THE HENCOTE
by
Bill Froggatt
Tha'll 'ave 'eard of owd Ephraim Copley;
'e once were a winder in t'mill,
An' in 'is spare time 'e kept poultry,
'e'd a grand place up on th'ill.

Now, one day t'town council surveyor
Looked round for a suitable site
For t'put up some new council 'ouses;
Owd Ephraim's pen were just right.

The town clerk sent 'im 'is notice,
An' on it, politely, were writ
'As th'owner o' t'poultry, etcetera,
You're 'ereby requested to flit.'

Ephraim thowt it were no use a'skrikin',
So 'e starts an' 'as a look round,
An' about three hunderd yards up Cow Lane
Ee! a beltin' plot 'e found.

Now 'is problem were shiftin' t'big hencote;
Well, 'e'd built it to last mony years,
So 'e goes down to th'ale-shop that evenin'
An' axed fer a few volunteers.

'E paid fer a pint or two, gladly,
An' promised fer others to pay;
So six burly fellas come forrard
An' said as they'd shift it next day.

Well, t'day, it were th'ottest that summer,
An' t'cote, it were 'eavy as lead;
An' they huffed, an' they tugged, an' they panted,
An' some strange-soundin' adjectives said!

But Britons will never surrender,
So they kep' goin' while nearly there;
Then they put it down fer a minute,
Just t'ave a blow, as it were.

'Is Ephraim be'ind?' cried t'front 'un,
''e's not 'ere,' said 'im at t'back;
'Ner this side - ner this,' shouted t'others,
''e's not 'ere - is 'e 'eck!'

'Well, that's a nice thing!' said Willie 'igginbottom,
'Ah dunna ca' that gradely fair,
Us pullin' an' draggin' like bloody 'osses,
An' th'owner's not doin' 'is share.'

Then Ephraim's voice come fra' somewhere,
'Keep peggin' away, lads,' 'e cried,
'An' don't thee accuse me o' dodgin'
Fer ah'm carryin' t'perches inside!'

The end