Sam Small's Shelter
written by
Stanley Holloway
It occurred on an evening in springtime
And Sam 'ad coom out of his 'ouse
To look at his flowers, bulbs an' suchlike,
And maybe to give 'em a souse.
The garden were lookin' a picture,
All red, white and blue: with green grass
And Sam's simple heart bust wi' pleasure,
As he leaned on his fence for a gas.

His neighbour were digging and digging,
An' his lawn were a sad sight to see.
Sam said, "Ee lad, that there ain't gardening,
Looks more like kids' mud pies to me!"
Said neighbour, "'Asn't tha 'eard, Sam?
They're giving 'way shelters round 'ere"
"What's shelters?" asked Sam. "Tha's a dugout
In which tha can drink evening's beer." 

But neighbour said nowt: went on digging
(He'd a lovely great 'ole in his ground)
And as Sam looked down at 'im working,
He thowt, 'That's 'ow Australia was found!'
Then along came a great, 'eavy lorry,
Makin' a 'eck of a noise.
Chap stopped at the gate and said something about,
"Here is tha shelters, you boys."

"Don't be daft," then said Sam, "'Tisn't raining,
And we ain't got no room for them theers,
Shoove 'em oop on the bloomin' allotment,
Ah've wanted a hut theer for years!" 
He made to coom in at the gateway, 
Dragging some timber and such. 
But Sam planted foot on the latch-thing
And said, "Tha clear off from 'ere. Butch. 

That theer metal would flatten me daisies,
And the timber would bust oop me pond. 
I'll be glad if tha'll move it from hither 
And shoove it oop further to yond!" 
Chap put down the wood he were carting, 
He saw he'd a case in Sam Small. 
'Cos if Sam rebelled and stood out of the crowd
They'd send back theer shelters an' all. 

When he spoke it were soft and persuasive,
Like honey spread thick on ploom cake, 
"Coom, coom, Sam me lad, don't let's argue,
Tha's giving me head a fair ache." 
"If tha head is so soft," then spoke oop Sam,
"I'm feeling reight sorry for thee. 
But if that stoof comes into my garden,
Tha won't have a headache—tha see?"

Chap uttered a cry of annoyance, 
He were 'ungry and it were quite late. 
Besides he was taking his girl out.
And last picture began theer at eight. 
So he spoke up so sharp and so rasping,
Sam shuddered at hearing his tones, 
"This shelter's to keep thee alive, Sam. 
If not, we'll bury thee bones!" 

Sam stared at the chap in amazement.
"What is all this 'ere that tha talks?"
Then his neighbour joined in, "Ay he's reight,
We don't want thee all cheese and chalks," 
A crowd gathered round, and as crowds will
Started cheering whichever man spoke. 
Some wanted the driver to win the backchat
And advised Sam Small to eat coke.

But Sam was not daunted by all that he heard, 
He'd been in some tough spots before, 
And his garden just then were the pride of his life;
He weren't pulling oop bulbs for no war. 
"I'll mak thee a bargain," said Sam at some length.
"To save me flowerbeds here an' all. 
Shoove oop shelter on pavement, me lad. 
And call it phone box for Sam Small!"

"We can't do that theer," said driver, irate.
"It's tha garden or nothing—so theer. 
Open the gate and pull oop them flowers —
We'll soon have it fixed for thee here." 
Sam's foot on the gate were as strong and as firm,
It were one of the old bulldog breeds. 
And he pulled out his pipe and began to smoke 
To show shelter weren't none of his needs.

The crowd round about was excited to see 
One man sticking oop for his own. 
''We'll send thee to Parlyment, Sam lad," said one.
"Tha'd make Defence Force on thee own!" 
The driver were asking the crowd to use force
To make Sam tak shelter within. 
But every man theer said, "Fight thee own fight. 
Hope tha loses—and may best man win!" 

Behind his gate and behind his great calm 
Sam were thinking at very fast rate. 
At length when he moved and began to speak
They saw he had foot off his gate. 
''Now, look here, me lad, I've no quarrel with thee,"
Sam said, wi' a grin on his face. 
"I'll let thee put shelter oop on one condish— 
And that is, I'll name the place,"

If driver were flummoxed it didn't show. 
He thowt that at last he'd won day. 
And picking oop timber with trembling hand
He managed to croak an, "Okay!" 
The crowd began booing at seeing Sam lose,
And his pals were quick with theer reproof. 
But opening the gate Sam pointed oop high.
"Shoove shelter oop theer on me roof 
In last winter gale half me slates have coom down.
And cross-beams are rotten to core 
This stoof that tha's brought is just what I want,
Can tha bring us two or three more ' 

And that is the tale of how Sam Small scored
Off joomped-up officials with tricks. 
He kept garden and had a new roof to his home
By thinkin first in a tight fix. 
The end