This is one of those songs that rarely gets by the censors, the buggers! I believe that Cliff learned this one from the singing of John Roberts and Tony Barrand, and Tim is often now the one who presents this song at our performances. I have learned rather recently that it is a variation of a little ditty called “The Sea Crab” of the very same subject matter and dates back to around – if not before – 1620, England.
Fisherman, fisherman, standing by the sea,
Have you a crayfish that you can sell to me?
By the wayside, Aye-diddley-aye-doe.
Yes sir, yes sir, that indeed I do,
I have a crayfish that t can sell to you.
So I took him home, and I thought he’d like a swim,
I filled up the chamberpot and threw the bugger in.
In the middle of the night, I thought I’d have a fit,
When my old lady got up to wash her face.
“Husband, husband!” she cried out to me,
“The Devil’s in the chamberpot, and he’s got hold of me!”
Children, children, bring up the looking-glass,
Come and see the crayfish that bit your mother’s face.
Children, children, did you hear the grunt?
Come and see the crayfish that bit your mother’s nose.
Well that’s the end of my song and there isn’t any more,
I’ve an apple in my pocket, and you can have the core.