The Miser And His Wife

: Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales

["Let us cast away nothing," says Mr. Gifford, "for we know not what use

we may have for it." So will every one admit whose reading has been

sufficiently extensive to enable him to judge of the value of the

simplest traditional tales. The present illustrates a passage in Ben

Jonson in a very remarkable manner,--

----Say we are robb'd,

If any come to borrow a spoon or so;

I will not have Good Fortune or God's Blessing

Let in, while I am busy.]

Once upon a time there was an old miser, who lived with his wife near a

great town, and used to put by every bit of money he could lay his hands

on. His wife was a simple woman, and they lived together without

quarrelling, but she was obliged to put up with very hard fare. Now,

sometimes, when there was a sixpence she thought might be spared for a

comfortable dinner or supper, she used to ask the miser for it, but he

would say, "No, wife, it must be put by for Good Fortune." It was the

same with every penny he could get hold of, and notwithstanding all she

could say, almost every coin that came into the house was put by "for

Good Fortune."

The miser said this so often, that some of his neighbours heard him, and

one of them thought of a trick by which he might get the money. So the

first day that the old chuff was away from home, he dressed himself like

a wayfaring man, and knocked at the door. "Who are you?" said the wife.

He answered, "I am Good Fortune, and I am come for the money which your

husband has laid by for me." So this simple woman, not suspecting any

trickery, readily gave it to him, and, when her good man came home, told

him very pleasantly that Good Fortune had called for the money which had

been kept so long for him.