OLD MADGE FIGGEY AND THE PIG.
MADGE FIGGEY once lived in St Leven, but she removed to Burian Church-town. She had a neighbour, Tom Trenoweth, who had a very fine sow, and the old creature took it into her head to desire this sow. The pig was worth a pound of any man's money, but Madge offered Tom five shillings for it.
"No," says Tom, "I shan't sell the sow to you, nor to anybody else. I am going to put her in the house, and feed her for myself against winter."
"Well," said old Madge, nodding her head, and shaking her finger at Tom, "you will wish you had."
From that time the sow ceased to "goody" (thrive). The more corn the sow ate, the leaner she became. Old Madge came again, "Will ye sell her now, Tom?"
"No ! and be--to you," said Tom.
"Arreah, Tom ! you will wish you had, before another week is ended, I can tell ye."
By next week the sow was gone to skin and bone, yet eating all the time meat enough for three.
At last Tom took the sow out of the house, and prepared to drive her to Penzance market, and sell her for what she would fetch.
The rope was put round her leg, but more for fashion's sake than anything else. The poor pig could scarcely stand on her legs, consequently there was little chance of her running away. Well, Tom and his pig were no sooner on the highroad than the sow set off like a greyhound, and never stopped, racing over hedges and ditches, until she reached Leah Lanes. Tom kept hold of the rope till his arm was almost dragged from his body, and he was fairly "out of breath." He dropped the rope, piggy went on "as quiet as a lamb," but only the way which pleased her best. At last Tom and the sow arrived at Tregenebris Downs. At the corner of the roads, where they divide,--one going to Sancreed, and the other to Penzance,--Tom again laid hold of the rope, and said to himself " I 'll surely get thee to Penzance yet."
The moment they came to the market-road, the sow made a bolt, jerked the rope out of Tom's hand, and ran off at full speed, never stopping until she got in under Tregenebris Bridge. Now that bridge is more 'like a long drain--locally a bolt--than anything else, and is smallest in the middle; so when the sow got half way in, she stuck fast; she couldn't go forward--she wouldn't come back. Tom fired all the stones he could find-- first at the pig's head, and then at her tail--and all he got for his pains was a grunt. There he stopped, watching the sow till near sunset; he had eaten nothing since five in the morning, and was starving. He saw no chance of getting the sow out, so he swore at her, and prepared to go home, when who should come by but old Madge Figgey, with her stick in one hand and basket in the other.
"Why, Tom, is that you ? What in the world are ye doing here at this time 'o' day ?"
"Well," says Tom, " I 'm cussed if I can tell; look under the bridge, if you 're a mind to know."
"Why, I hear the sow grunting, I declare. What will ye sell her for now ?"
"If you can get her out, take her," says Tom; "but hast anything to eat in your basket ?"
Madge gave him a twopenny loaf.
"Thank ye," says Tom. "Now the devil take the both of ye !"
"Cheat ! cheat ! cheat !" says Madge. Out came the sow, and followed her home like a dog.