|English Fairy Tales
upon a time there was a boy whose name was Jack, and he lived with his
mother on a common. They were very poor, and the old woman got her
living by spinning, but Jack was so lazy that he would do nothing but
bask in the sun in the hot weather, and sit by the corner of the hearth
in the winter-time. So they called him Lazy Jack. His mother could not
get him to do anything for her, and at last told him, one Monday, that
if he did not begin to work for his porridge she would turn him out to
get his living as he could.
roused Jack, and he went out and hired himself for the next day to a
neighbouring farmer for a penny; but as he was coming home, never
having had any money before, he lost it in passing over a brook. "You
stupid boy," said his mother, "you should have put it in your pocket."
"I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
Wednesday, Jack went out again and hired himself to a cow-keeper, who
gave him a jar of milk for his day's work. Jack took the jar and put it
into the large pocket of his jacket, spilling it all, long before he
got home. "Dear me!" said the old woman; "you should have carried it on
your head." "I'll do so another time," said Jack.
on Thursday, Jack hired himself again to a farmer, who agreed to give
him a cream cheese for his services. In the evening Jack took the
cheese, and went home with it on his head. By the time he got home the
cheese was all spoilt, part of it being lost, and part matted with his
hair. "You stupid lout," said his mother, "you should have carried it
very carefully in your hands." "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
Friday, Lazy Jack again went out, and hired himself to a baker, who
would give him nothing for his work but a large tom-cat. Jack took the
cat, and began carrying it very carefully in his hands, but in a short
time pussy scratched him so much that he was compelled to let it go.
When he got home, his mother said to him, "You silly fellow, you should
have tied it with a string, and dragged it along after you." "I'll do
so another time," said Jack.
on Saturday, Jack hired himself to a butcher, who rewarded him by the
handsome present of a shoulder of mutton. Jack took the mutton, tied it
to a string, and trailed it along after him in the dirt, so that by the
time he had got home the meat was completely spoilt. His mother was
this time quite out of patience with him, for the next day was Sunday,
and she was obliged to make do with cabbage for her dinner. "You
ninney-hammer," said she to her son; "you should have carried it on
your shoulder." "I'll do so another time," replied Jack.
the next Monday, Lazy Jack went once more, and hired himself to a
cattle-keeper, who gave him a donkey for his trouble. Jack found it
hard to hoist the donkey on his shoulders, but at last he did it, and
began walking slowly home with his prize. Now it happened that in the
course of his journey there lived a rich man with his only daughter, a
beautiful girl, but deaf and dumb. Now she had never laughed in her
life, and the doctors said she would never speak till somebody made her
laugh. This young lady happened to be looking out of the window when
Jack was passing with the donkey on his shoulders, with the legs
sticking up in the air, and the sight was so comical and strange that
she burst out into a great fit of laughter, and immediately recovered
her speech and hearing. Her father was overjoyed, and fulfilled his
promise by marrying her to Lazy Jack, who was thus made a rich
gentleman. They lived in a large house, and Jack's mother lived with
them in great happiness until she died.