told on Margate jetty
Campbell Rae-Brown
He was an ainshunt mariner
Wot sailed the oshun blue;
His craft it was The Crazy Jane
Wot was made of wood and glue.

It sailed 'atween Westminister
And the Gulf of Timbucktoo;
Its bulkhead was a putty one;
Its cargo... no one knew.

I've heerd as how when a storm came on
It 'ud turn clean upside down,
But I never could make out as why
Its skipper didn't drown.

He was the most unwashedest
Old salt I ever knowed:
And all the things as he speaked about
Was nearly always "blowed."

One day he told me a straw'nry tale,
But I don't think it were lies,
Bekos he swore as it was true
Tho' a big 'un as to size.

He sez as how in the Biskey Bay
They was sailin' along one night,
When a summat rose from the bilin' waves
As give him a norful fright.

He wouldn't exzagerate, he sed
No, he wouldn't, not if he died;
But the head of that monster was most as big
As a bloomin' mountain-side.

Its eyes was ten times bigger 'an the moon;
Its ears was as long as a street;
And each of its eyelids... without tellin' lies
Would have kivered an or'nary sheet.

"And now," said he, "may I _never speak agin
If I'm a-tellin' yer wrong,
But the length o' that sarpint from head to tail
Warn't a ninch under ten mile long.

"To the end of its tail there hung a great whale,
And a-ridin' on its back was sharks;
On the top of its head about two hundred seals
Was a-havin' no end of larks.

"Now, as to beleevin' of what I sez next
Yer can do as yer likes," sez he;
"But this 'ere sarpint, or whatever he was,
He ups and he speaks to me.

"Sez the sarpint, sez he, in a voice like a clap
Of thunder, or a cannon's roar:
'Now say good-bye to the air and the sky
For you'll never see land no more.'

"I shivered like a sail wot's struck by a gale
And I downs on my bended knees;
And the tears rolls over my face like a sea,
And I shrieks like a gull in a breeze.

"Sez I, 'I'm an ainshunt old skipper, that's all,
And I ain't never done nuffin wrong.'
He sez, 'You old lubber, just stow that blubber,
I'm a-going fer to haul yer along.'

"Then he puts out a fin like a big barndoor
Now this 'ere is real straight truth
It sounds like a fable, but he tuk my bloomin' cable,
And he tied it to his left front tooth!!!

"In another second more, at the bottom of the sea
The Crazy Jane was aground; Sez I,
'You oughter be ashamed of yerself,
It's a one-der as I wasn't drowned.'

"Then he calls on a porkeypine a-standin' quite near,
Sez he, 'Look arter this barge,'
'A-begging your pardon that's a _wessel_' I sez:
Sez he: 'Werry fine and large!'

"With one of hiz eye-lashes, thick as a rope,
He ties me on to his knoze,
Then down in a cave right under the sea
Like a flash of light we goes.

"He tuk me up to his wife, who was
A murmyaid with three tails;
She was havin' of her dinner, and perlitely she sez,
'Will you have some o' these 'ere snails?'

"So I sits me down by her buteful side
She'd a face like a sunset sky;
Her hair was a sort of a scarlety red,
And her knoze was strait as a die.

"I hadn't sot a minit wen sez she to me,
'Sammy, don't yer know me agane?
Why, I'm the wife arter wot yer call'd yer ship;
Sure enuf, it was Craizy Jane.

"The wife as had bother'd me all my life,
Until she got drown'd one day,
When a-bathin' out o' one of them there masheens
In this wery same Margit Bay.

"The Sarpint was a-havin' of his dinner, and so
She perposed as how we should fly
But, sez I to meself, 'What, take you back?
Not if I knose it,' sez I.

"'But how about them there tails?' I sez
'On shore them will niver doo;'
She sez, 'Yer silly, why, karn't yer see,
They're only fixed on wi' a screw?'

"So I tells her as how I'll go fetch the old ship
Wile she's a-unscreuing of her tails;
But when I gets back to the Crazy Jane
I finds there a couple of whales.

"I jist had time to see the biggest of the two
A-swallerin' of the ship right whole,
And in one more momint he swallered me too,
As true as I'm a livin' sole.

"But when he got to the surfis of the sea,
A summat disagreed with that whale,
And he up with me and the Crazy Jane and all
And this 'ere's the end of my tail."

Then this old ainshunt mariner, he sez unto me
And 'onesty was shinin' in hiz eyes
It's jist the sort o' story wot no one won't beleeve
But it's true, little nipper, if I dies,"
The end