Aunt Martha's Sheep
Aunt Martha's Sheep is a song written by Terrence White and Arthur Butt of Perry's Cove and later re-written by Ellis Coles and performed by Dick Nolan. It was primarily viewed as a slight on the Royal Canadian Mounted Police the police force for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The song got airplay in the 1970s, but less after that. Released in 1972 it became one of Dick Nolan's signature songs. The song was written before Confederation and the RCMP and featured the Newfoundland Ranger as the law enforcement.
Come gather all around me and I'll sing to you a tale,
About the boys in Carmanville who almost went to jail.
It happened on a November's night when all hands were asleep,
We crept up over Joe Tulk's hill and stole Aunt Martha's sheep.
Now if you pay attention I know I'll make you laugh,
They never went to steal the sheep, they went to steal the calf.
The old cow she got angry 'cause they woke her from her sleep,
We couldn't take any chances so we had to steal the sheep.
We caught the wooly animal and dragged her from her pen,
She says good-bye to the little lamb she'd never see again.
She knew that those dark strangers soon would take her life,
In less than half an hour she felt that dreadful knife.
Aunt Martha she got angry when she heard about the loss,
She said she'd catch the robbers no matter what the cost.
Next morning just at sunrise she to the office went,
And to the R.C.M.P. a telegram she sent.
The Mountie got the message and started in to read,
This is from Aunt Martha telling an awful deed.
Last night my sheep was stolen by whom I cannot tell,
I'd like for you to catch them and take them off to jail.
Just a short time later about twelve o'clock that night,
We had the sheep a'cooking and everyone feeling tight.
The smell of mutton and onions no man could ask for more,
We were chug-luggin' Dominion when a Mountie walked in the door.
Said sorry boys, your party I really don't mean to wreck.
I smelled the meat a'cookin' and I had to come in and check.
You see the sheep was stolen and the thief is on the loose.
I said come right in and join us, sir, we're having a piece of moose.
He said thanks a lot and he sat right down and I gave him a piece of the sheep.
This is the finest piece of moose I knows I ever eat.
About two o'clock in the morning he bid us all good-day,
If we get any clues on the sheep, sir, we'll phone you right away.
He said thanks a lot, you're a darn fine bunch, and your promise I know you'll keep.
And if everyone was as good as you she wouldn't have lost her sheep.
After he left we had the piece we had in the oven to roast,
We might have stole the sheep, boys, but the Mountie ate the most.
The Rest Of The Story
Ben Weatherby, who originally produced "Aunt Martha's Sheep" for Nolan, released an album not long afterwards entitled You Can't Fool A Newfoundlander. On it, Weatherby performed a cover of "Aunt Martha's Sheep," but for a bit of fun, he wrote a continuation of the story (the title track) where the Mountie gets the last laugh. You Can't Fool A Newfoundlander won Weatherby his first gold record.
"You Can't Fool a Newfoundlander"
(Note: Sung in the same time and tempo as "Aunt Martha's Sheep")
Here's the finish of the story I think that I should tell,
About the b'ys in Carmanville who ended up in jail;
They went out on a caper as they went to steal a calf,
And thought they fooled a Mountie, but the Mountie got the laugh.
As they told you in the story, the Mountie joined right in,
He had a feed of mutton and he thanked them with a grin;
If I wasn't still on duty, well, I'd stay and have a beer,
For a finer bunch of b'ys I know I'll never find like here.
Now, when he left they thought that they had seen the last of he,
They didn't know that in a while back to the house he'd be;
And that he wouldn't be alone, a friend would be with him,
And this time at the party, well, he'd wear a bigger grin.
Now as they watched him drive away they all began to boast,
To think they gave him mutton and he thought that it was moose;
A Mountie from the mainland, they knew they'd told him lies,
And drank a toast to the wool they pulled over his eyes.
They were drinking and were talking 'bout the sheep that they had took,
When above the songs and laughter they heard another knock;
They said come on in and join us 'cause we're havin' quite a night,
But when the door came open, well, they got an awful fright.
In the doorway stood Aunt Martha who had come to claim her sheep,
And the man who stood beside her, he had boots upon his feet;
With stripes upon his trousers and a grin upon his face,
The Mountie from the mainland was a man from Harbour Grace!
So, now they wish the mutton had come from other means,
For now instead of mutton they're eatin' pork and beans;
So if you see a man and on his hat's a yellow band,
Don't think that you can fool him—he might be from Newfoundland!
- Dominion Ale, a local brand of beer at the time (now brewed by Molson's)