“Of the Foure Elementes Where They Shoulde Sone Be Founde” (A Tale from The Old-English Jest Book)

A tale of the four elements from The Old-English Jest Book, a volume supposedly owned and used by William Shakespeare:

In the old world when all thyng could speke, the iiii elementys mette to geder for many thynges whych they had to do, because they must meddell alway one wyth a nother, and had communicacion to gyder of dyuers maters; and by cause they coulde not conclude all theyr maters at that season, they appoyntyd to breke communicacion for that tyme and to mete agayne another tyme. Therfore eche one of them shewed to other where theyr most abydyng was and where theyr felows shoulde fynde them, yf nede shuld requyre; and fyrste the erthe sayde: bretherne, ye knowe well as for me I am permanent alway and not remouable; therfore ye may be sure to haue me alway whan ye lyste. The wather sayde: yf ye lyst to seke me, ye shall be sure to haue me under a toft of grene rushes or elles in a womans eye. The wynde sayde: yf ye lyst to speke wyth me, ye shall be sure to haue me among aspyn leuys or els in a womans tong. Then quod the fyre: yf any of you lyst to seke me, ye shall euer be sure to fynd me in a flynt stone er elles in a womans harte.

By thys tale ye may lerne as well the properte of the iiii elementys as the properteis of a woman.