Walter Stanford

In the chosen land of Palestine, three thousand years ago
Lived a certain Jonah Somebody, whose surname we don't know
Who earned an honest living, in that far off foreign part
By the exercise of prophecy, that very ancient art

One day he got instructions to proceed without delay
And tell the wicked Ninevites, 'There'd come a time some day.'
Now, Jonah didn't like the job and very angry grew
For it was the month of August, and his holidays were due.

'Be hanged to Nineveh,' he thought, 'I'll take an ocean trip.'
So he cycled down to Jobba, and at Jobba found a ship
He took a cabin ticket and paid his money down
And, in the afternoon, the good ship left for Tarshish Town

When, feeling rather qualmish, Jonah went below to doze
And, as he lay asleep, a fearful storm arose
Then in a tick, before the skipper scarce had time to swear
Bang went the two propellers and the patent steering gear.

The boat shipped lots of water, so they woke the prophet up
And put him on at bailing with a spoon and breakfast cup
And while the crew kept pumping like the deuce to keep afloat
The captain said, "It strikes me, there's a 'hoodoo' on the boat."
The mate replied, "You've hit it, it's a pretty bit of biz
My lads, let's 'sell the pony' and see who the bounder is."

Well, Jonah 'bought the pony' and the captain and the crew
Said, "It's you that caused the trouble, Mister, what are we to do?"
Then Jonah answered like a man, he said, "It seems to me
This is a case of jettison. Here, chuck me in the sea.

For when I cast my horoscope some years ago, I found
That I should never meet my latter end by being drowned."
And the mate said to the skipper, "Shall we do it? What d'ye say?
He's paid his fare, so we shan't be the losers, anyway."

"All right!" the captain answered, so while wind and water roared
They all shook hands with Jonah and then shoved him overboard.
Now, at that very instant that the prophet struck the brine
A whale, in passing, thought, "Hullo, here's something in my line!"

And the moment after, Jonah, with an oily sort of glide
Felt himself go slowly sliding down the animal's inside
And there three days he rested, with his boots on, fully dressed
The whale found he'd got something that he couldn't well digest.

And local irritation in his stomach came about
Through Jonah scrapping round, to try and find a short cut out.
And on the third day when the whale, was very near to land
He turned up deadly sick and out jerked Jonah on the sand.

The prophet, having had a bath, soon felt himself again
And then straightway for Nineveh he started off by train
And when he reached the city, to the market place he went
And slanged and cursed the NInevites unto his heart's content.

That's all, and I assure you that the narrative is true
And if you don't believe it... there's a lot if folks who do.

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