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The Crafty Farmer

No: 283; variant: 283A

  1. 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.
  2. As he was riding along, Along all on the highway, A gentleman-thief overtook him, And thus to him did say.
  3. 'Well overtaken!' said the thief, 'Well overtaken!' said he; And 'Well overtaken!' said the old man, 'If thou be good company.'
  4. '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.
  5. '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.
  6. '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.'
  7. '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.'
  8. '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.'
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. '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.'
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. '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.'
  17. He opend this rogue's portmantle, It was glorious to behold; There were three hundred pounds in silver, And three hundred pounds in gold.
  18. 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?
  19. 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.
  20. 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.