The Village Idiot

This is a story my grandfather used to tell about his father, William, in Lincolnshire.

William had a small plot of land adjacent to his cottage which needed digging. It was to be quite a task to dig it by hand but he enlisted the help of a young man in the village. This young man was strong and a good worker but of somewhat limited intelligence. In the less politically correct atmosphere of the beginning of the 20th century he was a candidate for the title “village idiot”.

So a deal was struck and for a modest financial reward the young man agreed to turn over the soil of the entire plot. Starting work early the task progressed steadily all day until early evening when the last piece was dug and the young man presented himself for payment. Full of mock apologies, William explained to the young man that he didn't actually have the money to pay him and that he would have to wait for his reward. The young man, however, was unhappy with this situation and determined not to be taken advantage of. Standing firm he angrily declared that unless he was paid the full amount that very day, he would return on the morrow and “dig bugger back!”

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