Once on a time there was a rich squire who owned a large farm, and had plenty of silver at the bottom of his chest and money in the bank besides; but he felt there was something wanting, for he was a widower.
One day the daughter of a neighbouring farmer was working for him in the hayfield. The squire saw her and liked her very much, and as she was the child of poor parents he thought if he only hinted that he wanted her she would be ready to marry him at once.
So he told her he had been thinking of getting married again.
In her opinion the old fellow ought to be thinking of something that behoved him better than getting married.
“No, thank you all the same,” said she, “that’s not at all likely.”
The squire was not accustomed to be gainsaid, and the more she refused him the more determined he was to get her.
But as he made no progress in her favour he sent for her father and told him that if he could arrange the matter with his daughter he would forgive him the money he had lent him, and he would also give him the piece of land that lay close to his meadow into the bargain.
“Yes, you may be sure I’ll bring my daughter to her senses,” said the father. “She is only a child, and she doesn’t know what’s best for her.” But all his coaxing and talking did not help matters. She would not have the squire, she said, if he sat buried in gold up to his ears.
The squire waited day after day, but at last he became so angry and impatient that he told the father, if he expected him to stand by his promise, he would have to put his foot down and settle the matter now, for he would not wait any longer.
The man knew no other way out of it but to let the squire get everything ready for the wedding; and when the parson and the wedding guests had arrived the squire should send for the girl as if she were wanted for some work on the farm. When she arrived she would have to be married right away, so that she would have no time to think it over.
The squire thought this was Well and good, and so he began brewing and baking and getting ready for the wedding in grand style. When the guests had arrived the squire called one of his farm lads and told him to run down to his neighbour and ask him to send him what he had promised.
“But if you are not back in a twinkling,” he said, shaking his fist at him, “I’ll -“
He did not say more, for the lad ran off as if he had been shot at.
“Ah, ha!” thought she. “Is that what they are up to?”
“Have you got her with you?” asked the squire.
“She is down at the door,” said the lad.
When the lad saw his master’s face he knew it would be no use to gainsay him. So he went and got all the farm tenants who were there to help him. Some pulled at the head and the forelegs of the mare and others pushed from behind, and at last they got her up the stairs and into the room. There lay all the wedding finery ready.
“None of your talk!” said the squire. “Tell them they must dress her and mind and not forget either wreath or crown.
The lad ran into the kitchen.
“Very Well, bring her down!” said the squire. “I will receive her myself at the door,” he said.
There was a terrible clatter on the stairs; for that bride, you know, had no silken shoes on. And when the door was opened and the squire’s bride entered the parlour you can imagine there was a good deal of grinning.
As for the squire you may be sure he had had enough of that bride. And they say he never went courting again.