Treasure Island

Anonymous Oceania


Holy Dan


It was in the Queensland drought;
And over hill and dell,
No grass – the water far apart,
All dry and hot as hell.
The wretched bullock teams drew up
Beside a water-hole –
They’d struggled on through dust and drought
For days to reach this goal.
And though the water rendered forth
A rank, unholy stench,
The bullocks and the bullockies
Drank deep their thirst to quench.

Two of the drivers cursed and swore
As only drivers can.
The other one, named Daniel,
Best known as Holy Dan,
Admonished them and said it was
The Lord’s all-wise decree;
And if they’d only watch and wait,
A change they’d quickly see.

’Twas strange that of Dan’s bullocks
Not one had gone aloft,
But this, he said, was due to prayer
And supplication oft.
At last one died but Dan was calm,
He hardly seemed to care;
He knelt beside the bullock’s corpse
And offered up a prayer.

"One bullock Thou has taken, Lord,
And so it seemeth best.
Thy will be done, but see my need
And spare to me the rest!"

A month went by. Dan’s bullocks now
Were dying every day,
But still on each occasion would
The faithful fellow pray,
"Another Thou has taken, Lord,
And so it seemeth best.
Thy will be done, but see my need,
And spare to me the rest!"

And still they camped beside the hole,
And still it never rained,
And still Dan’s bullocks died and died,
Till only one remained.
Then Dan broke down – good Holy Dan –
The man who never swore.
He knelt beside the latest corpse,
And here’s the prayer he prore.

"That’s nineteen Thou has taken, Lord,
And now You’ll plainly see
You’d better take the bloody lot,
One’s no damn good to me."
The other riders laughed so much
They shook the sky around;
The lightning flashed, the thunder roared,
And Holy Dan was drowned.

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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