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From English Fairy Tales, by Joseph Jacobs (coll. & ed.)
Start of Story
Well, he set out, and he travelled a long way, and at last he came to
a woman's cottage that had some grass growing on the roof. And the
woman was trying to get her cow to go up a ladder to the grass, and
the poor thing durst not go. So the gentleman asked the woman what she
was doing. "Why, lookye," she said, "look at all that beautiful grass.
I'm going to get the cow on to the roof to eat it. She'll be quite
safe, for I shall tie a string round her neck, and pass it down the
chimney, and tie it to my wrist as I go about the house, so she can't
fall off without my knowing it." "Oh, you poor silly!" said the
gentleman, "you should cut the grass and throw it down to the cow!"
But the woman thought it was easier to get the cow up the ladder than
to get the grass down, so she pushed her and coaxed her and got her
up, and tied a string round her neck, and passed it down the chimney,
and fastened it to her own wrist. And the gentleman went on his way,
but he hadn't gone far when the cow tumbled off the roof, and hung by
the string tied round her neck, and it strangled her. And the weight
of the cow tied to her wrist pulled the woman up the chimney, and she
stuck fast half-way and was smothered in the soot.
Well, that was one big silly.
And the gentleman went on and on, and he went to an inn to stop the
night, and they were so full at the inn that they had to put him in a
double-bedded room, and another traveller was to sleep in the other
The other man was a very pleasant fellow, and they got very
friendly together; but in the morning, when they were both getting up,
the gentleman was surprised to see the other hang his trousers on the
knobs of the chest of drawers and run across the room and try to jump
into them, and he tried over and over again, and couldn't manage it;
and the gentleman wondered whatever he was doing it for. At last he
stopped and wiped his face with his handkerchief. "Oh dear," he says,
"I do think trousers are the most awkwardest kind of clothes that ever
were. I can't think who could have invented such things. It takes me
the best part of an hour to get into mine every morning, and I get so
hot! How do you manage yours?" So the gentleman burst out a-laughing,
and showed him how to put them on; and he was very much obliged to
him, and said he never should have thought of doing it that way.
So that was another big silly.
Then the gentleman went on his travels again; and he came to a
village, and outside the village there was a pond, and round the pond
was a crowd of people. And they had got rakes, and brooms, and
pitchforks, reaching into the pond; and the gentleman asked what was
the matter. "Why," they say, "matter enough! Moon's tumbled into the
pond, and we can't rake her out anyhow!" So the gentleman burst out a-
laughing, and told them to look up into the sky, and that it was only
the shadow in the water. But they wouldn't listen to him, and abused
him shamefully, and he got away as quick as he could.
So there was a whole lot of sillies bigger than them three sillies at
home. So the gentleman turned back home again and married the farmer's
daughter, and if they didn't live happy for ever after, that's nothing
to do with you or me.