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Read The Three Sillies Story
Written by: Flora Annie Steel
Once upon a time, there lived a farmer and his wife who had one daughter. And she, being a pretty girl, was chased by the young boy who came home from his travels.
Now every evening he would walk over from the Hall to see her and stop to supper in the farm-house, and every evening the daughter would go down into the basement to draw the apple juice for supper.
So one evening when she had gone down to draw the apple juice and had turned the tap as usual, she happened to look up at the ceiling, and there she saw a big wooden hammer stuck in one of the beams.
It must have been there for ages and ages, for it was all covered with spider webs; but somehow or another she had never noticed it before, and at once she began thinking how dangerous it was to have the hammer just there.
“For,” thought she, “supposing him and me were married, and supposing we were to have a son, and supposing he were to grow up to be a man, and supposing he were to come down to draw apple juice like as I’m doing, and supposing the hammer were to fall on his head and kill him, how dreadful it would be!”
With that she put down the candle she was carrying, seated herself on a large wooden container, and began to cry. And she cried and cried and cried.
Now, upstairs, they began to wonder why she was so long drawing the apple juice; so after a while, her mother went down to the basement to see what had come to her, and found her, seated on the wooden container, crying ever so hard, and the apple juice running all over the floor.
“What is the matter?” cried her mother.
“O mother!” says she between her sobs, “It’s that hammer. Supposing him and me were married, and supposing we were to have a son, and supposing he was to grow up to be a man, and supposing he was to come down to draw apple juice like as I’m doing, and supposing the hammer were to fall on his head and kill him, how dreadful it would be!”
“Dear heart!” said the mother, seating herself beside her daughter and beginning to cry: “How dreadful it would be!”
So they both sat and started crying.
Now after some time, when they did not come back, the farmer began to wonder what had happened, and going down to the basement found them seated side by side on the wooden container, crying hard, and the apple juice running all over the floor.
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“What is the matter?” says he.
“Just look at that hammer up there, father,” moaned the mother. “Supposing our daughter was to marry her sweetheart, and supposing they were to have a son, and supposing he was to grow to man’s estate, and supposing he was to come down to draw apple juice like as we’re doing, and supposing that there hammer was to fall on his head and kill him, how dreadful it would be!”
“Dreadful indeed!” said the father and, seating himself beside his wife and daughter, started crying too.
Now upstairs the young boy wanted his supper; so at last he lost patience and went down into the basement to see for himself what they were all after. And there he found them seated side by side on the wooden container crying, with their feet all a-wash in apple juice, for the floor was fair flooded. So the first thing he did was to run straight and turn off the tap. Then he said:
“What are you three after, sitting there crying like babies, and letting good apple juice run over the floor?”
Then they all three began with one voice, “Look at that hammer! Supposing you and her get married, and suppose you had a son, and suppose he was to grow to man’s estate, and suppose he was to come down here to draw apple juice like as we be, and suppose that there hammer was to fall down on his head and kill him, how dreadful it would be!”
Then the young boy burst out laughing, and laughed till he was tired. But at last he reached up to the old hammer and pulled it out, and put it safe on the floor. And he shook his head and said, “I’ve travelled far and I’ve travelled fast, but never have I met with three such sillies as you three. Now I can’t marry one of the biggest sillies in the world. So I shall start again on my travels, and if I can find three bigger sillies than you three, then I’ll come back and be married—not otherwise.”
So he wished them good-bye and started again on his travels, leaving them all crying; this time because the marriage was off!
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Well, the young man travelled far and he travelled fast, but never did he find a bigger silly, until one day he came upon an old woman’s cottage that had some grass growing on the roof.
The old woman was trying her best to push her cow into going up a ladder to eat the grass. But the poor thing was afraid and dare not go. The old woman tried a lot, but it wouldn’t go. There would never have been such a sight! The cow getting more and more obstinate, the old woman getting hotter and hotter.
At last the young boy said, “It would be easier if you went up the ladder, cut the grass, and threw it down for the cow to eat.”
“A likely story that,” says the old woman. “A cow can cut for herself. And the foolish thing will be quite safe up there, for I’ll tie a rope round her neck, pass the rope down the chimney, and fasten the other end to my wrist, so as when I’m doing my bit o’ washing, she can’t fall off the roof without my knowing it. So mind your own business, young sir.”
Well, after a while the old woman managed to push the cow up the ladder, and when she got it on to the roof she tied a rope round its neck, passed the rope down the chimney, and fastened the other end to her wrist. Then she went about her bit of washing, and young boy went on his way.
But he hadn’t gone but a bit when he heard the awful noise. He galloped back, and found that the cow had fallen off the roof and got strangled by the rope round its neck, while the weight of the cow had pulled the old woman by her wrist up the chimney, where she had got stuck half-way and been smothered by the soot!
“That is one bigger silly,” said the young boy as he journeyed on. “So two more now!”
He did not find any, however, till late one night he arrived at a little lodge. And the in lodge was so full that he had to share a room with another traveller. Now his room-fellow proved quite a pleasant fellow, and they slept well in their bed.
But next morning, when they were dressing, the stranger carefully hangs his pants on the knobs of the tall door!
“What are you doing?” asks young boy.
“I’m putting on my pants,” says the stranger; and with that he goes to the other end of the room, takes a little run, and tried to jump into the pants.
But he didn’t succeed, so he took another run and another try, and another and another and another, until he got quite irritated. And all the time young man was laughing fit to split, for never in his life did he see anything so comical.
Then the stranger stopped a while and mopped his face with his handkerchief, for he was all in a sweat. “It’s very well laughing,” says he, “but pants are the most awkward things to get into. It takes me the best part of an hour every morning before I get them on. How do you manage yours?”
Then young boy showed him, as well as he could for laughing, how to put on his pants, and the stranger was ever so grateful and said he never should have thought of that way.
“So that,” said young boy to himself, “is a second bigger silly.” But he travelled far and he travelled fast without finding the third, until one bright night when the moon was shining right overhead he came upon a village. And outside the village was a pond, and round about the pond was a great crowd of villagers. Some of them had got brooms. They were busy, shouting out, and sweeping away the pond.
“What is the matter?” cried young man, jumping off his horse to help. “Has any one fallen in?”
“Yes! Matter enough,” says they. “Can’t you see moon’s fallen into the pond, and’ we can’t get her out.”
And with that they set to again sweeping away. Then the young man burst out laughing, he told them they were fools for their pains, and asked them look up over their heads where the moon was riding broad and full. But they wouldn’t, and they wouldn’t believe that what they saw in the water was only a reflection. And when he insisted they began to abuse him and threaten to duck him in the pond. So he got on his horse again as quickly as he could, leaving them sweeping away; and for all we know they may be at it yet!
But the young boy said to himself, “There are many more sillies in this world than I thought for; so I’ll just go back and marry the farmer’s daughter. She is no sillier than the rest.”