The Crafty Farmer
No: 283; variant: 283A
- THE song that I’m going to sing,
I hope it will give you content,
Concerning a silly old man,
That was going to pay his rent.
- As he was riding along,
Along all on the highway,
A gentleman-thief overtook him,
And thus to him did say.
- ‘Well overtaken!’ said the thief,
‘Well overtaken!’ said he;
And ‘Well overtaken!’ said the old man,
‘If thou be good company.’
- ‘How far are you going this way?’
Which made the old man for to smile;
‘By my faith,’ said the old man,
‘I’m just going two mile.
- ‘I am a poor farmer,’ he said,
‘And I farm a piece of ground,
And my half-year’s rent, kind sir,
Just come to forty pound.
- ‘And my landlord has not been at home,
I’ve not seen him this twelvemonth or more,
Which makes my rent be large;
I’ve to pay him just fourscore.’
- ‘Thou shouldst not have told any body,
For thieves there’s ganging many;
If any should light on thee,
They’ll rob thee of thy money.’
- ‘O never mind,’ said the old man,
‘Thieves I fear on no side,
For the money is safe in my bags,
On the saddle on which I ride.’
- As they were riding along,
The old man was thinking no ill,
The thief he pulled out a pistol
And bid the old man stand still.
- But the old man provd crafty,
As in the world there’s many;
He threw his saddle oer the hedge,
Saying, Fetch it, if thou’lt have any.
- The thief got off his horse,
With courage stout and bold,
To search for the old man’s bag,
And gave him his horse to hold.
- The old man put ‘s foot i the stirrup
And he got on astride;
To its side he clapt his spur up,
You need not bid the old man ride.
- ‘O stay!’ said the thief, ‘O stay!
And half the share thou shalt have;’
‘Nay, by my faith,’ said the old man,
‘For once I have bitten a knave.’
- The thief he was not content,
But he thought there must be bags;
He out with his rusty old sword
And chopt the old saddle in rags.
- When he came to the landlord’s house,
This old man he was almost spent;
Saying, Come, show me a private room
And I’ll pay you a whole year’s rent.
- ‘I’ve met a fond fool by the way,
I swapt horses and gave him no boot;
But never mind,’ said the old man,
‘For I got the fond fool by the foot.’
- He opend this rogue’s portmantle,
It was glorious to behold;
There were three hundred pounds in silver,
And three hundred pounds in gold.
- And as he was riding home,
And down a narrow lane,
He espied his mare tied to a hedge,
Saying, Prithee, Tib, wilt thou gang hame?
- When he got home to his wife
And told her what he had done,
Up she rose and put on her clothes,
And about the house did run.
- She sung, and she sung, and she sung,
She sung with a merry devotion,
Saying, If ever our daughter gets wed,
It will help to enlarge her portion.