The Crayfish

This is undoubtedly one of the most widespread ditties of the English language, though its coarseness, and perhaps its superficial lack of literary value, have kept it from appearing too often in print. Although versions have been reported in the 'Journal of the Folk Song Society', only the tunes are printed, the words being dismissed as too coarse and vulgar even for that scholarly publication. Sometimes known as 'The Lobster' or 'The Crabfish', 'The Crayfish' as sung here is in fact Australian, coming to us via John "Fud" Benson, who learned it in Newport, RI from Jock Stirrock, a sailor an one of the recent Australian America's Cup contenders.

Fisherman, fisherman, standing by the sea,
Have you a crayfish that you can sell to me?
     By the wayside, Aye-diddley-aye-doe.

Yes sir, yes sir, that indeed I do,
I have a crayfish that t can sell to you.

So I took him home, and I thought he'd like a swim,
So I filled up the chamberpot and I threw the bugger in.

Well in the middle of the night, I thought I'd have a fit,
When my old lady got up to wash her face.

Husband, husband, she cried out to me,
The Devil's in the chamberpot, and he's got hold of me.

Children, children, bring up the looking-glass,
Come and see the crayfish that bit your mother's face.

Children, children, did you hear the grunt?
Come and see the crayfish that bit your mother's nose.

Well that's the end of my song and there isn't any more,
I've an apple in my pocket, and you can have the core.

© Golden Hind Music