MADAM NOY AND OLD JOAN.
THEY say that, a long time since, there lived an old witch down by Alsia Mill, called Joan. Everybody feared to offend the old woman, and gave her everything she looked for, except Madam Noy, who lived in Pendrea.
Madam Noy had some beautiful hens of a new sort, with "cops" on their heads.
One morning early, Joan comes up to Pendrea, so as to catch Madam Noy going out into the farmyard, with her basket of corn to feed her poultry, and to collect the eggs.
Joan comes up nodding and curtsying every step. "Good morrow to your honour; how well you are looking, Madam Noy ! and, oh, what beautiful hens ! I 've got an old hen that I do want to set; will you sell me a dozen of eggs ? Those with the 'cops' I'd like to have best."
Madam turned round half offended, and said, "I have none to sell, neither with the cops nor yet without the cops, whilst I have so many old clucking hens about, and hardly an egg to be found."
"You surely wouldn't send me home empty as I came, madam dear ?"
"You may go home the same way you came, for you aren't wanted here."
"Now," croaked Joan, hoarse with passion, "as true as I tell you so, if you don't sell me some eggs, you will wish your cakes dough."
As the old witch said this, she perched herself on the stile, shaking her finger and "nodling" her head.
Madam Noy was a bit of a virago herself so she took up a stone and flung it at Joan; it hit her in the face, and made her jaws rattle.
As soon as she recovered, she spinned forth
"Madam Noy, you ugly old bitch,
You shall have the gout, the palsy, and itch;
All the eggs your hens lay henceforth shall be addle;
All your hens have the pip, and die with the straddle;
And ere I with the mighty fine madam have done,Of her favourite 'coppice' she shan't possess one."
From that day forward, madam was always afflicted. The doctor from Penzance could do little for her. The fowls' eggs were always bad; the hens died, and madam lost all her "coppies." This is the way it came about--in the place of cops the brains came out--and all by the spells of old Joan.
This forms the subject of one of the old Cornish drolls, which ran in an irregular jingle, such as the above, and was half sung, half said by the droll-teller.