Oh the farmerâ€™s dancing round a pit. Heâ€™s trapped Beelzebub in it. Upon a branch a warbling tit sings: We have chained the devil-oh.
The farmer tramples in the muck. His bellyâ€™s full of boiled duck. A chicken makes a warning cluck, says: The devilâ€™s loosed his chains-oh.
The sky above is a sudden black. The devil leaps up on the farmerâ€™s back. He puts the farmer in a sack and he jumps back into the pit-oh.
The chicken clucks and the tit still sings. It beats its frozen little wings. Oh rustics, you must learn these things: Donâ€™t try to chain the devil-oh.
Till your fields and hoe your ground. Harrow the earth and donâ€™t look round when you hear that awful sound: The devilâ€™s boiling the farmer-oh.
That duck he ate avenged its fate. It took Baalâ€™s shape and had Baalâ€™s hate. The farmer learned that much too late, and heâ€™ll dance no more round the pit-oh.
I, for one, have learned my rustic lesson: never eat boiled duck.
It would be salutary to forward this piece to various rustics of my acquaintance, but they are bewildered by electricity, let alone computers or the worldwide web: I fear Mr Key’s admirable and kindly wish to alert them, through song, to such diabolical hazards is doomed to die a-borning.
The duck essentially ate itself, as it ate the farmer whilst it was still in the farmer’s belly.
True, though: duck is best roasted.
Excuse me while I tune my banj-oh…
(but why bother-oh…? I may as well try to play fog-oh…)
G Riecke : Close rereading of the piece will show there is no suggestion that the devil / Beelzebub / Baal ate the farmer. He just boiled him, in the pit, as devils do.
I see my post has undergone the “folk process”…
In that ‘plait’ has become ‘play’…
One wonders what ramifications this has for the text of the song…
Knowing the difficulty of transcribing the babbling of rustics shot through as it is with impenetrable argot, speech impediments, toothlessness, grog and a penchant for lewdness…
I hope to perform ‘A Rustic Lesson’ for the consideration of the bearded members of the City Folk Club this evening…
You are rolling in the hay of correctness and I am standing here, wellington boot-less, in the dirty puddle of erroneousness. Fooled by my own theories! I fear I neglected to re-read the piece the oh-so-necessary amount of times. Alas, no chicken gave me a warning cluck, or if it did, I heard it not.
I will go and boil myself, as is customary on these occasions.
Outa-Spaceman : I hope you will preserve your performance on a recording cylinder and make it available to me, so that I can post it here for the edification of all.
And lo! It came to pass…
I expect credit for this!
I pressed the right button (with some assistance) on OSM’s mobile phone at the venue. It took only a little while to point the device in the right direction.
I stress that I am NOT otherwise responsible for the underlying technology.
St. A. the Incandescent.
Duly credited, with heartfelt thanks.