Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales

Notes, types and motifs

Notes for the story 'The Farmer Who Does His Wife's Housework'

Lewis T. Evans heard the story from one of the men in the forestry, when he was working with the Forestry Commission (Clocaenog), between 1930 and 1945. His fellow worker said he had heard it when he was quite young. According to the second recording, the tale was told by Thomas Jones, Bryn Du, Cefn Brith: farmer, poet and antiquary.

A fuller version of this tale is published by T Gwynn Jones, 'The Cow on the Roof (as told by a Denbighshire Teamsman)', Welsh Folklore and Folk-Custom, London, 1930, pp.229-31. Siôn Dafydd is the farmer's name in this version. For another version, from Llanddulas, Denb., see tape MWL 4075. For versions from England, see Briggs, vol. A2, pp. 208-10 (two versions told in verse form); pp. 269-70 ('Simple John and his Twelve Misfortunes'); and pp. 270-1 (Simple Simon's Misfortunes'). For versions from North America, see Baughman, p.28.


Types

AT 1210The Cow is Taken to the Roof to Graze.
AT 1408The Man who Does his Wife's Work. Does everything wrong. Lets the cow graze on the roof. Ties the rope's end to his foot.
AT 1681BFool as Custodian of Home and Animals.

Motifs

J 1904.1Cow (hog) taken to roof to graze.
J 2132.2Numskull ties the rope to his leg as the cow grazes on the roof. The cow falls off and the man is pulled up the chimney.
J 2431A man undertakes to do his wife's work. All goes wrong.


  • National Museum Cardiff

    [image: National Museum Cardiff]

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    [image: St Fagans]

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    [image: Big Pit]

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    [image: National Wool Museum]

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    [image: National Roman Legion Museum]

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    [image: National Slate Museum]

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    [image: National Waterfront Museum]

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.