by Marriott Edgar Balbus I'll tell you the story of Balbus, You know, him as builded a wall; I'll tell you the reason he built it, And the place where it happened an' all. This 'ere Balbus, though only a Tackler, Were the most enterprising of men; He'd heard Chicken Farms were lucrative, So he went out and purchased a hen. 'Twere a White Wyandot he called Mabel, At laying she turned out a peach, And her eggs being all double-yoked ones He reckoned they'd fetch twopence each. When he took them along to the market And found that the eggs that sold best Were them as came over from China He were vexed, but in no ways depressed. For Balbus, though only a Tackler, In business were far from a dunce, So he packed Mabel up in a basket And started for China at once. When he got there he took a small holding, And selecting the sunniest part, He lifted the lid of the basket And said 'Come on, lass... make a start!' The 'en needed no second biddin', She sat down and started to lay; She'd been saving up all the way over And laid sixteen eggs, straight away. When the Chinamen heard what had happened Their cheeks went the colour of mud, They said it were sheer mass production As had to be nipped in the bud. They formed themselves in a committee And tried to arrive at some course Whereby they could limit the output Without doing harm to the source. At the finish they came to t' conclusion That the easiest road they could take Were to fill the 'en's nest up wi' scrap-iron So as fast as she laid eggs they'd break. When Balbus went out the next morning To fetch the eggs Mabel had laid He found nowt but shells and albumen He were hipped, but in no ways dismayed. For Balbus, though only a Tackler, He'd a brain that were fertile and quick He bought all the scrap-iron in t' district To stop them repeating the trick. But next day, to his great consternation He were met with another reverse, For instead of old iron they'd used clinker And the eggs looked the same, or worse. 'Twere a bit of a set-back for Balbus, But he wasn't downhearted at all, And when t' Chinamen came round next evening They found he were building a wall. 'That won't keep us out of your 'en 'ouse' Said one, with a smug kind of grin; It's not for that purpose,' said Balbus, 'When it's done, it will keep you lot in.' The Chinamen all burst out laffing, They thowt as he'd gone proper daft But Balbus got on wi' his building And said 'He laffed last who last laffed.' Day by day Balbus stuck to his building, And his efforts he never did cease Till he'd builded the Great Wall of China So as Mabel could lay eggs in peace.
The end