Tom Clare (1911)
One day I went a-fishing and I caught a little fish
So small you couldn’t see it as it lay upon the dish.
But my wife was rather proud of it and told a lady friend,
That was the beginning; you just listen to the end.
Of course I was a hero in my wife’s adoring eyes
So she told her friend I’d caught a fish of quite a decent size.
The lady told her husband Mr Jones had caught a fish,
So big it wasn’t possible to get it on the dish.
The husband told another friend who went and told his wife,
That Jones had caught the biggest fish he’d heard of in his life.
It weighed just over forty pounds, and ere the day was done,
That fish had gone on growing till it weighed about a ton.
Another man who heard it told a certain Mr Brown
Who added to the yarn and sent it further round the town.
And next thing Mrs Smith was heard delivering the tale
Of how I’d gone a-fishing and had caught a kind of whale.
The next report was furnished by a certain Mrs Clark
Who said that Mr Jones had had a struggle with a shark.
She thought he’d got the best of it but wasn’t very sure,
She knew that he was injured though not quite beyond all cure.
The lady Mrs Clark had told went home that very night
And told her husband Mr Jones had had an awful fight
With some enormous monster with a kind of dragon’s head—
The fish was doing very well but Mr Jones was dead.
The husband wrote a letter, sent it to the Daily Mail,
And told with graphic detail this extraordinary tale.
And much to my astonishment, ere many days were past,
I read that a sea-serpent had been found by me at last.
They said I’d yielded up my life in science’ noble cause,
That by my pluck and courage I had gained the world’s applause.
It further was suggested and approved that there should be
A pension for my widow and a monument for me.
The money simply rolled in so unto my wife I said,
“My dear I really think it may be better to be dead.
If a living out of dying to obtain we can contrive
Is it simply worth the trouble to convince them I’m alive?
So I went abroad and hid myself behind a borrowed name,
While wifey raised the money in token of my fame.
They stuck a little lighthouse up to point out where I’d died,
And people came to look at it from countries far and wide.
One day it was reported that my widow’d gone abroad,
And was married to a cousin of her former worthy lord.
Now who that cousin really was I hardly need explain,
My widow thus became my wife and here we are again.
Which only goes to show you that the little fishes sweet
They’re big enough to talk about though maybe not to eat.
So all you ardent anglers, the best thing I can wish
Is may your luck be good as mine in catching little fish.