Hereafterthis

Joseph Jacobs April 18, 2015
English
Easy
7 min read
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    Once upon a time there was a farmer called Jan, and he lived all alone by himself in a little farmhouse.

    By-and-by he thought that he would like to have a wife to keep it all vitty for him.

    So he went a-courting a fine maid, and he said to her: “Will you marry me?”

    “That I will, to be sure,” said she.

    So they went to church, and were wed. After the wedding was over, she got up on his horse behind him, and he brought her home. And they lived as happy as the day was long.

    One day, Jan said to his wife, “Wife can you milk-y?”

    “Oh, yes, Jan, I can milk-y. Mother used to milk-y, when I lived home.”

    So he went to market and bought her ten red cows. All went well till one day when she had driven them to the pond to drink, she thought they did not drink fast enough. So she drove them right into the pond to make them drink faster, and they were all drowned.

    When Jan came home, she up and told him what she had done, and he said, “Oh, well, there, never mind, my dear, better luck next time.”

    So they went on for a bit, and then, one day, Jan said to his wife, “Wife can you serve pigs?”

    “Oh, yes, Jan, I can serve pigs. Mother used to serve pigs when I lived home.”

    So Jan went to market and bought her some pigs. All went well till one day, when she had put their food into the trough she thought they did not eat fast enough, and she pushed their heads into the trough to make them eat faster, and they were all choked.

    When Jan came home, she up and told him what she had done, and he said, “Oh, well, there, never mind, my dear, better luck next time.”

    So they went on for a bit, and then, one day, Jan said to his wife, “Wife can you bake-y?”

    “Oh, yes, Jan, I can bake-y. Mother used to bake-y when I lived home.”

    So he bought everything for his wife so that she could bake bread. All went well for a bit, till one day, she thought she would bake white bread for a treat for Jan. So she carried her meal to the top of a high hill, and let the wind blow on it, for she thought to herself that the wind would blow out all the bran. But the wind blew away meal and bran and all—so there was an end of it.

    When Jan came home, she up and told him what she had done, and he said, “Oh, well, there, never mind, my dear, better luck next time.”

    So they went on for a bit, and then, one day, Jan said to his wife, “Wife can you brew-y?”

    “Oh, yes, Jan, I can brew-y. Mother used to brew-y when I lived home.”

    So he bought everything proper for his wife to brew ale with. All went well for a bit, till one day when she had brewed her ale and put it in the barrel, a big black dog came in and looked up in her face. She drove him out of the house, but he stayed outside the door and still looked up in her face. And she got so angry that she pulled out the plug of the barrel, threw it at the dog, and said, “What dost look at me for? I be Jan’s wife.” Then the dog ran down the road, and she ran after him to chase him right away. When she came back again, she found that the ale had all run out of the barrel, and so there was an end of it.

    When Jan came home, she up and told him what she had done, and he said, “Oh well, there, never mind, my dear, better luck next time.”

    So they went on for a bit, and then, one day, she thought to herself, “‘T is time to clean up my house.” When she was taking down her big bed she found a bag of groats on the tester. So when Jan came home, she up and said to him, “Jan, what is that bag of groats on the tester for?”

    “That is for Hereafterthis, my dear.”

    Now, there was a robber outside the window, and he heard what Jan said. Next day, he waited till Jan had gone to market, and then he came and knocked at the door. “What do you please to want?” said Mally.

    “I am Hereafterthis,” said the robber, “I have come for the bag of groats.”

    Now the robber was dressed like a fine gentleman, so she thought to herself it was very kind of so fine a man to come for the bag of groats, so she ran upstairs and fetched the bag of groats, and gave it to the robber and he went away with it.

    When Jan came home, she said to him, “Jan, Hereafterthis has been for the bag of groats.”

    “What do you mean, wife?” said Jan.

    So she up and told him, and he said, “Then I’m a ruined man, for that money was to pay our rent with. The only thing we can do is to roam the world over till we find the bag of groats.” Then Jan took the house-door off its hinges, “That’s all we shall have to lie on,” he said. So Jan put the door on his back, and they both set out to look for Hereafterthis. Many a long day they went, and in the night Jan used to put the door on the branches of a tree, and they would sleep on it. One night they came to a big hill, and there was a high tree at the foot. So Jan put the door up in it, and they got up in the tree and went to sleep. By-and-by Jan’s wife heard a noise, and she looked to see what it was. It was an opening of a door in the side of the hill. Out came two gentlemen with a long table, and behind them fine ladies and gentlemen, each carrying a bag, and one of them was Hereafterthis with the bag of groats. They sat round the table, and began to drink and talk and count up all the money in the bags. So then Jan’s wife woke him up, and asked what they should do.

    “Now’s our time,” said Jan, and he pushed the door off the branches, and it fell right in the very middle of the table, and frightened the robbers so that they all ran away. Then Jan and his wife got down from the tree, took as many money-bags as they could carry on the door, and went straight home. And Jan bought his wife more cows, and more pigs, and they lived happy ever after.

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