April Fooils (Prose)

A poem by John Hartley

Niver try to mak a fooil ov onybody this month; ther's fooils enuff i'th world already. It's oft struck me what a varry slight difference ther is between a wise man and a fooil; one aims at summat an' hits it - tother aims at summat an' misses it; an' aw have known th' time when th' chap 'at's missed has been worth a dozen sich like as him 'at's hit. But th' world generally sets 'em daan to be wise men 'at happen to be lucky men, an' get hold o' lots o' brass. An' ha monny brains a chap has, if he can't spooart a pair o' kid gloves an' a daycent hat, he mun niver hope for owt better nor to tak his place amang th' fooils. Aw've monny a time thowt when aw've heared fowk settin a chap daan as a fooil; - talk prattley - may be if he wor weighed up he's a better man nor yo this minit; yo connot tell all 'at he may have had to struggle wi' -

Circumstances alter cases,
Th' same as nooases alter faces.

An' it's as weel to exercise a bit ov charity towards them 'at's set daan to be fooils. "Young fowk think old fowk fooils, an' old fowk's sure young uns is." An aw believe th' old fowk are oft varry near th' mark, - for th' experience of a life time is little moor nor livin to know what fooils we've been; an' if iver aw meet wi' a chap 'at can't remember iver makkin a fooil ov hissen, aw shall expect to hear tell on' him bein ta'en to th' blue slates directly. Poor Richard says, "Experience is a dear schooil, but fooils will leearn i' noa other;" an' who is ther 'at hasn't had to leearn i' that schooil? Its a hard maister, an' we're apt to think, when we're under him, 'at he's war wi' us nor onybody else; but when we've getten th' lessen off by heart we find th' advantage on it. But ov all th' fooils it has been my luck to meet wi,' them chaps 'at knows all are th' biggest. There's some fowk think they're born wi' all th' wit i'th world, an' noabody can taich 'em owt; whativer yo tell' em, they've allus "known that long enuff sin'," or else they've "just been think in soa." Aw once knew one o' that Sooart - one 'at had allus been thinkin soa. One day some mates o' mine an' me thowt we cud like a marlock wi' him, an soa we gooas up to him an says, "A'a Jooanas! whativer does ta think?" "Nay," he says, "whativer will yo say? What's up?" "Why," aw says, "Jim Hyn's dunkey's swallow'd th' grinelstooan." "Well, if aw hadn't just been thinkin soa," says Jooanas. "Well, but tha thowt wrang, owd boy, this time," aw says, "for it hasn't." "Why," he said, "aw hardly thowt it had." Soa he had us at booath ends. They say it taks a wise man to mak a fooil, but aw think ther's enuff withaat makkin ony moor, an aw niver knew a fooil i' my life at didn't think ivery body else a little bit war cracked nor hissen.

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