The Crabfish

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"The Crabfish" is a ribald humorous folk song of the English oral tradition. It dates back to the seventeenth century, appearing in Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript as a song named "The Sea Crabb" based on an earlier tale.[1] It has a Roud Folk Song Index number of 149. The moral of the story is that one should look in the chamber pot before using it.

Owing to the indelicate nature of its theme this ballad was intentionally excluded from Francis James Child's renowned compilation of folk songs The English and Scottish Popular Ballads.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

A man brings a crabfish (most likely a common lobster) home as a gift for his wife and puts it in the chamber pot. Some time in the night his wife answers a call of nature and the crustacean grabs her private parts. In the ensuing scuffle the husband gets bitten too.[3]

Variants[edit]

"Johnny Daddlum" is the Irish version of this song.[4] There are variants in which the coarse language is more clear-cut than in others. In some variants the wife is pregnant, having previously told her husband about her craving to eat crabfish meat.

This song has also variants under other names such as "Old She-Crab," "The Crayfish," "A Combat Between an Ale-Wife and a Sea Crab," "The Fishy Crab," and "The Lobster."[5][6][7][8]

Text[edit]

The Crayfish

Fisherman, fisherman, standing by the sea
Have you got a crayfish that you can sell to me
By the way side high diddly aye do

Yes sir, yes sir, that indeed I do
I have got a crayfish that I can sell to you
By the way side high diddly aye do

Well, I took the crayfish home, and I though he'd like a swim
So I filled up the chamber pot, and I threw the bugger in
By the way side high diddly aye do

In the middle of the night, I thought I'd have a fit
When my old lady got up to a-have a shit
By the way side high diddly aye do

Husband, husband, she cried out to me
The devil's in the chamber pot, and he's got hold of me
By the way side high diddly aye do

Children, children, bring the looking glass
Come and see the crayfish that bit your mother's arse
By the way side high diddly aye do

Children, children, did you hear the grunt
Come and see the crayfish that bit your mother's cunt
By the way side high diddly aye do

It's the ending of me story; I don't have any more
I've an apple in me pocket, and you can have the core
By the way side high diddly aye do

Versions[edit]

A sanitized version of "The Crabfish," expunging the straightforwardness of the original in order to make the song available for child audiences, was released in recent years.[9] Instead of private parts the crabfish grabs the wife by the nose and the husband by the ear.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frederick J. Furnivall, ed. (1867). Bishop Percy's Folio Manuscript: loose and humorous songs. London. p. 100. 
  2. ^ Lyr Req: Mr Radalum? / Raddle-um / Crabfish etc.
  3. ^ "The Crabfish". Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  4. ^ Johnny Daddlum
  5. ^ Old She-Crab
  6. ^ The Crayfish
  7. ^ A Combat Between an Ale-Wife and a Sea Crab
  8. ^ "Lobster Song". Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  9. ^ "The Crabfish". Retrieved 24 January 2016. 
  10. ^ "The Crabfish". Retrieved 24 January 2016. 

External links[edit]