Collected by Karl T. Gosnell For Mary C. Parler Transcribed by Frances Majors
Recited by Mrs. Horace Smith Springdale, Arkansas November 3, 1958
Reel 272, Item 7
Noah, Jonah and Captain John Smith
Noah, and Jonah and Captain John Smith,
Mariners, travelers, magazine of myth,
Sitting up in heaven, chewing and a-chawing,
Eating their tobacco, talking and a-jawing.
Sitting by a creek, spitting in the water,
Talking tall as Atlus, as saints hadn't oughter,
Lolling in the shade, baiting hooks and anglers, Occasionally friendly, occasionally wrangling.
Noah took his halo from his old bald head
And swatted off a hopper grass and knocked it dead;
And he baited off his hook and he spoke and said,
"When I was skipper of the tight little Ark,
I used to fish for porporpise, used to fish for shark.
I have catched in a single hour on Monday
Sharks enought to feed the family anyway till Sunday,
To feed all the serpents, tigers, and the donkeys,
To feed all the zebras, the insects and monkeys,
To feed all of the varmint, bears and orillas,
To feed all the camels, cats and armidillos,
To give all the pelicans stews for their gizzards,
To feed all the owls, catamounts, and lizzards,
To feed all the humans, their babies and their nurses,
All the hound dogs and hippopotamuses,
To feed all the oxen, feed all the asses,
Feed all the bison and the little hopper grasses.
Always I catched in half an hour on Monday
All that the family could gourmandize till Sunday."
Jonah took his harp, to strum and to string her,
And Captain John Smith touched his nose with his finger. Captain John Smith, he hemmed some and hawed some,
And he bit off a chaw and he chawed some and chawed some. "When I was to China, when I was to Guinea,
When I was to Java and also in Virginia,
I teached all the natives how to be ambitious.
I learned them my trick of catching devil fishes,
I fitten tigers, I fitten bears,
I fitten serpents and wolves in their lairs;
I fit with wild men and hippopotamuses,
But the perilous of varmints is the octupuses.Noah, Johan and Captain John Smith (Cont'd)
Reel 272, Item 7 (Cont'd)
I'd rub my forehead with phosphorescent light
And plunge into the ocean and seek them out at night.
I've catched them in grottos, I catched them in caves;
I used for to strangle them beneath the waves.
When they seen the bright light blazing on my forehead They used to rush at me screaming something horrid, Tentacles waving, teeth white and gnashing,
Hollering and howling, wallering and splashing.
I used to grab them as they rushed from their grots;
Crab all their legs and tie them into knots.
Noah looked at Jonah and said not a word;
But if winks made noises, a wink had been heard.
Jonah took the hook from a mudcat's middle
And strummed on the strings of his Hallelujah fiddle.
Johan gave his whiskers a backhand wipe
And cut some plug tobacco and crammed it in his pipe.
Noah and Jonal and Captain John Smith,
Fishermen and travelers, narrating myth,
Sitting up in heaven all eternity,
Fishing in the shade, contented as could be,
Spitting their tobacco in the little shaded creek, Stopping of their yarns for to hear the ripples speak.
I hope for heaven when I think of this.
You folks down hellward, a lot of fun you'll miss!
Jonah, he duplicates the mudcat's head
And gets his pipe for drawn, and this is what he said,
"Excuse me if your stories don't excite me much,
Excuse me if I seldom agitate for such;
You think you're fishermen, I won't argue none;
I won't even tell you the half of what I done.
You had careers dangerous and checkered,
All as I will say is go and read my record.
You think you're fishermen, you think you're great.
All I ask is this, has one of you been bait?
Captain Noah, Captain John, I heard ye holler When I asked this, has one of ye been swallowed?
It's mighty pretty fishing with little hooks and reels, It's mighty easy fishing with little rods and creels;
It's mighty pleasant catching mudcats for your dinners, But this here is my challenge for saints and for sinners: Which one of ye has voyaged in a varmint's innards?N oah, Johan and Captain John Smith (Cont'd)
Reel 272, Item 7 (Cont'd)
When I seen a big fish, tough as Methusulam,
I used for to dive into his ozzlie-goozilum.
When I seen the strong fish walloping like a lummox,
I used to follow them, dive into their stomach.
I could voyage and steer them, I could understand them, I used to navigate them, I used to land them.
Don't you pester me with any more narration,
Go get famous, get a reputation."
Captain John he grinned, his hat brim beneath,
Clicked his tongue of silver on his golden teeth;
Noah, and Jonah, and Captain John Smith,
Strumming golden harps, narrating myth;
Sitting by the shallows forever and forever,
Swapping yarns and fishing in a little river.
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