There was once a chap who went skating too early and all of a sudden that afternoon loud cries for help began to echo among the bleak hills that surrounded the skating pond.
A farmer, cobbling his boots before his kitchen fire heard the shouts and yells, and ran to the pond at break-neck speed. He saw a large black hole in the ice, and a pale young fellow stood with chattering teeth shoulder-deep in the cold water.
The farmer laid a board on the thin ice and crawled out on it to the edge of the hole. Then, extending his hand, he said:
"Here, come over this way, and I'll lift you out."
"No, I can't swim," was the impatient reply. "Throw a rope to me. Hurry up. It's cold in here."
"I ain't got no rope," said the farmer; and he added angrily. "What if you can't swim you can wade, I guess! The water's only up to your shoulders."
"Up to my shoulders?" said the young fellow. "It's eight feet deep if it's an inch. I'm standing on the blasted fat man who broke the ice!"