Tickle Cove Pond

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Tickle Cove Pond was written by Mark Walker (songwriter), a fisherman and song-writer who lived in Tickle Cove, Bonavista Bay in Newfoundland, Canada during the late 19th century. This song is prized locally for the beauty and wit of the lyrics, which turn a mundane event into an act of heroism. Although most Newfoundland songs are passed on by ear alone, in recent years it has been recorded by Sean Sullivan & Rob Slaney (in Our Songs Vol. 2: Favorite Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador), Ron Hynes (in Another Time: The Songs Of Newfoundland), and by Great Big Sea, who have released an album entitled The Hard and the Easy. They have also released a DVD with a companion CD entitled Courage & Patience & Grit in reference to a verse from Tickle Cove Pond. In addition, this song has been recorded by a St. John's Traditional Folk group called Connemara. It was also recorded by the Vermont-based ensemble Nightingale.

Additional Info: Mark Walker was born at Tickle Cove, Bonavista Bay South (BBS), Newfoundland, Canada in 1846. His father was Marcus Walker of County Tipperary, Ireland; his mother - Jane Mackey of Bonavista, Newfoundland. Mark Walker moved to Sweet Bay, BBS, in the 1880s where he worked as post master, as well as in both the fishing and lumber trades. In 1908, he and his family moved to Massachusetts, USA. Walker died in 1928.

Aside from "Tickle Cove Pond," Walker wrote other folk classics including "Fanny's Harbour Bawn," "The Antis of Plate Cove," "The Races on Tickle Cove Pond," and a second "Tickle Cove Pond" not long before his death.

  • Although widely misunderstood in the lyrics, the surname "Oldford" never existed in Tickle Cove until relatively recent years. The surname mentioned in the song is "Over" which at one time was "Ovier." The phonetic misunderstanding and subsequent use of both surnames, as well as other lines, in relation to this song is common.

"Tickle Cove Pond" was first recorded by Canadian folksinger Alan Mills in 1953 and released on Folk Songs of Newfoundland (Folkways Records FP 831).

Lyrics[edit]

In cuttin' and haulin', in frost and in snow
We're up against troubles that few people know
And it's only by courage and patience and grit
And eatin' plain food that we keep ourselves fit
The hard and the easy we take as it comes
And when ponds freeze over we shorten our runs
To hurry my haulin' with spring coming on
Near lost me a mare out on Tickle Cove Pond
Chorus:
Lay hold William Oldford, lay hold William White
Lay hold of the cordage and pull all your might
Lay hold of the bowline and pull all you can
And give me a lift with poor Kit on the pond
I knew that the ice became weaker each day
But still took the risk and kept haulin' away
One evening in April bound home with a load
The mare showed some halting against the ice road
She knew more than I did as matters turned out
And lucky for me had I joined her in doubt
She turned round her head, with tears in her eyes
As if she were sayin', "You're riskin' our lives"
All this I ignored with a whip handle blow
For man is too stupid; dumb creatures to know
The very next moment the pond gave a sigh
And down to our necks went poor Kitty and I
Chorus
For if I had taken wise Kitty's advice
I never would take the shortcut on the ice
Poor creature she's dead; poor creature she's gone
I'll ne'er get my mare out of Tickle Cove Pond
Chorus
So I raised an alarm you could hear for a mile
And neighbours turned up in a very short while
You can always rely on the Oldfords and Whites
To render assistance in all your bad plights
To help a poor neighbour is part of their lives
The same I can say for their children and wives
When a bowline was fastened around the mare's breast
William White for a shanty song made a request
There was no time for thinkin', no time for delay
Straight from his head came this song right away
Chorus Final
Lay hold William Oldford, lay hold William White
Lay hold of the cordage and pull all your might
Lay hold of the bowline and pull all you can
And with that we brought Kit out of Tickle Cove Pond

See also[edit]