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.
* take a shit