The salt, song

Jimmy Doherty, singing in English
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Lyrics

Come all you romantic young fellas who think you can work on a farm
Come listen a while to my story it may help for to keep you from harm
When I was a dashing young fella my age it was scarce seventeen
I hired out to a big farmer at the horse fair of Ballinascreen.

His farm’s away up in the mountain it’s in among heather and bog
And the stock that I had to look after was a donkey a goat and a dog
The farmer turned out an old skinflint his heart was as hard as a stone
He wrought from me daylight to darkness in a week I was just skin and bone.

We never had nothing but porridge he said it will make you a man
It very near made me a dead one for we gulped it right out of the pan
The master myself and the mother we lived in a tumbled down shack
The aul’ woman was well over ninety her bones were beginning to crack.

She sat in a chair by the fire she never could go to her bed
And when I arose every morning she sat there just wagging her head
We had six aul’ hens and a rooster one day they all died of the croup
He plucked them and boiled them and cured them we lived for a week on the soup.

Misfortune they never come single for soon the aul’ nanny goat died
He skinned her and boiled her and cured her and made himself shoes from the hide
I thought that his mind was demented I thought that he was going insane
The dog soon died of distemper I was sent for the salt once again.

When I saw what happened the dog not a wink did I sleep all that night
And when I got up the next morning I got the most terrible fright
The aul’ woman lay stretched out by the fire as I ran for the door he cried halt
Where are you going so early come back here and fetch me the salt.

I went out through the door like a bullet down the hillside I ran like a hare
I kept on going for a fortnight and I’ve never been back since at the fair.