Thursday, 7 April 2016

“Good Day, Man!” — “Axe Shaft”

This is an anecdote/ joke tale that pokes fun at a deaf man with a dysfunctional family. Do enjoy! :-)

“Good Day, Man!” — “Axe Shaft”

Once upon a time, there was a ferryman who was so hard of hearing that he could neither hear nor gather the meaning of what someone said to him. He had a wife and two sons and a daughter, and they cared not for the man, but lived lustily and well, so long as there was something to live off. And then they took out a line of credit with the innkeeper, and threw rowdy parties every day, from which people were thrown out.

When no one would lend them any more, the sheriff would come to take security for what they had borrowed and wasted; so the wife and children travelled to her kin, and left the hard-of-hearing man behind to receive the sheriff and his deputy.

The man rattled around, tidying up; and wondered what the sheriff might ask about, and how he would reply when he came.

“Well, I can bring something up,” he said to himself, “so that he will ask me about it. I will start whittling an axe shaft.

“Then he will ask me what it is going to be, and then I will say:

“‘Axe shaft.’

“Then he will ask me how long it is to be, and then I will say:

“‘As long as to just below this twig.’

“And then he will as me where the ferry lies, and I will say:

“‘I am going to tar her bottom, for she’s lying down on the strand, cracked at both ends.’

“Then he will ask, ‘Where is your grey mare, then?’ And I will say:

“‘She is heavily pregnant, in the stable.’

“Then he’ll ask, ‘Where are your cattle and your summer stall?’ Then I will say:

“‘Oh, it’s not far; when you climb the hill, you’re as good as there.’”

This, he thought, was good and well-planned.

After a while, the sheriff came—sure enough; but his deputy had gone by way of the inn, and there he sat, drinking.

“Good day, man!” He said.

“Axe shaft,” said the ferryman.

“Indeed,” said the sheriff. “How long is it to the inn?” he asked.

“As long as to just below this twig,” said the man, and pointed to a spot on his axe-shaft blank.

The sheriff shook his head, and glared at him.

“Where’s your wife, man?” he said.

“I am going to tar her bottom, for she’s lying down on the strand, cracked at both ends.”

“Where is your daughter?”

“Oh, she is heavily pregnant, in the stable,” said the man; he thought he answered for himself both good and well.

“Oh go to ... ! You’re a nitwit, you are,” said the sheriff.

“Well, it’s not far; when you climb the hill, you’re as good as there,” said the man.

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