Ther's some born fooils, an' ther's some mak thersen fooils, an'. ther's some get made fooils on. When we hear fowk tell tales abaat sein' boggards, an gettin' ther planets ruled, we think it saands fooilish. Nah an' then one turns up rayther simple, an' a body con hardly help laffin'. It's net long sin' aw heeard tell of a owd woman goin' to th' Pooast Office i' Bolton, an' axin to see th' maister, an, when he coom shoo said shoo wanted to know hah monny stamps it 'ud tak' to send a mangle to Yeaworth. He couldn't tell her, an' shoo went away thinkin' what a fooil he wor net to know his business better nor that, an' he thowt what a fooil shoo wor for ax in sich a question. An' soa it is; - we're apt to think iverybody fooils but ussen, an' them 'at belangs to us. Yo doant oft find a mother or fayther 'at thinks ther lad's a fooil (unless he gets wed, an then they allus say soa.) Iverybody's'child is th' grandest an' th' cliverest i'th world. But aw couldn't help laffin' one day when I heeard a chap braggin' abaat his lad. "Aa," he said, "he's cliverest lad of his age aw iver met; he's nobbut thirteen year owd an' he con do owt." Just as he wor sayin' soa th' lad coom into th' raam, aitin' a raw turnip, an' his fayther thowt he'd show him off a bit, soa he said, "Jack a want thee to go an' messur th' length o' that piece o' timber 'at's i'th yard, an come tell me." Soa he gave him his two-fooit rule, an' th' lad went. Aw thowt he wor a long time abaat it, but in a bit he coom back. "Well Jack," said his fayther, "ha long is it? spaik up, that's a fine lad." "Why," he says, "it's th' length o' yo'r rule, an' my pocket comb, an' this piece o' band." "That's reight," said his fayther, "tha con goa hoam," put aw nooaticed 'at be did'nt brag abaat him quite so mitch at after.
If a chap doesn't want to be thowt a fooil he should niver start o' showin' off befoor fowk till he knows what he's abaat, an' ther's noan on us knows iverything. Aw remember once go in' to th' sale ov a horse, an' th' auctioneer knew varry little abaat cattle, an' he began praisin' it up as he thowt. "Gentlemen," he said, "will you be kind enough to look at this splendid animal! examine him, gentlemen; look at his head; why, gentlemen, it's as big as a churn! an' talk about points - why, it's all points; you can hang yo'r hat on any part of him!" He'd just getten soa far, when th' chap 'at belang'd th' horse could bide it noa longer, soa be laup'd up an' pooled th' auctioneer daan bith' hair o'th' heead. "Tha may be an auctioneer," he said, "but tha'rt noa ostler." But it isn't long sin' aw wor at a sale o' picturs, i'th' Teetotal Hall at Halifax, an' th' chap 'at wor sellin' put up one lot an' made this speech: - "Ladies and Gentlemen, - The next lot I have the pleasure to offer you are three picturs of 'Joan of Arch' a French lady of distinction, who fought at the Battle of Waterloo against the Duke of Wellington, and was afterwards burnt at the siege of Moscow. How much shall I say for this lot?" Aw walk'd aat when awd heeard that, for aw thowt he might happen be a ostler, but blow me if he wor fit for an auctioneer. But we con forgi' a chap lukkin fooilish sometimes, if he doesn't mak' other fowk luk soa; but when that chap at Saathawarm put bills up to call a meeting o'th' committee to consider what color to whitewash th' schooil, they all felt fooilish. A young chap 'at's just popp'd th' question to a young woman feels rayther fooilish if shoo says "Noa." An' if shoo says "Yes," he may live to think he wor fooilish. A chap feels fooilish when he's been runnin aboon a mile to catch th' train, an' just gets thear i' time to see it move off an' leave him. A chap feels fooilish when he goas to th' chapel when ther's a collection, an' finds he's left th' hawpenny at hooam he thowt o' givin', an's nowt noa less nor hauf a craan. A chap feels fooilish if he's been rakein' aat all th' neet, an' when he gets hooam his wife finds a woman's neet-cap hung to his coit button. A chap luks fooilish when he's tellin' a tale an' forgets hah it finishes. A woman luks fooilish when shoo's lost her hair pins, an' her false bob's hingin' daan her back. An' ther are times when we're all fooilish, an' awm feeard if aw doant stop yo may begin to think me fooilish, soa aw'll drop it.
Fooils (Prose) by John Hartley