SIMPLE SIMON'S MISFORTUNES
WIFE MARGERY'S CRUELTY
The very next Morning after their Marriage.
An Account of Simon's Wedding, and his Wife's
Behaviour the Day after their Marriage.
Simon, the subject of our ensuing discourse, was a man
very unfortunate many years after marriage, not only by
crosses, but by the cruelty of Margery his severe wife—his
wedding day being the best he saw in seven years after,
for then he had all his friends about him. Rough Ralph
the Fiddler and Will the Piper were appointed to make him
and his guests merry.
Singing, dancing, and good feasting attended the day,
which being ended, this loving couple went to bed, where
their friends all left them.
But the morning was ushered in with a mighty storm,
only because Simon put on his roast-meat clothes.
Thus she began the matter—"Why, how now, pray, and
what is to-day, that you must put on your holiday clothes,
with a pye-crust to you? What do you intend to do, say
you, tell me quickly."
"Nothing," said Simon, "but to walk abroad with you,
sweet wife, as it is common on the day after marriage."
"No, no," said Margery, "this must not, nor shall not be.
It is very well known that I have brought you a very considerable
fortune—forty shillings in money, and a good
milch cow, four fat wethers, with half a dozen ewes and
lambs; likewise, geese, hens, and turkeys; also a sow and
pigs, with other moveables, worth more than any of your
crook-back generation is able to give you. And do you
think you shall lead as lewd a life now as you did before
you married; but if you do, then say my name is not
Margery. Now I've got you in the bands of matrimony I
will make you know what it is to be married; therefore, to
work you rascal, and take care that what I brought is not
consumed; for, if you do not, what will become of your wife
Now, Simon looked liked one that had neither sense nor
reason, but stood amazed, as if there had been a whole army
of Billingsgate shrews. However, recollecting what he had
heard about scolds, he muttered to himself, "Udswagers, I
think I have got a woeful one now."
"What is that you say, sirrah?" said she.
"Nothing, dear wife, but what you say I allow to be true."
And so, taking his bag and bottle, he went forward to his
daily labour: but, coming towards the lower end of the
town, he chanced to meet old Jobson, a cobbler, a merry
blade, who loved a cup of good ale.
"What! honest Simon," said Jobson, "I am glad to see
you, for since our last meeting I hear you are married, and
now I wish thee much happiness."
Now, old Jobson, being a merry fellow, invited Simon to
take a flaggon of the best liquor that the next ale-house
would afford, and there to drink to Margery's health.
Being merry in discourse, talking of the tricks and pranks
they had played when bachelors.
Jobson, taking up the flaggon in his hand, said, "Come,
here's to thee, honest Simon, and I wish thee better luck
than Randal, thy old father-in-law, had with his wife; for
she was such a scold that happy were they who lived out
of the clamour of her noise. But without doubt thy dear
wife may be of a milder spirit, and have more of her father's
meekness than her mother's fury in her; but come, Simon,
here's to thee and to thy dearly-beloved Margery."
Cries Simon, "If she was present how merry we should
be; but, I fear, on the wrong side of the mouth."
"Well," said Jobson, "I vow I long to see her; and I
verily believe she would be as glad to see me. I dare to
say she will prove a very good wife."
"Truly, neighbour Jobson, I don't know; but if I have
no better ending than beginning, I wish I had ended my
life at the plough tail."
No sooner were these words out of his mouth but in
comes Margery, with her gossips, whom Simon wished to
see, forsooth. He wished her much joy, but Margery, in a
woeful fury, snatched up Jobson's oaken staff from off the
table, and gave poor Simon such a clank upon the noddle
which made the blood spin out, saying, "Is this your work,
sirrah?" Jobson, seeing so sudden an alteration, was
affrighted, not knowing how to escape.
She then turned about to the left, saying, "Thou rogue
and rascal, it is you that ruins all the good women's husbands
in the town; therefore you shall not go unrewarded," giving
him such strokes over his back and shoulders as caused
poor Jobson to lay in bed almost a fortnight.
Simple Simon all this while not having any power to run
away, but stood like one half frighted out of his wits, and
trembling before his bride, with his hat in one hand and
the flaggon in the other, begging her that she would be
patient, and he would never offend her any more.
But she gave him a frown, and bid him begone about his
business, which he immediately did. So then Margery and
her friendly gossips had the whole apartment to themselves,
where they sat till they were all as drunk as fish-women.
She drags him up into the Chimney, and hangs him
At night, when he returned to his own home, Margery, by
the help of a nap she had taken, was a little restored to her
senses again; but yet, not forgetting the fault he had committed,
she invented a new kind of punishment; for, having
a wide chimney, wherein they used to dry bacon, she, taking
him at a disadvantage, tied him hand and foot, bound him
in a basket, and, by the help of a rope, drew him up to the
beam in the chimney, and left him there to take his lodging
the second night after his wedding, with a small, smoky fire
under him, so that in the morning he almost reezed like to
a red-herring. But in length of time he prevailed with his
wife to show him so much pity as to let him down again.
"In love release me from this horrid smoke,
And I will never more my wife provoke;
She then did yield to let him down from thence,
And said, 'Be careful of the next offence.'"
Simon loses a Sack of Corn that he was carrying
to the Mill to have ground.
Not long after she sent him to the mill with a sack of
corn, and bade him remember what she said to him, or else
he should not go unpunished.
"Well," said Simon, "I hope I shall never offend thee
For this promise she gave him a mess of milk, and when
he had eaten all up he took the sack of corn upon his back,
and went towards the mill, which stood about two miles
from the house.
When Simon was got about half way he began to be
weary, which was the forerunner of a great misfortune, for
a man riding by, leading an empty horse towards the mill,
perceived Simon weary of his load, told him he might lay
it upon his spare horse, to which Simon willingly consented.
The man riding on, Simon could not pace with him, so
desired him to leave it for him at the mill. He promised
he would, but never intended to perform his promise.
Simon, thus loosing his sack of corn, knew not how to go
home, or show his face before his wife, until he got two or
three of his neighbours to go with him to beg for his pardon,
and to help to make up the difference between them, which
they did after a long parley. So that for this crime he
Simon goes to the Market with his Basket of Eggs, breaks
them all by the Way, and is set in the Stocks.
But, although he was not punished according to the severe
correction he had formerly received, yet he did not escape
the continual railings in his ears for several days after, ever
and anon she crying out, "You sot, will you never be
"Yes, sweet Margery, dear Margery, I hope I shall some
"Well," says she, "I'll now try you once more. Here,
take this basket of eggs, and go to the market and sell them,
but be sure don't break them nor spend the money, for if
you do, sorrow will be your sops, and you may expect to
feel the weight of my hands more than ever you have done
At which harsh words he trembled much, and looked as
white as his dear Margery's shift, for fear that he should
miscarry with his basket of eggs, for he well knew that his
wife would be sure to be as good as her promise.
Then Simon, taking his basket of eggs, trudged away to
the market, but was no sooner come there than, seeing a vast
crowd of people, he was resolved to see what was the matter.
When he came to the place he found that two butter-women
had fallen out, and to that degree that they had
taken one another by the que of their hair, and their fillets
all flying about their ears; which Simon seeing he was
moved with compassion, and ran to part them, but in vain;
poor Simon was still unfortunate, and came off with a great
loss, for one of the women pushed him down and broke
Poor Simon was now almost distracted to see the ground,
but whether it was the fear of the anger of his wife, or
whether it was courage, thus it was, Simon ran in amongst
them, and resolved to be revenged on them for the loss of
Whilst they were in the fray the constable came, and,
supposing them drunk, gave orders that they should all be
set in the stocks together—Simon in the middle, and the
women on each side—which was accordingly done; but they
rang such a peal in Simon's ears that he was deaf for a
Being released, he ventured home again, dreading the
impending storm; but this was his comfort in the midst of
all his hard fortune, that, though he might feel the force of
her blows, still he would be deaf to her noise, being stunned
by the women in the stocks.
Simon's Wife Cudgels him severely
for losing his Money.
At length Simon coming home he met with his beloved
wife Margery, who, seeing his dejected countenance, she
began to mistrust something, and so, taking hold of his arm,
she hauled him in for examination.
When Simon saw this he could not forbear weeping, and
began to tell her a dismal story concerning the stocks; but
she wanted the money for the eggs; but Simon, being deaf,
could not hear her, which made her fall on him with such
fury that he was obliged to run up stairs and jump out of
the chamber window, which, when she saw, she followed
him down the town, with a hundred boys and girls after
them, Simon still crying out to the people, "You may see
what it is to be married."
And her tone was, "You rascal; the money for my eggs,"
often giving him a crack on the crown.
At length it was his good hap to get away from her.
Night drawing on, and Simon not having one penny to help
himself, was forced to make the best of a bad bargain,
resolved for to lodge that night in a hog-stye amongst the
And so the next morning, in the presence of some of his
dearest friends, he begged pardon on his knees of his sweet,
kind, and loving wife, Margery.
Simon loses his Wife's Pail, and at the same time burns
out the Bottom of her Kettle.
Margery, being reconciled again on his humble petition,
she charged him to be careful for the future that he did not
offend her as he had done before, which he promised to
observe. "Then, Simon," said she, "I am this day to go to
a gossiping, and shall leave you at home to make a fire
and hang on the kettle."
"Yes, sweet wife."
Now, Margery was no sooner gone but he made a fire and
hung on the kettle. Then, taking the pail, he goes to the
well to fetch some water, when there came an ox running
down, and a butcher and his boy close after him, who called
out to Simon to stop the ox, which he endeavoured to do,
but the ox, giving them the slip, Simon ran in pursuit of
him for the space of three or four miles, and, having secured
him, the butcher gave him many thanks for his kindness.
So Simon returned back to the well, but his pail was lost,
and he made sad lamentation for it, inquiring about it, but
could not hear nothing of it; and as the old proverb says,
"One sorrow never comes alone," for on going in doors the
fire was flaming, and the bottom of the kettle was quite
At the sight of this he fell to wringing his hands and
crying out with a lamentable tone; "None was so unfortunate
as poor Simon. What shall I say to my wife when
she comes? First, I have lost my pail; and, second, I have
let the bottom of the kettle be burnt out. Here will be a
sad reckoning for these misfortunes."
Just in the middle of these lamentations in comes Margery,
who, having heard him, came armed and fitted for the
"How now, sirrah," said she, "has this been the care you
promised of my business?" and with that let fly an earthen
pot at his head, which caused the blood to run about his
This done, she took him by the collar, and cuft him about
the kitchen at a most terrible rate, Simon crying for mercy,
but cruel Margery still increased his misery, till the neighbours
came, persuading Margery to be satisfied, "for," said
they, "it was but a mischance."
"A rascal," said she, "for I can set him about nothing,
but thus he serves me."
They still interceded for Simon, until at length she
Simon's Wife sends him to buy Soap, but, going over a
Bridge, he lets his Money fall into the River;
and of a Ragman's running away with his Clothes.
Margery, calling Simon to her, said, "Will you never be
careful in anything I set you about?"
"Yes, dear wife, I hope I shall."
"Why, then," said she, "take this money. I have tied
it in a clout, that you may not lose it. Therefore, go you
to the market, and make all the haste you can, and get me
"I will, sweet wife," quoth he, and with that he went as
fast as he could.
Now, on his way he was to pass over a bridge, and,
coming to the middle of it, a flight of crows flew over his
head, which so frightened him that he let fall his money.
This was the beginning of a new sorrow. He stood
awhile, and knew not what course to take. At length he
resolved to pull off his clothes and jump into the water
and search for it. Now, as he was searching for his money,
an old ragman came by, and put his clothes into a bag.
Simon, seeing this, pursued him, but in vain, and was
forced to return home naked, which his wife seeing fell in
a most horrible sweat, and, taking the dog-whip, she so
jerked poor Simon about, making him to dance the canaries
for two hours, till he cried out, "Good wife, forbear!" but
she cried out, "You rascal! where is my money, and your
clothes?" Thus she continued until she was tired, and he
heartily begged her pardon.