: NURSEY STORIES
: Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales
[This little tale was most likely copied from the commencement of the
original edition of Jack the Giant-killer, where similar incidents are
related of that renowned hero.]
In the reign of King Arthur there lived near the Land's End, in
Cornwall, a wealthy farmer, who had an only son, commonly called Jack
Hornby. He was of a brisk and ready wit, and he was never known to be
outwitted in any transaction.
One day, when he was no more than seven years of age, his father sent
him into the field to look after his oxen. While he was attending to
them, the lord of the manor came across the field, and as Jack was known
to be a clever boy, he began asking him questions. His first was, "How
many commandments are there?" Jack told him there were nine. The lord
corrected him, saying there were ten. "Nay," quoth Jack, "you are wrong
there: it is true there were ten, but you broke one of them when you
stole my father's cow for your rent." The lord of the manor was so
struck by this answer, that he promised to return the poor man's cow.
"Now," quoth Jack, "it is my turn to ask a question. Can you tell me how
many sticks go to build a crow's nest?" "Yes," said he, "there are as
many go as are sufficient for the size of the nest." "Oh!" quoth Jack,
"you are out again; there are none go, for they are all carried!"
Jack Hornby was never more troubled with questions by the lord of the