door of a lonesome house, at which a man,
with a head as white as snow, arose and let him in.
Father," said Jack, have you any entertainment for a
benighted traveller that has lost his way ?"
Yes," said the old man; if thou wilt accept of such as my
poor cottage afford, thou shalt be welcome." Jack returned
him thanks. They sat together, and the old man began to
discourse as follows-" Son, I am sensible thou art the
great conqueror of giants, and it is in thy power to free this
place; for there is an enchanted castle kept by a monstrous
giant, named Galligantus, who, by the help of a conjurer,
betrays knights and ladies into this strong castle, where, by
68 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
magic art, they are transformed into sundry shapes; but,
above all, I lament the misfortune of a duke's daughter,
whom they fetched from her father's garden, carrying her
through the air in a charion drawn by fiery dragons. She
was immediately transformed into the shape of a white
hind. Many knights have endeavoured to break the
enchantment for her deliverance, yet none could accomplish
it, by reason of two griffins, who are at the entrance of the
castle gate, who destroy them as they see them; but you,
being' furnished with an invisible coat, may pass them
undiscovered, where, on the gates of the castle, you will
find engraven in characters the means the enchantment
may be broken."
Jack gave him his hand, with a promise that in the
morning he would break the enchantment and free the lady.
Having refreshed themselves with a morsel of meat, they
laid down to rest. In the morning Jack arose, and put
on his invisible coat, his cap of knowledge, and shoes of
swiftness, and so prepared himself for the dangerous
Now, when he had ascended the mountain he discovered
the two fiery griffins. He passed between them, for they
could not see him by reason of his invisible coat. When he
had got beyond them, he found upon the gate a golden
trumpet, hung in a chain of fine silver, under which were
"Whoever shall this trumpet blow
Shall soon the giant overthrow,
/ And break the black enchantment straight,
So all shall be in happy state."
Jack had no sooner read this inscription, but he blew the
trumpet, at which the foundation of the castle trembled,
and the giant, with the conjurer, were tearing their
hair, knowing their wicked reign was at an end. At
which time the giant was stooping to take up his club;
SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES. 69
Jack, at one blow with his sword of sharpness, cut off his
head. The conjurer mounted into the air, and was carried
away by a whirlwind. Thus was the enchantment broken,
and every knight and lady who had been transformed into
birds and beasts returned to their proper shapes, and the
castle, though it seemed to be of a vast strength and
bigness, vanished away like a cloud, whereon universal joy
appeared among the released knights and ladies. This
being done, the head of Galligantus was conveyed to the
court of King Arthur the next day. Having refreshed the
knights and ladies at the old man's habitation, Jack set
forward to the court of King Arthur with those knights and
ladies whom he delivered.
Coming to his Majesty, his fame rung through the
court, and, as a reward of his services, the duke bestowed
his daughter in marriage to Jack. The whole kingdom
was filled with joy at the wedding; after which the
king bestowed upon him a noble house, with a large estate,
where he and his lady passed their days in great joy and
SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES
WIFE MARGERY'S CRUELTY
The very next Morning after their Marriage.
An Account of Simon's Wedding, and his Wife's
Behaviour the Day after their Marriage.
SIMON, the subject of our ensuing discourse, was a man
very unfortunate many years after marriage, not only by
crosses, but by the cruelty of Margery his severe wife-his
70 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
wedding day being the best he saw in seven years after,
for then he had all his friends about him. Rough Ralph
the Fiddler and Will the Piper were appointed to make him
and his guests merry.
Singing, dancing, and good feasting attended the day,
which being ended, this loving couple went to bed, where
their friends all left them.
But the morning was ushered in with a mighty storm,
only because Simon put on his roast-meat clothes.
Thus she began the matter-" Why, how now, pray, and
what is to-day, that you must put on your holiday clothes,
with a pye-crust to you ? What do you intend to do, say
you, tell me quickly."
"Nothing," said Simon, but to walk abroad with you,
sweet wife, as it is common on the day after marriage."
"No, no," said Margery, this must not, nor shall not be.
It is very well known that I have brought you a very con-
siderable fortune-forty shillings in money, and a good
milch cow, four fat wethers, with half a dozen ewes and
lambs; likewise, geese, hens, and turkeys; also a sow and
pigs, with other moveables, worth more than any of your
crook-back generation is able to give you. And do you
think you shall lead as lewd a life now as you did before
you married; but if you do, then say my name is not
Margery. Now I've got you in the bands of matrimony I
will make you know what it is to be married; therefore, to
work you rascal, and take care that what I brought is not
consumed; for, if you do not, what will become of your wife
and children ?"
Now, Simon looked liked one that had neither sense nor
reason, but stood amazed, as if there had been a whole army
of Billingsgate shrews. However, recollecting what he had
heard about scolds, he muttered to himself, "Udswagers, I
think I have got a woeful one now."
What is that you say, sirrah ?" said she.
SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES. 71
"Nothing, dear wife, but what you say I allow to be true."
And so, taking his bag and bottle, he went forward to his
daily labour: but, coming towards the lower end of the
town, he chanced to meet old Jobson, a cobbler, a merry
blade, who loved a cup of good ale.
What! honest Simon," said Jobson, "I am glad to see
you, for since our last meeting I hear you are married, and
now I wish thee much happiness."
Now, old Jobson, being a merry fellow, invited Simon to
take a flaggon of the best liquor that the next ale-house
would afford, and there to drink to Margery's health.
Being merry in discourse, talking of the tricks and pranks
they had played when bachelors.
Jobson, taking up the flaggon in his hand, said, "Come,
here's to thee, honest Simon, and I ,wish thee better luck
than Randal, thy old father-in-law, had with his wife; for
she was such a scold that happy were they who lived out
of the clamour of her noise. But without doubt thy dear
wife may be of a milder spirit, and have more of her father's
meekness than her mother's fury in her; but come, Simon,
here's to thee and to thy dearly-beloved Margery."
Cries Simon, If she was present how merry we should
be; but, I fear, on the wrong side of the mouth."
"Well," said Jobson, I vow I long to see her; and I
verily believe she would be as glad to see me. I dare to
say she will prove a very good wife."
Truly, neighbour Jobson, I don't know; but if I have
no better ending than beginning, I wish I had ended my
life at the plough tail."
No sooner were these words out of his mouth but in
comes Margery, with her gossips, whom Simon wished to
see, forsooth. He wished her much joy, but Margery, in a
woeful fury, snatched up Jobson's oaken staff from off the
table, and gave poor Simon such a clank upon the noddle
which made the blood spin out, saying, "Is this your work,
.7 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
sirrah ? Jobson, seeing so sudden an alteration, was
affrighted, not knowing how to escape.
She then truned about to the left, saying, Thou rogue
and rascal, it is you that ruins all the good women's husbands
in the town; therefore you shall not go unrewarded," giving
him such strokes over his back and shoulders as caused
poor Jobson to lay in bed almost a fortnight.
Simple Simon all this while not having any power to run
away, but stood like one half frighted out of his wits, and
trembling before his bride, with his hat in one hand and
the flaggon in the other, begging her that she would be
patient, and he would never offend her any more.
But she gave him a frown, and bid him begone about his
business, which he immediately did. So then Margery and
her friendly gossips had the whole apartment to themselves,
where they sat till they were all as drunk as fish-women.
She drags him up into the Chimney, and hangs him
AT night, when he returned to his own home, Margery, by
the help of a nap she had taken, was a little restored to her
senses again; but yet, not forgetting the fault he had com-
mitted, she invented a new kind of punishment; for, having
a wide chimney, wherein they used to dry bacon, she, taking
him at a disadvantage, tied him hand and foot, bound him
in a basket, and, by the help of a rope, drew him up to the
beam in the chimney, and left him there to take his lodging
the second night after his wedding, with a small, smoky fire
under him, so that in the morning he almost reezed like to
a red-herring. But in length of time he prevailed with his
wife to show him so much pity as to let him down again.
"In love release me from this horrid smoke,
And I will never more my wife provoke;
She then did yield to let him down from thence,
And said, Be careful of the next offence."
SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES. 73
Simon loses a Sack of Corn that he was carrying
to the Mill to have ground.
NOT long after she sent him to the mill with a sack of
corn, and bade him remember what she said to him, or else
he should not go unpunished.
Well," said Simon, I hope I shall never offend thee
For this promise she gave him a mess of milk, and when
he had eaten all up he took the sack of corn upon his back,
and went towards the mill, which stood about two miles
from the house.
When Simon was got about half way he began to be
weary, which was the forerunner of a great misfortune, for
a man riding by, leading an empty horse towards the mill,
perceived Simon weary of his load, told him he might lay
it upon his spare horse, to which Simon willingly con-
The man riding on, Simon could not pace with him, so
desired him to leave it for him at the mill. He promised
he would, but never intended to perform his promise.
Simon, thus loosing his sack of corn, knew not how to go
home, or show his face before his wife, until he got two or
three of his neighbours to go with him to beg for his pardon,
and to help to make up the difference between them, which
they did after a long parley. So that for this crime he
Simon goes to the Market with his Basket of Eggs, breaks
them all by the Way, and is set in the Stocks.
BUT, although he was not punished according to the severe
correction he had formerly received, yet he did not escape
the continual railings in his ears for several days after, ever
and anon she crying out, "You sot, will you never be
74 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
Yes, sweet Margery, dear Margery, I hope I shall some
Well," says she, "I'll now try you once more. Here,
take this basket of eggs, and go to the market and sell them,
but be sure don't break them nor spend the money, for if
you do, sorrow will be your sops, and you may expect to
feel the weight of my hands more than ever you have done
At which harsh words he trembled much, and looked as
white as his dear Margery's shift, for fear that he should
miscarry with his basket of eggs, for he well knew that his
wife would be sure to be as good as her promise.
Then Simon, taking his basket of eggs, trudged away to
the market, but was no sooner come there than, seeing a vast
crowd of people, he was resolved to see what was the matter.
When he came to the place he found that two butter-
women had fallen out, and to that degree that they had
taken one another by the que of their hair, and their fillets
all flying about their ears; which Simon seeing he was
moved with compassion, and ran to part them, but in vain;
poor Simon was still unfortunate, and came off with a great
loss, for one of the women pushed him down and broke
Poor Simon was now almost distracted to see the ground,
but whether it was the fear of the anger of his wife, or
whether it was courage, thus it was, Simon ran in amongst
them, and resolved to be revenged on them for the loss of
Whilst they were in the fray the constable came, and,
supposing them drunk, gave orders that they should all be
set in the stocks together-Simon in the middle, and the
women on each side-which was accordingly done; but they
rang such a peal in Simon's ears that he was deaf for a
Being released, he ventured home again, dreading the
SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES. 75
impending storm; but this was his comfort in the midst of
all his hard fortune, that, though he might feel the force of
her blows, still he would be deaf to her noise, being stunned
by the women in the stocks.
Simon's Wife Cudgels him severely
for losing his Money.
AT length Simon coming home he met with his beloved
wife Margery, who, seeing his dejected countenance, she
began to mistrust something, and so, taking hold of his arm,
she hauled him in for examination.
When Simon saw this he could not forbear weeping, and
began to tell her a dismal story concerning the stocks; but
she wanted the money for the eggs; but Simon, being deaf,
could not hear her, which made her fall on him with such
fury that he was obliged to run up stairs and jump out of
the chamber window, which, when she saw, she followed
him down the town, with a hundred boys and girls after
them, Simon still crying out to the people, You may see
what it is to be married."
And her tone was, You rascal; the money for my eggs,"
often giving him a crack on the crown.
At length it was his good hap to get away from her.
Night drawing on, and Simon not having one penny to help
himself, was forced to make the best of a bad bargain,
resolved for to lodge that night in a hog-stye amongst the
And so the next morning, in the presence of some of his
dearest friends, he begged pardon on his knees of his sweet,
kind, and loving wife, Margery.
Simon loses his Wife's Pail, and at the same time burns
out the Bottom of her Kettle.
MARGERY, being reconciled again on his humble petition,
she charged him to be careful for the future that he did not
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offend her as he had done before, which he promised to
observe. "Then, Simon," said she, "I am this day to go to
a gossiping, and shall leave you at home to make a fire.
and hang on the kettle."
"Yes, sweet wife."
Now, Margery was no sooner gone but he made a fire and
hung on the kettle. Then, taking the pail, he goes to the
well to fetch some water, when there came an ox running
down, and a butcher and his boy close after him, who called
out to Simon to stop the ox, which he endeavoured to do,
but the ox, giving them the slip, Simon ran in pursuit of
him for the space of three or four miles, and, having secured
him, the butcher gave him many thanks for his kindness.
So Simon returned back to the well, but his pail was lost,
and he made sad lamentation for it, inquiring about it, but
could not hear nothing of it; and as the old proverb says,
" One sorrow never comes alone," for on going in doors the
fire was flaming, and the bottom of the kettle was quite
At the sight of this he fell to wringing his hands and
crying out with a lamentable tone, "None was so unfortu-
nate as poor Simon. What shall I say to my wife when
she comes ? First, I have lost my pail; and, second, I have
let the bottom of the kettle be burnt out. Here will be a
sad reckoning for these misfortunes."
Just in the middle of these lamentations in comes Mar-
gery, who, having heard him, came armed and fitted for the
How now, sirrah," said she, has this been the care you
promised of my business ?" and with that let fly an earthen
pot at his head, which caused the blood to run about his
This done, she took him by the collar, and cuft him about
the kitchen at a most terrible rate, Simon crying for mercy,
but cruel Margery still increased his misery, till the neigh-
SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES. 77
bours came, persuading Margery to be satisfied, "for," said
they, it was but a mischance."
"A rascal," said she, "for' I can set him about nothing,
but thus he serves me."
They still interceded for Simon, until at length she
Simon's Wife sends him to buy Soap, but, going over a
Bridge, he lets his Money fall into the River;
and of a Ragman's running away with his Clothes.
MARGERY, calling Simon to her, said, Will you never be
careful in anything I set you about ?"
"Yes, dear wife, I hope I shall."
"Why, then," said she, take this money. I have tied
it in a clout, that you may not lose it. Therefore, go you
to the market, and make all the haste you can, and get me
I will, sweet wife," quoth he, and with that he went as
fast as he could.
Now, on his way he was to pass over a bridge, and,
coming to the middle of it, a flight of crows flew over his
head, which so frightened him that he let fall his money.
This was the beginning of a new sorrow. He stood
awhile, and knew not what course to take. At length, he
resolved to pull off his clothes and jump into the water
and search for it. Now, as he was searching for his money,
an old ragman came by, and put his clothes into a bag.
Simon, seeing this, pursued him, but in vain, and was
forced to return home naked, which his wife seeing fell in
a most horrible sweat, and, taking the dog-whip, she so
jerked poor Simon about, making him to dance the canaries
for two hours, till he cried out, Good wife, forbear !" but
she cried out, You rascal! where is my money, and your
clothes?" Thus she continued until she was tired, and he
heartily begged her pardon.
78 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
BAMFYLDE MOORE CAREW,
WHO WAS FOR MORE THAN FORTY YEARS
KING OF THE BEGGARS.
Carew's Boyhood. And how he
became a Gipsy.
MR. BAMFYLDE MOORE CAREW was the son of a clergyman
near Tiverton, in Devonshire, and born in 1693. He was
tall and majestic, his limbs strong and well-proportioned,
his features regular, and his countenance open and ingenious,
bearing the resemblance of a good-natured mind. At twelve
years old he was put to Tiverton school, where he soon got
a considerable knowledge of the Latin and Greek tongues, so
as to be fitted for the University, that in due time he might
be fitted for the church, for which his father designed him;
but here a new exercise engaged his attention, namely, that
of hunting, in which he soon made a prodigious progress.
The Tiverton scholars had command of a fine cry of hounds,
which gave Carew a frequent opportunity of exercising his
beloved employment, and getting acquainted with John
Martin, Thomas Coleman, and John Escott, young gentlemen
of the best rank and fortune. One day a farmer came to the
school and complained of a deer, with a collar round its
neck, that he had seen running through his grounds, and
had done him much damage, desiring them to hunt it down
and kill it. They, wishing for no better sport, on the next
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CARE. 79
day put the old farmer's request into execution, in doing of
which they did much damage to the neighboring grounds,
whose owners, together with Colonel Nutcombe, to whom
the deer belonged, came and complained to the schoolmaster
of the injuries they had suffered by his scholars; they were
very severely reprimanded and hard threatened for the same.
The resentment of the present reproof and the fear of future
chastisement made them abscond from the school; and going
into a brick alehouse, about half a mile from Tiverton, there
they accidentally fell in company with some gipsies, who
were then feasting and carousing. This company consisted
of seventeen, who were met on purpose for festivity and
jollity; which, by plenty of meat, fowl, flowing cups of beer,
cider, etc., they seemed to enjoy to their hearts' content. In
short, the freedom, mirth, and pleasure that appeared among
them, invited our youngsters to enlist into their company;
which, on communicating to the gipsies, they would not be-
lieve them, as thinking they jested; but on tarrying with
them all night and continuing in the same mind next morn-
ing, they at length thought them serious and encouraged
them; and, after going through the requisite ceremonials
and administering to them the proper oath, they admitted
them into their number.
The reader will, no doubt, wonder to hear of the cere-
monials and oaths among gipsies and beggars, but that will
cease on being informed, that these people are subject to a
form of government and laws peculiar to themselves, and
pay due obedience to one who is styled their king; to which
honour Carew in a short time arrived, after having by many
acts proved himself worthy of it. The substance of them is
this-Strong love and mutual regard for each member in
particular, and the whole community in general; which,
being taught them in their infancy, grows up with them,
prevents oppression, frauds, and over-reaching one another,
which is common among other people, and tends to the very
80 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
worst of evils. This happiness and temper of mind so
wrought on Carew as to occasion the strongest attachment
to them for forty years, refusing very large offers that had
been made to him to quit their society.
Being thus initiated into the ancient society of gipsies,
who take their name from Egypt-a place well known to
abound in learning, and the inhabitants of which country
travel about from place to place to communicate knowledge
to mankind-Carew did not long continue in it before he
was consulted in important matters; particularly Madam
Musgrove, of Monkton, near Taunton, hearing of his fame,
sent for him to consult him in an affair of difficulty. When
he was come, she informed him that she suspected a large
quantity of money was buried somewhere about her house,
and if he would acquaint her with the particular place, she
would handsomly reward him. Carew consulted the secrets
of his art on this occasion, and, after a long study, he in-
formed the lady that under a laurel tree in the garden lay
the treasure she sought for; but that she must not seek it
till such a day and hour. The lady rewarded him with
twenty guineas; but, whether Carew mistook his calcula-
tions or the lady mistook her lucky hour, we cannot tell,
but truth obliges us to say, the lady having dug below the
root of the laurel tree she could not find the treasure.
When he was further initiated, he was consulted in im-
portant matters and met with better success; generally
giving satisfaction by his wise and sagacious answers. In
the meantime his parents sorrowed after him, as one that
was no more, having advertised him in all the public papers
and sent messengers after him to almost every part of the
kingdom; till about a year and a half afterwards, when
Carew, hearing of their grief, and being struck with tender-
ness threat, repaired to his father's house. He was so
disguised they did not know him, but when they did their
joy was beyond expressing, tenderly embracing him, bedew-
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CARE. 81
ing his cheeks with tears and kisses, and all his friends and
neighbours showed every demonstration of joy at his return.
His parents did everything to render home agreeable to him;
but the uncommon pleasure he had enjoyed in the community
he had left, their simplicity, freedom, sincerity, mirth, and
frequent change of habitation, and the secret presages of the
honour he has since arrived at, sickened and palled all other
diversions, and at last prevailed over his filial duty, for one
day, without taking leave of his friends or parents, he went
back to them again, where he was heartily welcomed, both
to his own and their satisfaction, they being glad to regain
one who was likely to become so useful a member of their
Carew's First Adventure in his New Profession.
Carew being again initiated among them, at the first
general assembly of the gipsies, took the oaths of allegiance
to their sovereign, by whom he was soon sent out on a cruise
against their enemies. Carew now set his wits to work how
to succeed: so equipping himself with an old pair of trousers,
a piece of a jacket, just enough to cover his nakedness,
stockings full of holes, and an old cap, he forgot both friends
and family and became nothing more or less than an un-
fortunate shipwrecked seaman. In this, his first excursion,
he gained much credit, artfully imitating passes and certifi-
cates that were necessary for him to travel unmolested.
After a month's travel he happened to meet with his old
school-fellow Coleman, who had once left the gipsies'
society, but, for the same reason as himself, returned to them
again. Great was their joy at meeting, aud they agreed to
travel some time together; so entering Exeter, they, in one
day, raised a contribution of several pounds.
Having obtained all he could from this stratagem, he then
became a plain, honest farmer, whose grounds had been over-
flowed, and cattle drowned; his dejected countenance and
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mournful tale, together with a wife and seven helpless in-
fants being partakers of his misfortunes, gained him both
pity and profit.
Having obtained a considerable booty by these two strata-
gems, he returned to his companions, where he was received
with great applause; and, as a mark of their respect, seated
him next the king. He soon became a great man in the
profession and confined not himself from doing good to
others, when it did not infringe upon the community of
which he was a member.
His next stratagem was to become a madman; so stripping
himself quite naked, he threw a blanket over him and then
he was, Poor mad Tom, whom the foul fiend had led through
fire and through flame through fire and whirlpool, over
bog and quagmire; that hath laid knives under his pillow,
and halters in his pew; set ratsbane for his porridge, and
made him proud at heart to ride on a bay trotting-horse
over four-inch bridges; to curse his own shadow for a traitor;
who eats the swimming-frog, the toad, the tadpole, the wall-
newt, and the water-newt; that in the fury of his heart,
when the foul fiend rages, swallows the old rat and ditch
dog; drinks the green mantle of the standing pool:
And mice and rats, and such like gear,
Have been Tom's food for seven long year.
O do de, do de, do de! bless thee! from whirlwind, star-
blasting, and taking! Do poor Tom some charity, whom
the foul fiend vexes. There I could have him now-and
there !-and there !-and here again !-and there !-Through
the sharp hawthorn blows the cold wind-Tom's a cold!-
who gives anything to poor Tom?"
In this character, with such like expressions, he entered
the houses of both small and great, claiming kindred to them,
and committing all kinds of frantic actions, such as beating
himself, offering to eat coals of fire, running against the wall,
and tearing to pieces whatever garments were given to him
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CARE. 83
to cover his nakedness; by which means he raised consider-
He never was more happy than when he was engaged in
some adventure; therefore he was always very diligent to
inquire when any accident happened, especially fire, to which
he would immediately repair, and, getting information of the
causes, names, trades, and circumstances of the unhappy
sufferers, he would assume one of them, and burning some
part of his clothes, by way of demonstration, run to some
place distant, pass for one of them, gain credit and get much
profit. Under this character he had once the boldness to
address a justice, who was the terror and professed enemy to
all the gipsies, yet he so well managed the affair, that in a
long examination he made him believe he was an honest
miller, whose house, mill and substance had been consumed
by fire, occasioned by the negligence of the apprentice; and
accordingly, got a bountiful sum for his relief, the justice
not in the least suspecting a defraud.
He had such wonderful facility in every character he
assumed, that he even deceived those who thought them-
selves so well acquainted with him, that it was impossible
for him to impose on them.
Coming one day to Squire Portman's house at Blandford,
in the character of a rat-catcher, with a hair cap on his head,
a buff girdle about his waste, a little box by his side, and a
tame rat in his hand, he goes boldly up to the house, where
he had been well known before, and meeting the squire,
Parson Bryant, and one Mr. Pleydell, of Milbourn, and some
other gentlemen, he asked them if they had any rats to kill.
"Do you understand the business well?" says the squire.
"Yes, an please your honour," replied Carew, "I have been
a rat-catcher for many years, and I have been employed in
his majesty's yards and ships." "Well," says the squire,
"go in and get some vituals, and after dinner we will try
your abilities." He was accordingly called into the parlour,
84 AMUSING PROSE CHAP-BOOKS.
where were a large company of gentlemen and ladies.
" Well, honest rat-catcher," says the squire, can you lay any
scheme to kill the rats without hurting my dogs " Yes,
yes," cries Carew, "I can lay it where even the rats cannot
climb to reach it." "What countryman are you ?" A
Devonshire man, an please your honour." What is your
name ?" Here our hero began to perceive that he was dis-
covered, by the smiling and whisperings of several gentle-
men, and he very composedly answered, My name is
Bamfylde Moore Carew." This occasioned much mirth,
and Mr. Pleydell expressed extraordinary pleasure. He
had often wished to see him but never had. "Yes, you
have," replied Carew, and given me a suit of clothes. Do
you not remember meeting a poor wretch one day at your
stable door, with a stocking round his head, an old mantle
over his shoulders, without shirt, stockings, or scarce any
shoes, who told you he was a poor unfortunate man, cast
away upon the coast, with sixteen more of the crew who
were all drowned; you, believing the story, generously re-
lieved me with a guinea and a good suit of clothes." "I
well remember it," said Mr. Pleydell, but, on this discovery,
it is impossible to deceive me so again, come in whatever
shape you will." The company blamed him for thus boast-
ing, and secretly prevailed upon Carew to put his art in
practice to convince him of the fallacy thereof: to which he
agreed, and in a few days after appointing the company pre-
sent to be at Mr. Pleydell's house, he put the following scheme
He shaved himself closely, and clothed himself in an old
woman's apparel, with a high-crowned hat, and a large
dowdy under his chin; then, taking three children from
among his fraternity, he tied two on his back and one under
his arm. Thus accoutred, he comes to Mr. Pleydell's door,
and pinching one of the brats, set it a roaring; this gave the
alarm to the dogs, who came out with open mouths, so that
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CARE. 85
the whole company was soon alarmed. Out came the maid
saying, Carry away the children, good woman, they dis-
turb the ladies." "God bless their ladyships," said Carew,
" I am the poor unfortunate grandmother of these helpless
infants, whose mother and all they had were burnt at the
dreadful fire at Kirkton, and hope the good ladies, for
Heaven's sake, will bestow something on the poor, famish-
ing, starving infants." In goes the maid with this affecting
story to the ladies, while Carew keeps pinching the children
to make them cry, and the maid soon returned with half-a-
crown and some good broth, which he thankfully received,
and went into the courtyard to sit down and sup them, as
perceiving the gentlemen were not at home. He had not
long been there before they came, when one of them
accosted him thus-"Where do you come from, old
woman?" "From Kirkton, please your honours," said he,
" where the poor unhappy mother of these helpless infants
was burnt in the flames and all she had consumed."
"There has been more money collected for Kirkton than
ever Kirkton was worth," said the gentleman. However,
they gave the supposed old grandmother a shilling, com-
miserating the hard case of her and her poor helpless infants,
which he thankfully received, pretending to go away; but
the gentlemen were hardly got into the house, before their
ears were suddenly saluted with a "tantivy, tantivy," and a
"halloo to the dogs; on which they turned about, suppos-
ing it to be some other sportsmen; but seeing nobody, they
imagined it to be Carew, in the disguise of the old Kirkton
grandmother; so bidding the servants fetch him back, he
was brought into the parlour among them all, and con-
fessed himself to be the famous Mr. Bamfylde Moore Carew,
to the astonishmet and mirth of them all; who well
rewarded him for the diversion he had afforded them.
In like manner he raised a contribution twice in one day
of Mr. Jones, near Bristol. In the morning, with a sooty
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face, leather apron, a dejected countenance, and a woollen
cap, he was generously relieved as an unfortunate black-
smith, whose all had been consumed by fire. In the after-
noon he exchanged his legs for crutches, and, with a dejected
countenance, pale face, and every sign of pain, he became a
disabled thinner, incapable of maintaining a wife and seven
small children, by the damps and hardships he had suffered
in the mines; and so well acted his part, that the tinner got
as well relieved in the afternoon as the blacksmith in the
These successful stratagems gained him high applause
and honour in the community of gipsies. He soon became
the favourite of their king, who was very old and decrepid,
and had always some honourable mark of distinction assigned
him at their assemblies.
Being one morning near the seat of his good friend, Sir
William Courtney, he was resolved to pay him three visits
that day. He therefore puts on a parcel of rags, and goes to
him with a piteous, mean, dismal countenance, and deplor-
able tale, and got half-a-crown from him, telling him he had
met with great misfortunes at sea. At noon he puts on a
leather apron scorched with fire, and with a dejected coun-
tenance goes to him again, and was relieved as an unfortunate
shoemaker, who had been burnt out of his house and all he
had. In the afternoon he goes again in trimmed clothes, and
desiring admittance to Sir William, with a modest grace
and submissive eloquence, he repeats his misfortunes, as the
supercargo of a vessel which had been cast away and his
whole effects lost.
Sir William, seeing his genteel appearance and behaviour,
treated him with respect and gave him a guinea at his de-
parture. There were several gentlemen at dinner with Sir
William at that time, none of whom had any knowledge of
him except the Rev. Mr. Richards, who did not discover
him till he was gone; upon which a servant was despatched
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CAREW. 87
to desire him to come back, which he did; and when he
entered the room they were very merry with him and re-
quested him to give an account how he got his fine clothes,
and of his stratagems, with the success of them. He asked
Sir William if he had not given half-a-crown in the morning
to a beggar, and about noon relieved a poor unfortunate shoe-
maker. "I did," said Sir William. "Behold him before
you," said Carew, in this fine embroidered coat, as a broken
merchant." The company would not believe him ; so to con-
vince them, he re-assumed those characters again, to their
no small mirth and satisfaction.
Carew made King of the Beggars.
On the death of the king of the gipsies, named Clause
Patch, our hero was a candidate to succeed him, and ex-
hibited to the electors a long list of bold and ingenious
stratagems which he had executed, and made so graceful
and majestic an appearance in his person, that he had a
considerable majority of voices, though there were ten
candidates for the same honour; on which he was declared
duly elected and hailed by the whole assembly-King of
the Gipsies. The public register of their acts being im-
mediately committed to his care, and homage done him by
all the assembly, the whole concluded by rejoicings.
Though Mr. Carew was now privileged, by the dignity of
his office, from going on any cruise, and was provided with
everything necessary by the joint contribution of the com-
munity, yet he did not give himself up to indolence. Our
hero, though a king, was as active in his stratagems as ever,
and ready to encounter any difficulty which seemed to pro-
Mr. Carew being in the town of South Molton, in Devon-
shire, and having been ill-used by an officer there called
the bellman, resolved on the following stratagem by way of
revenge. It was at that time reported that a gentleman of
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the town, lately buried, walked nightly in the churchyard;
and as the bellman was obliged by his nightly duty to go
through it just at the very hour of one, Mr. Carew repaired
thither a little before the time, and stripping in his shirt,
lay down upon the gentleman's grave. Soon after, hearing
the bellman approach, he raised himself up with a solemn
slowness, which the bellman beholding, by the glimmerings
of the moon through a dark cloud, was terribly frightened,
so took to his heels and ran away. In his fright he looked
behind him, and seeing the ghost following him, dropped his
bell and ran the faster; which Carew seized on as a trophy,
and forbore any further pursuit. The bellman did not stop
till he reached home, where he obstinately affirmed he had
seen the gentleman's ghost, who had taken away the bell,
which greatly alarmed the whole town.
Coming to the seat of Squire Rhodes, in Devonshire,
and knowing he had lately married a Dorsetshire lady, he
thought proper to become a Dorsetshire man of Lyme, the
place of the lady's nativity; and meeting the squire and his
bride, he gave them to understand that he was lost in a
vessel belonging to Lyme, Captain Courtney, commander.
The squire and his lady gave him half-a-crown each, for
country sake, and entertained him at their house.
Our hero, exercising his profession at Milbury, where the
squire's father lived, and to whom the son was come on a
visit, Mr. Carew made application to him, and knocking at
the door, on its being opened, saw the young squire sitting
alone, whom Mr. Rhodes interrupted by saying he "was twice
in one day imposed on by that rogue Carew, of whose gang
you may likely be: besides, I do not live here, but am a
stranger." In the meantime comes the old squire, with a
bottle of wine in his hand, giving Carew a wink to let him
understand he knew him, and then very gravely inquired
into the circumstances of his misfortunes, and also of the
affairs and inhabitants of Dartmouth, from whence he pre-
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CAREW. 89
tended to have sailed several times, of all which he gave a
full and particular account, whereupon the old squire gave
him half-a-crown, and the young one the same; on which
Carew and the old man burst into laughter, and discovered
the whole affair, at which Squire Rhodes was a little
chagrined at being imposed on a third time; but, on recollect-
ing the expertness of the performer, was well satisfied, and
they spent the remainder of the day in mirth and jollity.
At Bristol he dressed himself like a poor mechanic, and then
going out into the streets, acted the religious madman, talk-
ing in a raving manner about Messrs. Whitfield and Wesley,
as though he was disordered in his mind by their preaching;
calling in a furious manner, every step, upon the Virgin
Mary, Pontius Pilate, and Mary Magdalene, and acting
every part of a man religiously mad; sometimes walking
with his eyes fixed upon the ground, and then on a sudden
he would break out in some passionate expressions about
religion. This behaviour greatly excited the curiosity and
compassion of the people; some of them talked to him, but
he answered everything they said in a wild and incoherent
manner; and, as compassion is generally the forerunner of
charity, he was relieved by most of them.
Next morning he appeared in a morning gown, still acting
the madman, and addressed himself to all the posts of the
street, as if they were saints, lifting up his hands and eyes
to heaven, in a fervent but distracted manner, and making
use of so many extravagant gestures, that he astonished the
whole city. Going through Castle Street he met the Rev.
Mr. Bone, whom he accosted with his arms thrown around
him, and insisted, in a raving manner, he should tell him
who was the father of the morning star; which frightened
the parson so much, that he took to his heels and ran for it,
Carew running after him, till the parson was obliged to take
shelter in a house.
Having well recruited his pocket by this stratagem, he
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left Bristol next day, and travelled towards Bath, acting the
madman all the way till he came to Bath: as soon as he came
there, he inquired for Dr. Coney's, and being directed to his
house, found two brother mendicants at the door. After
they had waited some time, the servant brought out each of
them a halfpenny, for which his brother mendicants were
very thankful. But Carew gave his halfpenny to one of
them; then knocking at the door, and the maid coming out
again, "Tell your master," says he, I am not a halfpenny
man, but that my name is Bamfylde Moore Carew, king of
the mendicants;" which being told, the doctor came out
with one of his daughters and gave him sixpence and a mug
of drink, for which he returned them thanks.
Mr. Carew happening to be in the city of Wells on a
Sunday, was told the bishop was to preach that morning,
on which he slipped on a black waistcoat and morning gown,
and ran out to meet the bishop as he was walking in pro-
cession, and addressed himself to him as a poor unhappy man,
whose misfortunes had turned his brains; which the bishop
hearing gave him half-a-crown.
It was in Newcastle-upon-Tyne that he became enamoured
with the daughter of Mr. Glady, an eminent apothecary
and surgeon there. This young lady had charms sufficient
to captivate the heart of any man susceptible of love; and
they made so deep an impression upon him, that they wholly
effaced every object which before had created any desire in
him, and never permitted any other to raise them afterwards;
for, wonderful to tell, we have, after about, thirty years' en-
joyment, seen him lament her occasional absence, almost
with tears, and talk of her with all the fondness of one who
has been in love with her but three days. Our hero tried
all love's persuasions with his fair one in an honourable way,
and, as his person was very engaging and his appearance
genteel, he did not find her greatly averse to his proposals.
As he was aware that his being of the community of gipsies
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CARE. 91
might prejudice her against him, without examination, he
passed with her for the mate of a collier's vessel, in which he
was supported by Captain Lawn, in whose vessel they set
sail; and the very winds being willing to favour these
happy lovers, they had an exceedingly quick passage to
Dartmouth, where they landed. In a few days they set out
for Bath, where they lawfully solemnized their nuptials
with great gaiety and splendour; and nobody at that time
could conjecture who they were, which was the cause of
much speculation and false surmises.
Some time after this he took his passage at Folkstone, in
Kent, for Boulogne, in France, where he arrived safe and
proceeded to Paris and other noted cities of that kingdom.
His habit was now tolerably good, his countenance grave,
his behaviour sober and decent-pretending to be a Roman
Catholic, who had left England, his native country, out of an
ardent zeal for spending his days in the bosom of the Catholic
church. This story readily gained belief: his zeal was uni-
versally applauded, and handsome contributions made for
him. But, at the time he was so zealous a Roman Catholic,
with a little change of habit, he used to address those English
he heard of in any place, as a Protestant and shipwrecked sea-
man; and had the good fortune to meet with an English
physician at Paris, to whom he told this deplorable tale,
who not only relieved him veryhandsomely,but recommended
him to that noble pattern of unexhausted benevolence, Mrs.
Horner, who was then on her travels, from whom he received
ten guineas, and from some other company with her five
It was about this time he became acquainted with the
Hon. Sir William Weem, in the following manner:-
Being at Watchett, in Somersetshire, near the seat of that
gentleman, he resolved to pay him a visit. Putting on,
therefore, a jacket and a pair of trousers, he made the best
of his way to Sir William's seat, and luckily met Sir William,
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Lord Bolingbroke, and several other gentlemen and clergy,
with some commanders of vessels, walking in the park.
Carew approached Sir William with a great deal of seeming
fearfulness and respect, and with much modesty acquainted
him he was a Silverton man, that he was the son of one of
his tenants named Moore-had been to Newfoundland, and
in his passage homeward, the vessel was run down by a
French ship in a fog, and only he and two more were
saved; but being put on board an Irish vessel, were carried
into Ireland, and from thence landed at Watchett. Sir
William hearing this, asked him a great many questions
concerning the inhabitants of Silverton, who were most of
them his own tenants, and of the principal gentlemen in the
neighbourhood; all whom Carew was well acquainted with
and therefore gave satisfactory answers. Sir William at
last asked him if he knew Bickley, and if he knew the
parson thereof. Carew replied that he knew him very well,
and so indeed he might as it was no other than his own
father. Sir William then inquired what family he had, and
whether he had not a son named Bamfylde, and what be-
came of him. Your honour," replied he, "means the beggar
and dog-stealer-I don't know what has become of him, but
it is a wonder if he is not hanged by this time." "No, I
hope not," replied Sir William, "I should be glad, for his
family's sake, to see him at my house." Having satisfac-
torily answered many other questions, Sir William generously
relieved him with a guinea, and Lord Bolingbroke followed
his example; the other gentlemen and clergy contributed
according to their different ranks. Sir William then ordered
him to go to his house and tell the butler to entertain him,
which he accordingly did, and set himself down with great
Having heard that young Lord Clifford, his first cousin
(who had just returned from his travels abroad), was at his
seat at Callington, about four miles from Bridgewater, he
THE ADVENTURES OF BAMFYLDE MOORE CAREW. 93
resolved to pay him a visit. In his way thither resided
parson Carson, who, being one whom nature had made up in
a hurry without a heart, Mr. Carew had never been able to
obtain anything off him, even under the most moving
appearance of distress, but a small cup of drink. Stopping
now in his way, he found the parson was gone to Lord
Clifford's; but, being saluted at the door by a fine black
spaniel, with almost as much crustiness as he would have
been had his master been at home, he thought himself under
no stronger obligation of observing the strict laws of honour,
than the parson did of hospitality; and therefore soon
charmed the crossness of the spaniel and made him follow
him to Bridgewater.
Having secured the spaniel and passed the night merrily
at Bridgewater, he set out the next morning for Lord
Clifford's, and in his way called upon the parson again,
who very crustily told him he had lost his dog, and
supposed some of his gang had stolen him; to which Mr.
Carew very calmly replied, "What was he to his dog, or
what was his dog to him ? if he would make him drink it
was well, for he was very dry." At last, with the use of
much rhetoric, he got a cup of small drink; then, taking
leave of him, he went to the Red Lion, in the same parish,
where he stayed some time. In the meantime, down ran the
parson to my Lord Clifford's, to acquaint him that Mr. Carew
was in the parish and to advise him to.take care of his dogs;
so that Mr. Carew, coming down immediately after, found a
servant with one dog in his arms, and another with another,
here one stood whistling and another calling, and both my
lord and his brother were running about to seek after their
Mr. Carew asked my lord what was the meaning of this
hurry, and if his dogs were cripples, because he saw several
carried in the servants' arms, adding, he hoped his lordship
did not imagine he was come to steal any of them. Upon
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which his lordship told him, that parson Carson had advised
him to be careful, as he had lost his spaniel but the day
before. It may be so," replied he, the parson knows but
little of me, or the laws of our community, if he is ignorant
that with us ingratitude is unknown, and the property of
our friends always sacred." His lordship, hearing this, en-
tertained him very handsomely, and both himself and his
brother made him a present.
On his return home, he reflected how idly he had spent
the prime of life; and recovering from a severe illness, he
came to a resolution of resigning the Egyptian sceptre. The
assembly, finding him determined, reluctantly acquiesced,
and he departed amidst the applause and sighs of his
Our adventurer, finding the air of the town not rightly to
agree with him, and the death of some of his relations render-
ing his circumstances quite easy, he retired to the western
parts, to a neat purchase he had made, and there he ended his
days, beloved and esteemed by all; leaving his daughter (his
wife dying some time before him) a genteel fortune, who was
married to a neighboring young gentleman.
COMICAL SAYINGS OF PADDY FROM CORK. 95
PADDY FROM CORK
COAT BUTTONED BEHIND
Being an Elegant Conference between English Tom and
WITH PADDY'S CATECHISM,
And his Supplication when a Mountain Sailor.
Tom. GOOD morrow, sir. This is a very cold day.
Teag. Arra, dear honey, yesternight was a very cold
Tom. Well, brother traveller, of what nation art thou ?
Teag. Arra, dear shoy, I came from my own kingdom.
Tom. Why, I know that; but where is thy kingdom ?
Teag. Allelieu, dear honey, don't you know Cork in
Tom. You fool, Cork is not a kingdom, but a city.
Teag. Then, dear shoy, I'm sure it is in a kingdom.
Tom. And what is the reason you have come and left
your own dear country ?
Teag. Arra, dear honey, by Shaint Patrick, they have got
such comical laws in our country that they will put a man
to death in perfect health ; so, to be free and plain with you,
neighbour, I was obliged to come away, for I did not choose
to stay among such a people that can hang a poor man when
they please, if he either steals, robs, or kills a man.
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Tom. Ay, but I take you to be more of an honest man
than to steal, rob, or kill a man.
Teag. Honest, I am perfectly honest. When I was but a
child my mother would have trusted me with a house full
Tom. What was the matter? Was you guilty of
Teag. Arra, dear honey, I did harm to nobody, but
fancied an old gentleman's gun, and afterwards made it my
Tom. Very well, boy, and did you keep it so ?
Teag. Keep it ? I would have kept it with all my heart
while I lived. Death itself could not have parted us; but
the old rogue, the gentleman, being a justice of peace him-
self, had me tried for the rights of it, and how I came by it,
and so took it again.
Tom. And how did you clear yourself without punish-
Teag. Arra, dear shoy, I told him a parcel of lies, but they
would not believe me, for I said that I got it from my father
when it was a little pistol, and I had kept it till it had
grown a gun, and was designed to use it well until it had
grown a big cannon, and then sell it to the military. They
all fell a-laughing at me as I had been a fool, and bade me
go home to my mother and clean the potatoes.
Tom. How long is it since you left your own country?
Teag. Arra, dear honey, I do not mind whether it be a
fortnight or four months; but I think myself it is a long
time. They tell me my mother is dead since, but I won't
believe it until I get a letter from her own hand, for she is
a very good scholar, suppose she can neither write nor read.
Tom. Was you ever in England before ?
Teag. Ay, that I was, and in Scotland too.
Tom. -And were they kind to you when you were in
COMICAL SAYINGS OF PADDY FROM CORK.
Teag. They were that kind that they kicked me, and the
reason was because I would not pay the whole of the liquor
that was drunk in the company, though the landlord and
his two sons got mouthful about of it all, and I told them
it was a trick upon travellers first to drink his liquor, and
then to kick him out of doors.
Tom. I really think they have used you badly, but could
you not beat them.
Teag. That's what I did, beat them all to their own con-
tentment; but there was one of them stronger than me who
would have killed me if the other two had not pulled me
away, and I had to run for it till his passion was over.
Then they made us drink and gree again; we shook hands,
and made a bargain never to harm other more; but this
bargain did not last long, for, as I was kissing his mouth,
by Shaint Patrick I bit his nose, which caused him to beat
me very sore for my pains.
Tom. Well, Paddy, what calling was you when in Scot-
Teag. Why, sir, I was no business at all, but what do you
call the green tree that's like a whin bush, people makes a
thing to sweep the house of it!
Tom. 0, yes, Paddy, they call it the broom.
Teag. Ay, ay, you have it, I was a gentleman's broom,
only waited on his horses, and washed the dishes for the
cook; and when my master rode a-hunting I went behind
with the dogs.
Tom. 0, yes, Paddy, it was the groom you mean. But I
fancy you was cook's mate or kitchen boy.
Teag. No, no, it was the broom that I was; and if I had
stayed there till now I might have been advanced as high as
my master, for the ladies loved me so well that they laughed
Tom. They might admire you for a fool.
Teag. What, sir, do you imagine that I am not a fool ?
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No, no; my master asked counsel of me in all his matters, and
I always give him a reason for everything. I told him one
morning that he went too soon to the hunting, that the
hares were not got out of their beds, and neither the barking
of horns nor the blowing of dogs could make them rise, it
was such a cold morning that night; so they all ran away
that we catched, when we did not see them. Then my
master told my words to several gentlemen that were at
dinner, and they admired me for want of judgment, for my
head was all of a lump, adding they were going a-fishing
along with my master and me in the afternoon; but I told
them that it was a very unhappy thing for any man to go
a-hunting in the morning and a-fishing in the afternoon.
They would try it, but they had better stayed at home, for it
came on a most terrible fine night of south-west rain, and
even down wind; so the fishes got all below the water to
keep themselves dry from the shower, and we catched them
all, but got none.
Tom. How long did you serve that gentleman, Paddy?
Teag. Arra, dear honey, I was with him six weeks, and
he beat me seven times.
Tom. For what did he beat you? Was it for your
madness and foolish tricks ?
Teag. Dear shoy, it was not, but for being too inquisitive,
and going sharply about business. First, he sent me to the
post office to inquire if there were any letters for him; so
when I came there, said I, Is there any letters here for my
master to-day?" Then they asked who was my master.
" Sir," said I, it is very bad manners in you to ask any
gentleman's name." At this they laughed, mocking me, and
said they could give me none if I would not tell my master's
name; so I returned to my master and told him the impu-
dence of the fellow, who would give me no letters unless I
would tell him your name, master. My master at this flew
in a passion, and kicked me down stairs, saying, Go, you
COMICAL SAYINGS OF PADDY FROM CORK. V9
rogue, and tell my name directly. How can the gentleman
give letters when he knows not who is asking for them ?"
Then I returned and told my master's name; so they told
me there was one for him. I looked at it, being very small,
and, asking the price of it, they told me it was sixpence.
"Sixpence," said I; will you take sixpence for that small
thing, and selling bigger ones for twopence. Faith, I am not
such a big fool. You think to cheat me now. This is not a
conscionable way of dealing. I'll acquaint my master with
it first." So I came and told my master how they would
have sixpence for his letter, and was selling bigger ones for
twopence. He took up my head and broke his cane with
it, calling me a thousand fools, saying the man was more
just than to take anything but the right for it; but I was
sure there was none of them right, buying and selling such
dear pennyworths. So I came again for my dear sixpence
letter; and, as the fellow was shuffling through a parcel of
them, seeking for it again, to make the best of a dear
market, I picked up two, and home I comes to my master,
thinking he would be pleased with what I had done.
' Now," said I, master, I think I have put a trick upon
them fellows for selling the letter to you." What have
you done." "I have only taken other two letters.' Here's
one for you, master, to help your dear pennyworth, and I'll
send the other to my mother to see whether she be dead or
alive, for she's always angry I don't write to her." I had
not the word well spoken till he got up his stick and beat
me heartily for it, and sent me back to the fellows again
with the two. I had a very ill will to go, but nobody would
buy them of me.
Tom. Well, Paddy, I think you was to blame, and your
master, too, for he ought to have taught you how to go
about these affairs, and not beat you so.
Teag. Arra, dear honey, I had too much wit of my own
to be reached by him, or anybody else. He began to in-
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struck me after that how I should serve the table, and such
nasty things as those. One night I took ben a roasted fish
in one hand and a piece of bread in the other. The old
gentleman was so saucy he would not take it, and told me
I should bring nothing to him without a trencher below it.
The same night, as he was going to bed, he called for his
slippers; so I clapt a trencher below the slippers, and ben I
goes. No sooner did I enter the room than he threw the
trencher at me, which broke both my head and the trencher
at one blow. "Now," said I, the evil one is in my master
altogether, for what he commands at one time he counter-
mands at another." Next day I went with him to the
market to buy a sack of potatoes. I went to the potato-
monger, and asked what he took for the full of a Scot's cog.
He weighed them in. He asked no less than fourpence.
" Fourpence !" said I; "if I were but in Dublin I could get
the double of that for nothing, and in Cork and Linsale far
cheaper. Them is but small things like pease," said I, but
the potatoes in my country is as big as your head-fine
meat, all made up in blessed mouthfuls." The potato mer-
chant called me a liar, and my master called me a fool; so the
one fell a-kicking me and the other a-cuffing me. I was
in such bad bread among them that I called myself both a
liar and a fool to get off alive.
Tom. And how did you carry your potatoes home from
the market ?
Teag. Arra, dear shoy, I carried the horse and them both,
besides a big loaf, and two bottles of wine; for I put the
old horse on my back, and drove the potatoes before me;
and when I tied the load to the loaf, I had nothing to do
but to carry the bottle in my hand; but bad luck to the
way as I came home, for a pail out of the heel of my foot
sprung a leak in my brogue, which pricked the very bone,
bruised the skin, and made my brogue itself to blood; and I
having no hammer by me, but a hatchet I left at home, I