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the prankster, the hedgehog and Mr. Green

The prankster, the hedgehog and Mr. Green

Life was once simple, unsophisticated and often hard, with country folk always keen to find new ways to pass what idle moments they had. Nothing if not inventive, they were even able to make use of everyday items from the world of work that surrounded them. One such piece of equipment was the trial rod. This was used to attract samples of clay from the kiln at fixed times during the salt glazing process to check its progress. Long, flexible and made of steel, and with a hook at one end, it clearly held promise for mischievous minds! The old village of Bardon Mill consisted of a single storey, heather thatched cottages, their chimney stacks a tempting target for a practical joker like Big John. Using his considerable height and the lengthy trial rod, he found that he could easily reach the chimney pots of most houses in the village. At a loose end one night Big John and hid his brother Isaac found a handy hedgehog. Attaching it to the hook on the end of the trial rod they carefully dropped the poor beast down Mr. Green's chimney. It's not difficult to picture the scene inside. Soot, smoke, shocked screams and a thoroughly disorientated hedgehog disturbing a quiet night by the fireside. Oddly, Mr Green didn't get the joke. Hearing loud laughter outside he burst through the front door and let fly with a barrel load of birdshot in the general direction of the hilarity. Big John and Isaac took to their heels, their escape hindered by the long steel rod catching the ground as they fled. Finally finding refuge behind the Mill wall, their evening's excitement ended with Big John picking lead shot from behind his brothers ear with a penknife. There is no record of the fate of the hedgehog.