A Rustic Lesson

Oh the farmer’s dancing round a pit. He’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 belly’s full of boiled duck. A chicken makes a warning cluck, says: The devil’s loosed his chains-oh.

The sky above is a sudden black. The devil leaps up on the farmer’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: Don’t try to chain the devil-oh.

Till your fields and hoe your ground. Harrow the earth and don’t look round when you hear that awful sound: The devil’s boiling the farmer-oh.

That duck he ate avenged its fate. It took Baal’s shape and had Baal’s hate. The farmer learned that much too late, and he’ll dance no more round the pit-oh.

11 thoughts on “A Rustic Lesson

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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…

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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