Three Ha'Pence a Foot I'll tell you an old-fashioned story That grandfather used to relate, Of a builder and joining contractor Who's name it were Sam Oswaldthwaite. In a shop on the banks of the Irwell There Sam used to follow his trade, In a place you'll have heard of called Bury You know, where black puddings is made. One day Sam were filling a knot hole With putty when in through the door, Came an old man fair reeked i'whiskers An th'old man said good morning I'm Noah. Sam asked Noah what were his business And t'old chap went on to remark, That not liking the look of the weather He was thinking of building an ark. He'd got all the wood for the bulwarks And all t'other shipbuilding junk, Now he wanted some nice birds-eye maple To panel the sides of his bunk. Now maple were Sams monopoly That means it were all his to cut, And nobody else hadn't got none So he asked Noah three ha'pence a foot. A ha'penny too much replied Noah Penny a foots more the mark, A penny a foot and when rain comes I'll give you a ride in my ark. But neither would budge in the bargain The whole thing were kind of a jam, So Sam put his tongue out at Noah And Noah made long bacon at Sam. In wrath and ill-feeling they parted Not knowing when they'd meet again, And Sam 'ad forgot all about it 'Til one day it started to rain. It rained and it rained for a fortnight It flooded the whole countryside, It rained and it still kept on raining 'Til th'Irwell were fifty miles wide. The houses were soon under water And folks to the roof had to climb, They said t'was the rottenest summer As Bury had had for some time. The rain showed no sign of abating And water rose hour by hour, 'Til th'only dry land were at Blackpool and that were on top of the tower. So Sam started swimming for Blackpool It took him best part of a week, His clothes were wet through when he got there And his boots were beginning to leak. He stood to his watch-chain in water On tower-top just before dark, When who should come sailing towards him But old Noah steering his ark. They stared at each other in silence 'Til ark were alongside all but, Then Noah said what price yon maple Sam answered three ha'pence a foot. Noah said nay I'll make thee an offer Same as I did t'other day, A penny a foot and a free ride Now come on lad what do thee say. Three ha'pence a foot came the answer So Noah his sail had to hoist, And sail off again in a dudgeon While Sam stood determined but moist. So Noah cruised around flying his pigeons 'Til fortieth day of the wet, And on his way home passing Blackpool He saw old Sam standing there yet. His chin just stuck out of the water A comical figure he cut, Noah said now whats the price of yon maple And Sam answered three ha'pence a foot. Said Noah you'd best take my offer It's the last time I'll be hereabouts, And if water comes half an inch higher I'll happen get maple for nowt. Three ha'pence a foot it'll cost you And as for me Sam says don't fret, 'Skys took a turn since this morning I think it'll brighten up yet. From Stanley Holloway AG apr97
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!