The Folklore Food Blog: Buttermilk Jack

Ther wur an owld ‘oman as had but one son,
And thay lived together as you med zee;
And they’d nought but an owld hen as wanted to sett,
Yet somehow a landlord he fain would be.
Oh, I’ve been and begged me some buttermilk, mother,
Off of an owld ‘oman as has girt store;
And I shall well rewarded be,
Vor she’s g’in me haf a gallon or mwore.
Oh mother, my buttermilk I will sell,
And all for a penny as you med zee;
And with my penny then I will buy eggs,
Vor I shall have seven for my penney.

Oh mother, I’ll set them all under our hen,
And seven cock chickens might chance for to be;
But seven cock chickens or seven cap hens,
There’ll be seven half-crownds for me.

Oh, I’ll go carry them to market, mother,
And nothing but vine volk shall I zee;

And with my money then I will buy land, Zo as a landlord I med be.

“Oh my dear zon, wilt thee know me,
When thee hast gotten great store of wealth?”
“Oh, my dear mother, how shall I know thee,
When I shall hardly know my own self?”

With that the owld ‘oman she flew in a passion,
And dashed her son Jack up agin the wall,
And his head caught the shelf where the buttermilk stood,
So down came the buttermilk, pitcher and all.
Zo aal you as has got an old hen for to sett,
Both by night and by day mind you has her well watched,
Lest you should be like unto Buttermilk Jack,
To reckon your chickens before thay are hatched.

Source: Thomas Hughes The Scouring of the White Horse; or, The Long Vacation Ramble of a London Clerk (Cambridge and London: Macmillan and Company, 1859)

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