A Dutch Tale - The Farm That Ran Away and Came Back Again

  • THE FARM THAT RAN AWAY AND CAME BACK

  • Narrator

    There was once a Dutchman, who lived in the province called Drenthe.

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  • Because there was a row of little trees on his farm, his name was Ryer Van Boompjes; that is, Ryer of the Little Trees.

  • After a while, he moved to the shore of the Zuyder Zee and into Overijssel.

  • Narrator

    Overijssel means over the Ijssel River.

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  • There he bought a new farm, near the village of Blokzyl.

  • By dyking and pumping, certain wise men had changed ten acres, of sand and heath, into pasture and land for plowing.

  • Narrator

    They surrounded it on three sides with canals.

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  • The fourth side fronted on the Zuyder Zee.

  • Then they advertised, in glowing language, the merits of the new land and Ryer Van Boompjes bought it and paid for his real estate.

  • Narrator

    He was as proud as a popinjay of his island and he ruled over it like a Czar or a Kaiser.

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  • A few years before, Ryer had married a โ€œqueezel,โ€ as the Dutch call either a nun, or a maid who is no longer young.

  • At this date, when our story begins, he had four blooming, but old-fashioned children, with good appetites.

  • Narrator

    They could eat cabbage and potatoes, rye bread and cheese, by the half peck, and drink buttermilk by the quart.

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  • In addition, Ryer owned four horses, six cows, two dogs, some roosters and hens, a flock of geese, two dozen ducks, and a donkey.

  • Yet although Ryer was rich, as wealth is reckoned in Drenthe, whence he had come, he was greedy for more.

  • Narrator

    He skimped the food of his animals.

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  • So much did he do this, that his neighbors declared that they had seen him put green spectacles on his cows and the donkey.

  • Then he mixed straws and shavings with the hay to make the animals think they were eating fresh grass.

  • Narrator

    When he ploughed, he drove his horses close to the edge next to the water, so as to make use of every half inch of land.

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