The husband who was to mind the house
Once on a time there was a man, so surly and cross, he never thought his Wife did anything right in the house. So, one evening, in haymaking time, he came home, scolding and swearing, and showing his teeth and making a dust.
“Dear love, don’t be so angry; there’s a good man,” said his goody; “to-morrow let’s change our work. I’ll go out with the mowers and mow, and you shall mind the house at home.”
Yes! the Husband thought that would do very well. He was quite willing, he said.
So, early next morning, his goody took a scythe over her neck, and went out into the hayfield with the mowers, and began to mow; but the man was to mind the house, and do the work at home.
First of all, he wanted to churn the butter; but when he had churned a while, he got thirsty, and went down to the cellar to tap a barrel of ale. So, just when he had knocked in the bung, and was putting the tap into the cask, he heard overhead the pig come into the kitchen. Then off he ran up the cellar steps, with the tap in his hand, as fast as he could, to look after the pig, lest it should upset the churn; but when he got up, and saw the pig had already knocked the churn over, and stood there, routing and grunting amongst the cream which was running all over the floor, he got so wild with rage that he quite forgot the ale-barrel, and ran at the pig as hard as he could. He caught it, too, just as it ran out of doors, and gave it such a kick, that piggy lay for dead on the spot. Then all at once he remembered he had the tap in his hand; but when he got down to the cellar, every drop of ale had run out of the cask.
Then he went into the dairy and found enough cream left to fill the churn again, and so he began to churn, for butter they must have at dinner. When he had churned a bit, he remembered that their milking cow was still shut up in the byre, and hadn’t had a bit to eat or a drop to drink all the morning, though the sun was high. Then all at once he thought ’twas too far to take her down to the meadow, so he’d just get her up on the house top—for the house, you must know, was thatched with sods, and a fine crop of grass was growing there.