THE SALMON OF BREE
by Barry Van-Asten
There was a young salmon of Bree:
Both brave and bold was he!
And when swimming upstream
His fish heart would dream
Of the warrior-fish in the sea,
He’d dream, of the warrior-fish in the sea!
One day, by the shade of a mill
While the river was gentle and still,
He thought it great sport
To pretend to be caught:
‘By fin and by gill! Yes I will!’
He thought, ‘by fin and by gill! Yes I will!’
So he gasped and he gurgled his last
On a line that was so squarely cast.
‘I’ve a bite!’ the man said
But the salmon, he fled
To the depths of the river so vast,
He did! To the depths of the river so vast!
And old Ned, the fisherman, flew
Through the air with his broken rod too!
And his head hit a tree
As the fish laughed to see
The wickedness that he could do!
Indeed! The wickedness that he could do!
And old Ned shook his fist and turned red
And his hair stood on end as he said:
‘You wicked young thing!
I’ll have you come spring!’
And he walked away rubbing his head!
He did! He walked away rubbing his head!
Many months came and went and still Ned
Kept that wicked young fish in his head!
‘I won’t be deterred,
By God and my word:
I won’t rest till that salmon is dead!’
Said Ned, ‘I won’t rest till that salmon is dead!’
By the river, all beard and red nose,
Sat slumbering Ned in repose;
With one eye, he squinted
At the water that glinted
While he was pretending to dose!
It’s true! While he was pretending to dose!
And along swam the salmon of Bree
Through the rushes as he chuckled to see
Old Ned fast asleep,
With one eye a-peep:
‘Fins and gills! You’ll never catch me!’
He laughed, ‘fins and gills! You’ll never catch me!’
So old Ned with a mirror and string
Attached to a beautiful ring,
Sat by the side
Of the river, to hide:
‘Now who’s a silly old thing?’
He said, ‘now who’s a silly old thing?’
And the mirror was lowered below
The water, an inch or so;
And the salmon was hooked
By himself, as he looked,
For he was a vain salmon you know,
You know! For he was a vain salmon, you know!
Then old Ned, whom motionless, struck
By fortitude and by good luck,
As the fish, unaware
Of old Ned, and his snare,
And a mirror was all that it took!
Quite right! A mirror was all that it took!
And old Ned placed the fish in a bucket
And said: ‘there’s nowt much to ‘im, I’ll chuck it!’
But the salmon, he spat
At old Ned, just like that!
‘Blast that damn salmon: I’ll cook it!’
Said Ned, ‘blast that damn salmon: I’ll cook it!’
So said Ned: ‘I have you now fish:
May I grant you your very last wish?’
But the fish thought it funny
To see butter and honey
Spooned over him, sat in a dish!
Yes! Spooned over him sat in a dish!
So old Ned, he laughed with such glee
To eat tender young salmon for tea;
A salmon so bold
Yet not wise, to grow old:
What a silly young salmon of Bree,
Was he, what a silly young salmon of Bree!