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  • Victorian Urban Legend: The Cheese Thief December 25, 2016

    Author: Beach Combing | in : Modern , trackback

    This tale appeared in a good Protestant paper in the six counties. It has a puritan twist and a capitalist ethic.

    The following story is told of Mr. Sheaf, a grocer in Portsmouth, New Hampshire: it appears that a man had purchased some wool of him. which had been weighed and paid for and Mr. Sheaf had gone to the desk to get change for a note. Happening to turn his head while there he saw in the glass which swung so as to reflect the shop, a stout arm reach up and take from the shelf a heavy white oak cheese. Instead, of appearing suddenly and rebuking the man for his theft, as another would, thereby losing his custom forever, the crafty old gentleman gave the thief his change as if nothing had happened, and then, under pretence of lifting the bag to lay it on the horse for him, he took hold of it. He exclaimed— Why, bless me, I must have reckoned the weight wrong’ ‘Oh, no,’ said the other, ‘you may be sure you have not for I counted with you.’ ‘Well, well, we won’t dispute the matter, it is easily tried,’ said Mr. S., putting the bag on the scales again. ‘There,’ he said ‘I knew I was right—made a mistake of nearly twenty pounds; however, if you don’t want the whole yon needn’t have it. l’ll take part of it out.’ ‘No, no’ said the other, staying the hands of Mr. S., on their way to the strings of the bag, ‘I guess I will take the whole’. And this he did, paying for his dishonesty by receiving the skim milk cheese for the price of wool.

    God’s above the devil yet! Other Victorian Urban Legends: drbeachcombing AT yahoo DOT com

    8 Jan 2017 from Bruce T: being the great nephew of the owner of the town store I’ve heard a few variants of that one. The most common one involves a ham or a slab of bacon being stuck in some cloth. Other than that it’s the same basic tale. It was both a morality tale and a warning to the kids in the family who worked there to always keep an eye on the customers. You would be amazed at the trivial things people steal just for the Hell of it.