Digital Tradition Mirror

The Fisher Who Died in His Bed

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The Fisher Who Died in His Bed

Old Jim Jones the fisher, the trapper, the trawler
Jim Jones the fish-killin' banker is dead.
No fisherman surely never stepped in a dory
Like Jim Jones the fisher who died in his bed.

Was there any old fellow tied sods or made bobbers
And set out his trawls in the dark it is said?
No fisherman ever braved such stormy weather
Like Jim Jones the trawler who died in his bed.

Jim Jones he would shorely go out in a dory
And set out his traps all welghed down with lead.
No fisher from side on hauled traps with such tide on
As Jim Jones the trapper who died in his bed.

In the foggiest of weather he'd set out the leader,
But who in the devil this side of the Head
Could haul up such codfish or pick out the dogfish
Like old Skipper Jones who died in his bed?

There was never such a salter this side of the water;
And ne'er such a glutton for eatin' cods' heads.
There ne'er was a crackie who could chaw tobaccy
Like old Skipper Jones who died in his bed.

Was there any old fisher or any old fellow (could)
Cut throats or split fish or tear off the head?
I'm darned if I ever saw one who'd pick liver
So fast as our skipper who died in his bed.

Is there any old fellow this side of the harbor
Sailed straight out the harbor or tacked round the Head
It would make you all frantic to sail the Atlantic
With old Skipper Jones who died in his bed.

His fishing days ended, his traps are unmended,
His trawls are all rotten, his fishing boat sunk.
His days as a rover are finished and over
Old Skipper Jim Jones who died in his bunk.

From Folk Songs of Canada, Fowke and Johnston
Note: The late lamented--fisher, trapper, trawler, banker,
     salter--indulged in just one occupation: fishing for cod.
     All these terms are different aspects of fishing.

One of the few songs that commemorate a non-disaster. RG


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