Mudcat Café Message Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafeawe



User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Moira Cameron TALL TALES & other lies... (108* d) Lyr Add: THE SMOKE HOUSE ON THE KYLE (Ted Russel) 27 Oct 98


This one's for you, Art. A genuine Canadian Tall Tale.

THE SMOKE HOUSE ON THE KYLE
by Ted Russel
(Recorded by David Parry, in "Wind that Tramps the World.")

Tall are the tales that fishermen tell when their summer's work is done;
Of the fish they've caught and the things they've shot and the crazy risks they've run.
But never did a fisherman tell a tale so tall by half a mile,
As Grandpa Walcott told that night in the smoke house on the Kyle.

With 'baccy smoke from fifty pipes, the atmosphere was blue.
There was many a "Have another, boy!" and "Don't mind if I do!"
'Til somebody suggested that each of us should spin
A yarn about some circumstance he'd personally been in.

Well, then tales were told of gun barrels, bent to shoot round a cliff;
Of men thawed out and brought to life that had been frozen stiff;
Of bart pots carried out by flies; of pathways chopped through fog;
Of Uncle Jim who, barefoot, kicked the knots off a twelve-inch log.

The loud applause grew louder when Uncle Mickey Shea
Told of the big potato he'd grown in Gander Bay.
Too big to come through the cellar door, it lay at rest nearby--
Until, one rainy night that fall, the pig drowned in its eye.

And sitting in the corner, his grey head slightly bowed,
Sat Grandpa Walcott--84--the oldest of the crowd.
And upon his weather-beaten face there gleamed a quiet grin
When someone said, "Hey Grandpa! 'Tis your turn to chip in!"

"Oh, leave me out boys--Oh thanks, don't mind if I do.
Well then, lads, if you'll insist, I'll tell you one that's true.
'Tis a story about jigging squid I'm going to relate,
As happened in Pidgeon Inlet in 1888.

Me, I was just a bed-lubber a-fishing with me dad,
And prospects for the summer was looking awful bad.
The Capeland school was over, and it hadn't been too bright,
And here was August, almost gone and not a squid in sight.

Day after day we searched for squid, 'til dusk, from crack of dawn.
We dug up clams, and cocks and hens 'til even these were gone
And still no squid! 'Til in despair we gave it up for good,
And took our gear ashore and went a-chopping firewood.

One day we were in the woods with all the other men--
A-wondering if we'd ever see another squid again--
And father broke his axe that day, so we were the first ones out,
And as we hit the landing, we heard the women shout:

"Hurry, boys! The squids is in!" so we jumped aboard our boat
And headed out the harbour, the only crew afloat.
Suddenly our keel began to scrunch, like skating over skids.
"Father," says I, "We've run aground!" "My boy," says he, "Them's squids!"

"The Jigger!" says he, "Heave it out!" So quick as a flash I did
And as soon as it hit the water, 'twas grappled by a squid.
I heaved it in, and what do you think, as soon as it hit the rail,
I'm blessed if there wasn't another squid, clung to the first one's tail!

And another one after that one! And so on, in a chain.
I tried to shake them loose, but father said, "You foolish thing!
You've got something never seen before in Newfoundland!
So drop the jigger; grab the string and haul hand over hand."

Well, we hauled that string of squid until our boat could hold no more.
Then we hitched her in the risings and headed back for shore.
The men were coming from the woods--They heard the women's call--
But father said, "Don't hurry boys! We've squids enough for all!"

Well, Uncle Jimmy took the string, and when he had enough,
Neighbourlike, he handed it to Skipper Levi Cuff.
And so, from stage to stage that string was passed the whole night long,
'Til morning found it on Eastern Point with Uncle Billy Strong.

Now, Uncle Billy, thoughtful-like, before he went to bed,
Took two half-hitched of that string round the grump on his stage head.
Next morning, Hartley's Harbour heard the news and up they come
In a trap skiff with three pairs of oars to tow the string back home.

When Hartley's Harbour had enough, later that afternoon,
That string went from place to place until it reached Quirpon (pronounced 'kire-poon')!
Now, just what happened after that, I don't exactly know.
But some do say it crossed the straits and ended in Fort Eau.

Yes tall are the tales that fishermen tell when their summer's work is done;
Of the fish they've caught and the things they've shot and the crazy risks they've run.
But never did a fisherman tell a tale so tall by half a mile,
As Grandpa Walcott told that night in the smoke house on the Kyle.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 21-Jul-02.


Post to this Thread -

Back to the Main Forum Page

By clicking on the User Name, you will requery the forum for that user. You will see everything that he or she has posted with that Mudcat name.

By clicking on the Thread Name, you will be sent to the Forum on that thread as if you selected it from the main Mudcat Forum page.
   * Click on the linked number with * to view the thread split into pages (click "d" for chronologically descending).

By clicking on the Subject, you will also go to the thread as if you selected it from the original Forum page, but also go directly to that particular message.

By clicking on the Date (Posted), you will dig out every message posted that day.

Try it all, you will see.