Thursday, 8 September 2016

The Man Who Would Look After the Home

Once upon a time, there was a man who was very grumpy and wild; and he never thought his wife did enough about the house. He came home from the haymaking one evening, and swore and cursed so that he glowed.

“Dear me! Don’t be so mean, father,” said his wife; “tomorrow we shall swap work. I shall go to mow the fields, and you can look after our home.”

Yes, the husband was satisfied with this; he readily agreed.

Early in the morning, the woman took the scythe across her neck, and went out to the meadow, to mow; the husband would look after the house. First he wanted to churn some butter. But when he had churned for a while, he grew thirsty, and went to the cellar to draw some beer. While he was drawing some into his beer bowl, he heard that the pig had come into the cabin. He went up with the stopper in his fist—up the cellar steps as quickly as he could—to take care of the pig, so that it would not tip the churn. But when he saw that the pig had already upturned the churn, and stood lapping at the cream that ran over the floor, he grew so angry that he simply forgot the beer barrel, and chased the pig as best he could. He caught up with it in the doorway, and gave it such a tremendous kick that it remained lying on the spot. Now he remembered that he had the beer stopper in his hand; but when he came down into the cellar, the beer barrel was empty.

He then went to the milking shed again, found so much cream that it filled the churn, and then he began to churn, for he would have butter for his dinner. When he had churned a while, he remembered that the cow was still inside, and had neither been fed nor watered, despite it being quite late in the day. He thought it too far to take it to the garden, so he thought to loose it on the roof—the building had a turf roof that grew long, luscious grass. The house stood on a steep bank, but when he had laid a plank to the roof, he thought he would soon have the cow up. But he dared not let go of the churn, either, for his infant child was creeping and crawling on the floor, and might well overturn it. So he carried the churn on his back; but he should give the cow some water before releasing it on the roof. Oh yes, he took a bucket to draw water from the well with, but as he leaned over the edge of the well, the cream ran out of the churn and down his neck.

The time grew close to dinner, and yet he had no butter; so he thought he would boil some porridge, and hung a cauldron of water over the fire. When he had done so, he considered that the cow might fall off the roof and break its leg or its neck, so he went up to bind it. One end of the rope he tied around the cow’s neck. He dropped the rope down the chimney, and tied the other end around his thigh, as the water was already boiling in the cauldron, and he had to press the porridge. But while he was busy with the porridge, the cow did fall off the roof, and pulled the man up the chimney so that he sat fast. The cow hung outside the wall, hovering between the heavens and the earth, and could neither come up nor down.

The wife had waited for seven long and seven wide hours for the man to come and call her home to dinner; but the time came and went, and nothing came of it. In the end, she thought it was late, and went home. When she saw the cow hanging so awkwardly, she went over and severed the rope with the scythe; immediately the man fell down the chimney again; and when the wife went in, he stood head down in the cauldron.

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