gentle reminder -- that the most precious things in life
cannot be built by hand or bought by
THE THREE HORRID MEN
By G Dewi Roberts
Once upon a time there were three horrid men who lived all alone in a small grey house.
And they lived all alone because no one else could bear to live with them. And that was because they were so HORRID.
had the most dreadful manners imaginable. If they travelled on a tram,
they always took the number of the conductor and reported him. And
sometimes they even reported the driver too.
they went to a restaurant for a meal they always reported the waiter to
the manager and they often used to complain that they hadn't had what
they had had, and that they wished they'd had what they hadn't had
And if one of them left a tip on the table, one of the other two ALWAYS picked it up and put it in his pocket.
They used to take turns to do that.
boys hated taking orders there. because they got into such terrible
trouble if there was anything wrong with the order. They had their ears
tweaked at the very least and they often had their ears boxed. And of
course they were never given a Christmas Box.
To put it plainly these three men were probably the MEANEST men in the world.
They had electric light in the house but they never used it because candles were so much cheaper.
although there was much water laid on in the house when they went to
live in it, they had it laid off, so they wouldn't have to pay the water
rates. Instead they had water butts all round the house to catch the
rain water, because, there was no charge for that.
They all wore suits made of thick black corduroy, with black leather
cuffs to the sleeves and black leather patches on the elbows and black
leather seats to their trousers.
were not satisfied with their suits if they did not last fifteen years
at least, and if they did not last fifteen years then they refused to
pay for them. And of course they changed their tailors once every
They were mean with other things such as coal. When it was cold enough
to call for a small fire, they would go for a brisk walk in the sunshine
to get warm that way. When a good fire was really necessary they used
to have a small fire and shiver over that. Then when it was SO cold that
all the sensible people had the biggest fire that their grates would
hold, they didn't light a fire at all but stayed in bed all day.
Every night they would count the money they had made on three wooden
tables in their room, three plain white wooden tables. On each table
was a single candle and each of the three horrid men sat at his own
table counting his money. They used to run their money through their
fingers because they used to love the sound of it. When they had
finished counting it and playing with it, each one poured their money
into a stocking, blew out his candle and went to bed in the dark.
Each of the horrid men slept in his own iron bed with his own stocking
inside the coat of his pyjamas, and that was because they didn't even
trust each other.
the time came to paint their house, after they had waited for years and
years till nearly all the paint had dropped off. They would borrow a
blow lamp and a ladder and burn off the paint that hadn't dropped off
right down to the bare wood. Did they paint it again? Oh no they
polished it all with elbow grease for that didn't cost anything, they
really were the most Horrid Men.
One day they all came down to breakfast in a VERY BAD TEMPER. Their
breakfast that morning was egg and bread and margarine, one egg between
the three of them of course. They took it in turns to have the tops,
middles, and bottom. Well this particular morning the egg turned out to
be BAD, and that put them in a worse temper than ever and they ate their
bread and margarine savagely.
were very cross about the egg, and they boxed the ears of the grocer's
boy that morning. It was their own fault really , it was a pickled egg
and it was kept far too long in the larder. What made them cross to
begin with was the fact that they hadn't slept very well.
of them complained about it, and it turned out that they had all tossed
and turned all night long, and when you have a long stocking full of
money inside your pyjamas coat it is a very serious matter to be tossing
and turning all night.
came to the conclusion that it must be the beds, so they all went up
and looked at their mattresses. They were wool mattresses and they had
had them thirty years. Well six months later they were still sleeping
badly and a year later they were still tossing and turning. So they
decided at last that they would call a man in to look at them and to put
The man came. He was a new man in town and had only been there a week
or so and he didn't know how mean the three men were, nor how impossible
it was going to be to get any money out of them.
he came to call quite cheerfully. He looked at the mattresses and shook
his head over them, there was nothing he could do but re make them.
three horrid men told him that he had better start at once and remake
them. They didn't mind giving the order at all because they had NO
INTENTION of paying him for his hard work.
On the first day the bed man got to work and he managed to make a bed
and a half. So that night the youngest of the three horrid men had to
sleep with the second horrid man in the bed that hadn't been touched.
They slept back to back each hugging his stocking hard, as each one was
afraid for his own stocking and they ended up not sleeping a wink all
But the eldest man slept MOST COMFORTABLY , in fact it was the best sleep he'd had in twenty years.
The next day the bed man finished off the other bed and the half, and that night all three horrid men slept beautifully.
Many months later the bed man called at the house to ask why they
hadn't paid their bill as he was getting anxious about it.
he had been living in the town quite a while and many people had told
him about the three horrid men and he had been foolish to to do anything
for them. So he had just called round to ask would they mind paying him
for the work he had done.
was quite late in the evening when he knocked at the door and all three
horrid men where sat at their table with their candle counting their
money out. When he walked in and told the eldest what he had come for he
stopped counting and laughed at the top of his voice. It was a nasty,
sharp, brassy laugh, and it sent shivers down the bed man's spine, look
he told them he really couldn't wait any longer. It was then the second
horrid man stopped counting and he laughed loud and long, it sounded
like tearing calico. The sound of it made the bed man go cold all over.
third time he asked for his money the third horrible man stopped
counting, then he laughed as though his sides would break. His laugh was
the harshest laugh of all, like the sound of an old cart whose wheels
had never been oiled. When he stopped laughing the three horrid men
poured their money into their stocking, blew out their candles and went
to bed leaving the poor man standing there in the dark.
The men didn't care there was nothing there worth taking, they had all their money with them.
bed man stood there for a moment wondering what he could do, he fumbled
in his pocket for some matches and lit the three candles and sat down
At last he had an idea and taking the three candles upstairs with him,
he marched to the bedroom. He put the candles by their beds so he could
see them and talk to them. Two of the three horrid men immediately
turned over an blew out the candles but he quickly snatched the third
one and held it in his hand.
Then he spoke to them.
"Did you know I can make suits?" he asked.
"No" said the eldest gruffly.
"Not ordinary suits," said the bed man calmly, "I make the WARMEST suits that were ever made."
"What?" cried another of the three, poking his head out of the clothes.
"In fact my suits are so warm that they keep out every breath of cold. The people who wear my suits are always warm."
"That's an idea!" said the one who had just spoken.
"What's an idea?" said his brothers together.
"SAVE COAL!" said he simply
"But the suits we have are fine, we haven't had them long."
suits you have will do fine." said the bed man "it's the lining that
matters, and what you put inside it. I'll come tomorrow and show you."
The following day the bed man arrived with a huge pile of Kapok. Then
with his big scissors he cut open the lining of their coats and their
waistcoats and trousers and he then asked the men to put on their suits
again this time with the lining open and he began to fill the waistcoat
lining with kapok, sewing up the lining as he went. The men said it was
beautifully warm. Then he filled up the sleeves, they said it got better
and better, their coats only just fitted tightly over their waistcoats.
Next came the trousers, he rammed the kapok down hard with a round
ruler, and gave the trousers a knife edged crease. He took great care
to fill the trousers as TIGHT and as FIRM as he could.
The three horrid men were as warm as toast and tremendously pleased, especially when they thought of the coal they would save.
bed man finished and without bothering them any more he went home
forgetting to ask for the money they owed him, which pleased them even
They had already eaten their dinner so they went out for their evening
walk in the park, which was FREE of course. There were chairs there too
but they cost twopence to sit on so they just walked on by. They never
ate any tea and by the time they arrived home it was supper time and
they were ravenously hungry. They hurriedly fetched their bread and
cheese and water and put them on the table.
done this they drew up their chairs and looked at one another in
astonishment. They looked at their feet,they looked at each other and
then they looked behind them.
They then found that a shocking thing had happened;
THEY FOUND THAT THEY COULDN'T SIT DOWN.
bed man had stiffened them up so well with the kapok that they couldn't
sit, they had to eat their supper standing up, which was very annoying
for they were very tired. Then they lit their candles and putting their
stockings on their little tables they had to count their money standing
up. This was terribly annoying especially when any of the coins rolled
onto the floor as not one of them could bend down to pick them up. They
had to leave everything where it was and got to bed. Alas when they got
there they found that they couldn't undress. They ended up sleeping all
night with their clothes on, very cross and very disgruntled.
The following morning they were up very early and made their way to the
bed man's cottage, all the townsfolk stood in their doorways laughing
as the three horrid men marched past them, they looked as stiff as
pokers and marched like wooden dolls.
course when they knocked on the bed mans door the first thing he asked
for was the money they owed him and without a quarrel or noise they paid
him there and then. Of course the bed man took pity on them and removed
the kapok from their suits and I'd like to add that from that day on
the three horrid men became nicer people, but.......WELL, WHAT DO YOU
REMEMBERED BY SELIGOR AND WRITTEN BY G DEWI CLARK. ONE OF MY OWN COUNTRY MEN.