Jonathan Brown

I will tell you the story of Jonathan Brown
The wealthiest man in Vanastorbiltown.
He had lands, he had houses, and factories and stocks,
Good gilt-edged investments, as solid as rocks.
"Every thing that I have," he so frequently said,
"Shall belong to the Lord just as soon as I'm dead."

So he made out his will, with particular care,
A few hundred here, a few thousand there.

For the little home church in the village close by
He planned a new building with spire so high,
And chimes to be heard from miles upon miles,
And deep crimson carpet all down its long aisles.
For his pastor, a new home, with rooms large and nice;
For the village library, a generous slice.
And then he remembered a college,
Where young folks were taught the essentials of knowledge.
The promising son of his very best friend
To prepare for the ministry he planned to send.
He'd pay for his board and his room and tuition,
Expecting the lad to fulfill a great mission.

His pastor, in old shoes, and shabbiest raiment,
Suggested the Lord might enjoy a down payment.
But he said it weren't smart to do business that way.
"I'd end up in the poorhouse for certain," he said,
"If I give up my money before I am dead."
He grumbled because the good preacher'd been rash,
And sat down again to figure his cash.

Now Satan stood by with a devilish grin,
Saw all that old Jonathan had to put in;
"Ahem," said the devil, concealing a smile,
"I'll see that this old fellow will live a long while."

So Satan chased off every menacing germ,
And sprayed antiseptic on each threatening worm,
Until not a disease could get near brother Brown,
And his excellent health was the talk of the town.
 He survived epidemics of flu and of measles,
Of typhoid, diptheria, Bavarian teasles;
He escaped the distress of acute 'pendicitis,
He couldn't as much as have old tonsillitis.
At sixty he still was quite hearty and hale,
At seventy he hadn't yet started to fail,
At eighty his step was still youthful and spry,
At ninety his nieces said, "Why don't he die?"

But the day after he was a hundred and two,
And Satan weren't looking, a germ wriggled through
And laid Brother Jonathan low in his grave,
And his relatives gathered in solemn conclave.
Lawyer Jones read the will in a voice deep and round,
But there wasn't a legatee that could be found.
The little home church he had loved in his youth
Had long closed its doors and ceased spreading the truth.
His pastor had died poor a long time before
And the village library existed no more,
The college, they found when they finally wrote,
Was long ago sold on account of a note.
And the boy that he planned to send off to school
Had grown up in ignorance, almost a fool,
And had seven sons, each one worse than the rest,
And eleven dollars children, the whole tribe a pest.

So his ungodly relatives each took a slice,
And his lawyers forgot, and paid themselves twice,
And there wasn't a friend and there wasn't a mourner,
Not even the paper-boy down at the corner.
And Satan, still smiling, turned to tasks fresh and new,
Muttered, "Brother, let this be a lesson to you,"
Wagged his fingers and spat as the casket went down.
Thus ended the story of Jonathan Brown.

(Story from

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