Marriott Edgar

(1880 - 1951 / Kirkcudbright / Scotland)

Albert Down Under


Albert were what you'd call “thwarted”.
He had long had an ambition, which...
Were to save up and go to Australia,
The saving up that were the hitch.

He'd a red money box on the pot shelf,
A post office thing made of tin,
But with him and his Dad and the bread knife,
It never had anything in.

He were properly held up for bobbins,
As the folk in the mill used to say,
Till he hit on a simple solution -
He'd go as a young stowaway.

He studied the sailing lists daily,
And at last found a ship as would do.
“S.S. Tosser:, a freighter from Fleetwood,
Via Cape Horn to Wooloomooloo.

He went off next evening to Fleetwood,
And found her there loaded and coaled,
Slipped over the side in the darkness,
And downstairs and into the hold.

The hold it were choked up with cargo,
He groped with his hands in the gloom,
Squeezed through bars of what felt like a grating,
And found he had plenty of room.

Some straw had been spilled in one corner,
He thankfully threw himself flat,
He thought he could hear someone breathing,
But he were too tired to fret about that.

When he woke they were out in mid-ocean,
He turned and in light which were dim,
Looked straight in the eyes of a lion,
That were lying there looking at him.

His heart came right up in his tonsils,
As he gazed at that big yellow face.
Then it smiled and they both said together,
“Well, isn't the world a small place?”

The lion were none other than Wallace,
He were going to Sydney, too.
To fulfil a short starring engagement
In a cage at Taronga Park Zoo.

As they talked they heard footsteps approaching,
“Someone comes” whispered Wallace, “Quick, hide”.
He opened his mouth to the fullest,
And Albert sprang nimbly inside.

'Twere Captain on morning inspection,
When he saw Wallace shamming to doze,
He picked up a straw from his bedding,
And started to tickle his nose.

Now Wallace could never stand tickling,
He let out a mumbling roar,
And before he could do owt about it,
He'd sneezed Albert out on the floor.

The Captain went white to the wattles,
He said, “I'm a son of a gun”.
He had heard of beasts bringing up children,
But were first time as he'd seen it done.

He soon had the radio crackling,
And flashing the tale far and wide,
Of the lad who'd set out for Australia,
Stowed away in a lion's inside.

The quay it were jammed with reporters,
When they docked on Australian soil.
They didn't pretend to believe it,
But 'twere too good a story to spoil.

And Albert soon picked up the language,
When he first saw the size of the fruit,
There was no more “by gum” now or “Champion”,
It were “Whacko!”, “Too right!” and “You beaut!”.

They gave him a wonderful fortnight,
Then from a subscription they made,
Sent him back as a “Parcel for Britain”,
Carriage forward, and all ex's paid!

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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