One Solution

A humourous Countryman having bought a Barn in Partnership with a Neighbour of his, neglected to make the least Use of it, whilst the other had plentifully stored his Part with Corn and Hay. In a little Time the latter came to him, and conscientiously expostulated with him about laying out his Money so fruitlessly. Pray Neighbour, says he, ne’er trouble your Head; you may do what you will with your Part of the Barn, but I will set mine on Fire.

The Jester’s Magazine, September 1766

The Author’s Tale

‘Twas potter, and the little brown
Did simon and schuster in the shaw;
All mosby were the ballantines,
And the womraths mcgraw.

“Beware Jovanovich, my son!
The knopfs that crown, the platts that munk!
Beware the doubleday, and shun
The grolier wagnallfunk!”

He took his putnam sword in hand,
Long time the harcourt brace he sought;
So rested he by the crowell tree
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in harper thought he stood,
Jovanovich, with eyes of flame,
Came houghton mifflin through the wood
And bowkered as it came!

Dodd mead! Dodd mead! And from his steed
His dutton sword went kennicatt!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went quadrangling back.

“And hast thou slain Jovanovich?
Come to my arms, my bantam boy!
Oh, stein and day! Giroux! McKay!”
He scribnered in his joy.

‘Twas potter, and the little brown
Did simon and schuster in the shaw;
All mosby were the ballantines,
And the womraths mcgraw.

— Anonymous

“The Laird of Balnamoon and the Brock”

The laird, so Dean Ramsay had the story sent him, once riding past a high steep bank, stopped opposite a hole in it, and said, ‘John, I saw a brock [badger] gang in there.’ — ‘Did ye?’ said John; ‘wull ye haud my horse, sir?’ — ‘Certainly,’ said the laird, and away rushed John for a spade. After digging for half an hour, he came back, nigh speechless to the laird, who had regarded him musingly. ‘I canna find him, sir,’ said John. — ”Deed,’ said the laird, very coolly, ‘I wad ha’ wondered if ye had, for it’s ten years sin’ I saw him gang in there.’

— Adam White, Heads and Tales; or, Anecdotes and Stories of Quadrupeds and Other Beasts, 1870


A Country Farmer, riding to a merry Meeting on an easy Horse, drank very plentifully ’till Night came on, and his Senses fled. One of the Company resolved to pass a Joke upon him, by perswading the rest to mount him on his Horse, with his Face to the Tail, and turn the Horse loose, who knew very well the Way Home. So up they mounted him, and away went the Horse a Foot-pace, ’till the Farmer fell fast asleep. In an Hour’s Time the Horse was at Home, and presently fell a neighing. His Wife came with a Candle in her Hand and, seeing her Husband in that Condition, began to take on bitterly, and waking him, told him the Greatness of his Sin, &c. Upon which he rubs his Eyes; and, looking about, cries out in a great Passion, Puh! hold your Tongue, Woman: Nothing vexes me so much, as that the plaguy Rogues should cut my Horse’s Head off.

The Jester’s Magazine, April 1766

Palace Life

When Scogin was banished out of France, he filled his shooes full of French earth, and came into England, and went into the king’s court, and as soone as he came to the court, the king said to him: I did charge thee that thou shouldest never tread upon my ground of England. It is true, said Scogin, and no more I doe. What! traytor, said the king, whose ground is that thou standest on now? Scogin said: I stand upon the French king’s ground, and that you shall see; and first he put off the one shooe, and it was full of earth. Then said Scogin: this earth I brought out of France. Then said the king: I charge thee never to looke me more in the face.

Scoggin’s Jests, 1626


A moving Sermon being preached in a Country Church, all fell a weeping but one Man, who being ask’d, Why he did not weep with the rest? Oh! said he, I belong to another parish.

The Jester’s Magazine, November 1766

A Sidelong Glance

“Kilt Curiosity,” caricature, continental Europe, circa 1815.

Spike Milligan was wearing traditional Scottish garb when a curious onlooker asked, “So, is there anything worn under the kilt?”

“No,” he answered, “it’s all in perfect working order.”


A lady, some time back, on a visit to the British Museum, asked the person in attendance if they had a skull of Oliver Cromwell? Being answered in the negative, ‘Dear me,’ said she, ‘that’s very strange; they have one at Oxford.’

— T. Wallis, The Nic-Nac; or, Oracle of Knowledge, 1823