How the Shoomakers stole away Saint Hughs bones, and made them working tools thereof, and the vertue that they found in the same: whereby it came, that when any man saw a Shoomaker trauelling with a pack at his back, they would presently say: There goes Saint Hughs bones.
Vpon a time it chanced, that a company of Iourneymen Shoomakers passed along by the place where Saint Hughs dead body was hanging, and finding the flesh pickt deane off from the bones, they entred thus into communication among themselues.
Neuer was Saint Hugh so bare (quoth one) to carry neuer a whit of skin vpon his bones;
Nor thou neuer so bare (said another) to beare neuer a penny in thy purse. But now seeing you talk of Saint Hugh, it brings me to remembrance of his Legacy that he gaue vs at his death:
What was that said the rest?
Marry (quoth he) I will tell you, When the gentle Prince saw that the cruelty of the time would not suffer him to be liberall to his friends, but that his life was taken away by one, and his flesh giuen to others, he most kindly bequeathed his bones vnto vs.
Tush (quoth another) that was but to shew his mind towards the Shoomakers, because he had receiued of them so many fauours: for alas, what can the dead mans bones pleasure the liuing?
No (quoth another) I can tell you there may be as great vertue found in his bones, as the brains of a Weasill, or the tongue of a Frog.
Much like (answered the rest) but I pray thee shew vs what vertue is in those things you speak of.
(Quoth he) I will tell you; the braines of a Weasill hath this power experientia docet, that if the powder thereof be mingled with the runnet, wherewith women make their Cheese, no mouse dares touch it: In like manner, the tongue of a water-frog hath such great force in it, that if it be laid vpon the breast of any one sleeping it will cause them to tell whatsoeuer you shall demand; for by that meanes Dick Piper knew he was a Cuckold. Againe, I know that those that are trauellers are not ignorant that whosoeuer puts but six leaues of Mugwort in his shooes, shall nere be weary, though he trauell thirtie or fourtie miles on foot in a forenoon.
That indeed, may be true (quoth one) for by the verie same hearb my last Dame kept her Ale from sowring: and it is said that where housleek is planted, the place shall neuer be hurt with thunder: Pimpernel is good against Witchcraft; and because my sister Joan carried alwayes some about her, Mother Bumby could not abide her: Therefore what vertue a dead mans bones may haue, we know not till we haue tryed it.
Why then (said the third man) let vs soon at night steal Saint Hughes bones away, and, albeit the Tyrant will be displeased, yet it is no theft; for you say they were giuen vs, and therefore we may the bolder take them; And because we will turn them to profit, and auoid suspition, we will make diuers of our Tools with them, and then if any vertue do follow them, the better we shall find it.
To this motion euery one gaue his consent, so that the same night Saint Hughes bones were taken down, and the same being brought before a sort of shoomakers, there they gaue their opinion; That it was necessary to fulfill the will of the dead, and to take those bones in as good a part, as if they were worth ten thousand pounds; whereupon one stept out, and thus did say.
Now all you good Yeomen of the Gentle Craft, tell me now (quoth he) how like you this?
My friends, I pray you list to me,
And mark what S. Hughes bones shall be.
First a Drawer and a Dresser,
two wedges, a more and a lesser:
A pretty block three inches high,
in fashion squared like a Die,
Which shall be called by proper name,
a Heel-block, the very same.
A Hand-leather and a Thumb-leather likewise,
to pull out shoo-threed we must deuise;
The Needle and the Thimble,
shall not be left alone,
The Pincers and the pricking Aule,
and the rubbing stone.
The Aule steele and tackes,
the Sow-haires beside,
The Stirrop holding fast,
while we sowe the Cow-hide,
The whetstone, the stopping-stick,
and the paring knife:
All this doth belong
to a Journeymans life,
Our Apron is the Shrine,
to wrap these bones in:
Thus shrowded we Saint Hugh
in gentle Lambs skin.
As well (replyed they) as Saint George doth of his horse, for as long as we can see him fight with the Dragon, we will neuer part from this Posie.
And it shall be concluded, that what Iourney-man soeuer he be hereafter, that cannot handle his Sword and buckler, his long sword or a Quarter-staffe, sound the Trumpet, or a play vpon the Flute, and bear his part in a three mans Song, and readily reckon vp his Tools in Rime: except he haue born Colours in the field, being a Lieutenant, a Sergeant or Corporall, shall forfeit and pay a pottle of Wine, or be counted for a colt: to which they answered all viua voce, Content content; and then after many merry songs, they departed. And neuer after did they trauell without these tools on their backs: which euer since were called Saint Hughes bones.