The Smelt Fishing Ground (Maurice [Mosey] Austin)

When it's smelt fishing time on the lakes of Bras D'Or,
With my bamboo rod I'll go fishing once more;
The sky it was cloudy, but the weather was nice,
And the smelts numbered thousands out under the ice.

With Johnny MacDonald and a Micmac named Joe,
We three headed out o'er the desert of snow;
As we walked along John says, "I'll make a bet:
One dollar I'll land more than you guys can get."

I took his bet and I looked at old Joe,
He wouldn't say yes, but he wouldn't say no;
Then he lit up his pipe and said with a grin,
"We'll all know at sundown just who's going to win."

We finally arrived at the smelt fishing ground,
We each dug a hole just perfectly round;
But as time passed onward without any luck,
It was getting quite evident that I'd lose a buck.

It was growing toward evening, and soon time to quit,
John was all smiles, full of laughter and wit;
When Joe made a strike that bent his old rod,
And he reeled up to surface a forty pound cod.

"That's a mighty fine fish", says Johnny to Joe,
"But catching that fellow won't win you the dough."
Old Joe he said nothing, just took it in stride,
And with his sharp knife cut the great fellows hide.

He opened it's belly, and to our surprise,
There was three dozen smelts before our eyes;
And that night as the sun slowly set,
Joe collected his two bucks, and went home to rest.

####.... Maurice (Mosey) Austin, Whycocomagh, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, © c.1954 ....####

Contributed in 2004 to the Mudcat Café Forum by Sandy Mc Lean.


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