Thursday, February 08, 2007

"The Boy Who Wouldn't Hoe Corn"

Tell you a little story and it won't take long,
'Bout a lazy farmer who wouldn't hoe his corn.
The reason why I never could tell,
That young man was always well.

He planted his corn in the month of June.
By July it was up to his eyes.
Come September, came a big frost.
And all the young man's corn was lost.

His courtship had just begun.
Said: "Young man, have you hoed some corn?"
"Well I tried and I tried, and I tried in vain.
"But I don't believe I raised one grain."

He went down town to his neighbour's door.
Where he had often been before.
Sayin': "Pretty little miss, will you marry me?"
"Little miss what do you say?"

"Why do you come for me to wed?
"You, can't even make your own corn grain.
"Single I am, and will remain.
"A lazy man, I won't maintain."

He turned his back and walked away.
Saying: "Little miss, you'll rue the day.
"You'll rue the day that you were born.
"For givin' me the devil 'cos I wouldn't hoe corn."

Lyrics as performed by Alison Krauss and Union Station.

Thanks to my daddy’s generosity on my birthday, I can listen to this album
whenever I like!

Ever since I heard this song last year, it has been one of my favorites. It’s a simple story that effectively demonstrates the evils of slothfulness and the necessity of prudent planning for the future.

The farmer boy’s excuses sound familiar, don’t they? He tried and he tried, but circumstances were against him. He had a run of “bad luck.” Well, I don’t know much about farming, but I don’t think it’s standard practice to wait til June to plant a crop! Here in Kansas, the wheat is planted in the fall/winter and it’s the harvesting that’s done in June. No wonder he lost his crop: there wasn’t time for it to mature!

There might have been hope for the man if he’d taken his lesson seriously. But instead, he again got in a hurry and with a cocky and self-assured attitude headed over to propose marriage to the “girl next-door”. The errand was doomed from the start. I’m reminded of the Biblical injunction to “Prepare thy work without, and make it fit for thyself in the field; and afterwards build thine house.” (Proverbs 24:27)

Here’s my favorite line: “Single I am and will remain: a lazy man I won’t maintain.”
How’s that for plain speaking?

I admire the courage of that young woman. She wisely recognized in the young man’s laziness the seeds of a deeper problem. Prudently, she saw bigger dangers ahead and took steps to avoid them. (Proverbs 22:3)

The final verse of the song is a sad revelation of the true character of the man who at one time must have held some attraction for the farm girl. He lacked the foundational qualities necessary to any successful relationship: selfless charity and humility. Unwilling to admit his error, he instead lashed out in bitterness towards the one whose advice he should have cherished.

Funny how many things one little song can teach, if you think about it!

I could go off on a dozen different tangents of thought inspired by this song, but the folks at the Highlands Study Center have already done it. If you want to read some interesting and convicting articles all related to the subject of work, go here.

My favorite article, exhorting young women in godliness, is here.
(Note that the title should be “Ladies in Waiting”… not “House of Mourning”. Who knows how that happened!)

Does anyone else have a favorite song that tells a thought provoking story? I'd love to hear about it!