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Tall Tales
 
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THE BAKED POTATO-MAN'S NARRATIVE
by
Walter Stanford

The potato man looked down at his stock
As they steamed and hissed
He was a man of a garrulous turn
And he thoughtfully reminisced

To the stranger, who stood with his mouthful of spuds
And a far away look in his eye
While the snow filled the space at the back of his neck
As it fell from the storm-ridden sky

"Yes" the 'Murphy' man said, "It was just such a night,
Some ninety two long years ago
As it 'appened, Iıll tell you the tale if you like."
And the stranger said, "Certainly, do."

(And with bated breath, he heard the following narration)

That night, I was standing alongside my can,
When up drives a carriage and pair
Containing a toff and a lady in silks
With diamonds and things in her 'air

And they steps from the carriage, the coachman drives off
And the toff from his pocket 'e drew
Two pennies, a-saying, "Buck up, weıre 'ungry
Supply me with 'taters for two."

And 'im and the lady, they stands in the snow there
A munching away there, all gay
When the bloke starts talking in foreign to 'er
In a insolvent sort of a way.

And, all of a sudden, the woman flares up
And she goes for the toff a fair treat
With 'er 'tater she stabs 'im three times in the chest
And 'e falls down a corpse at 'er feet.

When she sees 'im a-sweltering there in 'is gore
She says, "Evings, what 'ave I done?"
And the bloodstained pertater she drops from 'er 'and
As the clock booms out twenty to one

"You heard 'im consult me" she says, with a groan
And my nerves they were fairly unnerved
"Iıve killed 'im, I've killed 'im, but you are me witness
'Twas only the fate 'e deserved."

Just then, in the distance, we heard the bright gleam
Of a bull's eye approach, and she cried
"Oh look! 'ereıs the slop coming round on 'is beat
Oh save me! where can I hide?"

Like lightning, I raises the lid off my can,
And the lady 'ops into it quick
And I 'ears 'er inside crying, "Saved, I am saved"
As I fastens it down with a click.

And I leaves that dead corpse, on its back, in the mud
And I pushes like mad from the spot
And when the passing policeman 'e says, "Ow is trade?"
And I answers 'im, "All 'ot, all 'ot"

When at last I arrives down our yard with the can
I lifts up the cover with care
And I says in a soft, sotto-vocical way
To the lady inside, "Are you there?"

No voice didst reply, so I lights up a match
And my 'air perpendikiler stands
For the woman lay dead, with a smile on 'er face
And a 'tater in each of 'er 'ands!

And the shock, what it gave me to think what I'd done
Made the blood in my arteries chill
My teeth starts a-chattering, my knees knocks together
My 'eart gives a bound and stands still.

The chill what I got then, I never shook off
And whatever the weather may be
My temperatureıs always below 32
And my 'air keeps on end, as you see.

Iıve tried every medicine whatıs ever come out
And consulted physicians in vain
Since that 'orrible night, on my sivvy, itıs true
Sir, my 'eartıs never beated again."

The stranger looked up at the murphyıs face
"Why, your fortune is made, man." said he
"I want you... I edit the 'Daily Disgrace'
Our reporter in chief you shall be.

Ananias I know of, Munchausen and such
And De Rougemont himself I have met,
But it strikes me that you are the ablest of liars
That I have encountered as yet."

 
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