An obese man learned that physical and mental well being can be enhanced by diet and exercise.
A CERTAIN man, as some do say,
Who liv’d in peace and quiet,
Did line his inside every day
With most nutritious diet.
“For sure,” thought he, as skilfully
The mutton he did carve,
“‘Twould be exceeding wrong in me
My body for to starve.”
His body, measured round about,
When his great coat was on,
Was four good yards, there’s not a doubt;
His weight was forty stone.
Peter the Great, I do aver,
He was without pretence,
Judging from his diameter,
And his circumference.
No wonder then this Briton bold
To stir him should be loth;
His arms reluctant he would fold;
His legs unwilling both.
And yet his loving wife would say,
“Peter, thou art to blame;
Thou didst not stir out yesterday,
To-day ’tis all the same.”
“Ah! Judith, dear, I doubt,” said he,
“My stirring days are past:
For don’t ye know, and don’t ye see,
My shadow lengthens fast.”
“Not so,” quoth Judith, “if I’m right,
Thou surely must be wrong;
Thy shadow seems unto my sight
As broad as it is long.”
Thus pleasantly, to make him glad,
She answer’d him alway;
Till he at last, with sorrow sad,
Unto his wife did say:
“Judith, I am not well at all,
Within I’m sore distrest;
I fear I’m ill with what they call
A load upon the chest.
“I know not when I’ve felt so bad;
I think, say what you will,
That goose that yesterday I had
Is in my stomach still!
“Haste for the doctor, ere he’s out,
For he may be of use:
Tell him my feet have got the gout,
My stomach’s got the goose.”
The dame approved her husband’s thought,
As heretofore she did;
For long ago she had been taught
To do as she was bid.
Said she, “I go; but it may be,
Some time I shall be gone;
So ’twill be better first for me
To put the boiler on.
“For if by reason of your pain
To fast be good for you;
It does not follow hence ’tis plain
That I must famish too.”
The dame then sped her on her way,
And jogg’d for many a mile;
And Peter he at home did stay,
To mind the pot the while.
But in his chair of ample size
While seated, I suppose,
This trusty watch did shut his eyes,
And straight began to doze.
At last the water, heated hot,
Lifted the cauldron’s cover;
And then (as cooks affirm) the pot
Did boil with fury over.
Water and fire with angry strife,
A hissing dire did make;
Which Peter hearing, dream’d his wife
Was broiling him a steak.
But as the hissing still kept on,
He dream’d she’ll surely spoil it;
Then gruffly growl’d, “the meat is done,
How long d’ye mean to broil it?”
Then in his dream his sleepy poll
With anger great did nod he;
When lo! the tumult of his soul
Awoke his peaceful body.
Then loudly to his wife he calTd,
“Come hither, dame, I pray!”
But vainly to the dame he bawl’d,
For she was far away.
At last he reached his walking-stick,
To shove the boiling-pot;
When o’er his legs it tumbled quick!
And water scalding hot!
Up went his feet into the air;
Down went his body great;
Crack went the ancient elbow chair!
And eke poor Peter’s pate!
No longer now he felt the gout,
But, roaring out amain,
Briskly he turn’d his legs about,
And stood upright again.
With scalded feet and broken head,
He danced along the floor;
He had not done the like ’tis said
For twenty years or more.
Then round the room the woful wight
Did cast a mournful eye;
Thought he, “I’m in a dismal plight,
That none can well deny.”
There prostrate lay the broken chair,
The boiler on the ground:
The cat, she thought her fate severe,
To be both scal’d and drown’d*
But now his wife’s return from town
Full sore began to dread he;
Thought he, “she’d surely crack my crown,
Were it not crack’d already.”
But long he waited all forlorn,
With pining discontent;
And still his wife did not return,
Although the day was spent.
At last the street-door lock within
The key began to rattle;
Thought Peter, “now will soon begin
A most tremendous battle.”
Then, with the doctor close behind,
Enter’d the wife of Peter;
But how was she surprised to find
Her husband came to meet her.
Said she, “how’s this, that thou alone
Canst walk along the path?”
Said he, “I’ve been, since thou wast gone,
In a hot water bath.”
Now Peter he began to quake,
As Judith entered in;
Who, when she saw the mess, did make
A most surprising din.
“Woman, I’ve broke my head,” said he,
And scalt my legs to boot;
So sure there is no need for thee
To add affliction to’ t.”
“But,” said the doctor, “tell me, sir,
How ’tis you walk about;
Your wife affirm’d you could not stir,
By reason of the gout.”
Then Peter he related quite
What we have told before;
Then did the doctor laugh outright,
With loud and lengthen’d roar.
“But, sir,” said he, “now I suppose,
That all this time you’ve fasted;
Pray tell me if your stomach’s woes
The same till now have lasted.”
“Why, sir,” said Peter, “I must own
That, since from food I’ve rested,
The load is from my stomach gone,
And seems to be digested.”
“Then,” said the doctor, “I advise
When plagued with gouty pain;
Since that’s remov’d by exercise,
To scald your legs again.
“And as you’d find your health increased,
Were you but somewhat thinner;
I charge you twice a week at least
To go without your dinner.”
Thus, I, at last, have sung my song,
With no small care and trouble;
So, as the fable has been long,
The moral shall be double.
And first, when, through excess of food,
You find your stomach ill,
Then abstinence will do more good
Than bolus, draught, or pill.
Again, when pain in limbs comes on,
So you can scarce endure it;
Then jump about—’tis ten to one
But exercise will cure it.