Copper for Cake *

The ruins of South Caradon silhouetted against the skyline

* Suitable for a bedtime story

Samuel Hambly was a miner working down South Caradon Mine

Sometimes, as well as a pasty for lunch, he'd take a piece of figgie hobbin to eat down the mine for crib break. 'My wife makes the best figgie hobbin in all Caradon,' thought Samuel Hambly pleased, his tummy full of tasty raisins and crumbly cake.
One day he heard a knocking, and told the knockers in no uncertain terms, to be quiet and go away. Immediately a small fall of stones fell on his head. Rubbing at his sores, he carried on working anyway.
Soon he heard the knockers again,

"Sam Hambly! Sam Hambly!
Leave some of your 'obbin
Or bad luck to thee tomorrow."

Wise miners always left the knockers a piece of pasty crust or a corner of cake, to thank them for their help, but Samuel told the knockers with stern confidence to be quiet and go away. Then he carried on working anyway, chipping at the rock, shrugging off the disturbance. The knockers were cross and sang,

"Sam Hambly, Sam Hambly
We'll send thee bad luck tomorrow
Eat all your hobbin and you'll be sobbing."

Again Samuel ignored them. He carried on working anyway and hard work always makes a miner hungry. At crib time he ate up all his figgie hobbin, not a crumb was left, he didn't even drop a raisin on the mine floor.

When he arrived at work the next morning; his precious tools, his pick and his shovel, were buried under a rock fall which also covered the pile of rich ore which was to give him his next month's wages. Following his brush with the knockers, Sam Hambly never worked as a miner again, and was reduced to jobbing as a farm labourer, a terrible fate for a miner.

So, remember - when round and about the Caradon mines always share your break with the Knockers!

retold by Sue Field

  • Caradon