Treasure Island

Andrew Barton Paterson

(17 February 1864 – 5 February 1941 / New South Wales)

A Change of Menu


Now the new chum loaded his three-nought-three,
It's a small-bore gun, but his hopes were big.
"I am fed to the teeth with old ewe," said he,
"And I might be able to shoot a pig."
And he trusted more to his nose than ear
To give him warning when pigs were near.

Out of his lair in the lignum dark.
Where the wild duck nests and the bilbie digs,
With a whoof and a snort and a kind of bark
There rose the father of all the pigs:
And a tiger would have walked wide of him
As he stropped his tusks on a leaning limb.

Then the new chum's three-nought-three gave tongue
Like a popgun fired in an opera bouffe:
But a pig that was old when the world was young
Is near as possible bullet-proof.
(The more you shoot him the less he dies,
Unless you catch him between the eyes.)

So the new chum saw it was up to him
To become extinct if he stopped to shoot;
So he made a leap for a gidgee limb
While the tusker narrowly missed his boot.
Then he found a fork, where he swayed in air
As he gripped the boughs like a native bear.

The pig sat silent and gaunt and grim
To wait and wait till his foe should fall:
For night and day were the same to him,
And home was any old place at all.
"I must wait," said he, "till this sportsman drops;
I could use his boots for a pair of strops."

The crows that watch from the distant blue
Came down to see what it all might mean;
An eaglehawk and a cockatoo
Bestowed their patronage on the scene.
Till a far-off boundary rider said
"I must have a look -- there is something dead."

Now the new chum sits at his Christmas fare
Of a dried-up chop from a tough old ewe.
Says he, "It's better than native bear
And nearly as tender as kangaroo.
An emu's egg I can masticate,
But pork," says he, "is the thing I hate."

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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