Mudcat Café message #164512 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17141   Message #164512
Posted By: Mark Cohen
18-Jan-00 - 01:59 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Fishfinger Song (Miles Wootton)
Subject: Lyr Add: FRESH WATER WHALING (Si Kahn)
OK, I'll make the time. It's not in the DT, but Dick or Susan, please include it if you like. I learned this from Mary Benson in Portland, Oregon. If it's not by Si Kahn, I apologize to the real author and would love to know who it is. The story is that this is a song from the days when the St. Lawrence was deeper and broader than it is now, and whales made their way into the Great Lakes.


When I was just a tiny lad, no bigger than a youth
I'd walk along the seawall where the water meets Duluth
The whaling boates were coming in, the wind would fill the sails
And I'd dream of going hunting for those fresh-water whales


Oh the wailing of the women
As they watch the sails grow smaller from the Minnesota shore
And the young men are dreaming
We'll go fresh-water whaling and we won't come home no more

The first ship that I sailed on was called the great St. Paul
Her old sod sides were sturdy and her cornstalk masts were tall
The captain was an older man, but well preserved with rum
Which he'd only started drinking when a perch bit off his thumb (CHO)

At night we'd hear the barking of the fresh-water seals
For the passage round Bemidji, well, we put the boat on wheels
We polished all the decoys with bowling alley wax
And lined our trusty whaling clubs with extra rows of tacks (CHO)

Now the sea was still and silent, though the waves were wild and tall
When we launched our wooden decoys just offshore from old St. Paul
We didn't want to scare the whales, we muffled oars with care
Rowed out to the horizon and we dropped our anchor there (CHO)

For forty days and thirty nights our hunger pangs grew rough
For the last whale had been hunted down -- God hadn't made enough
The decoys were our only hope, we were a desperate bunch
So we sawed them into plank steaks and we broiled them for lunch (CHO)