Jonah and the Grampus

Written and performed by Marriott Edgar. His many recitations became well known from recordings by Stanley Holloway and pamphlet collections of his poems. This was one of many done by Tony's father, Charlie Barrand, at church, family, and work "socials."


I'll tell you the story of Jonah
A truly remarkable tale
A peaceful and humdrum existence he had
Till one day he went for a sail.

Now, the weather were grand when they started
But later at turn of the tide
The wind started blowing, the water got rough
And Jonah felt funny inside.

When ship started pitching and tossing
He tried hard his feelings to smother
At last he just leant his head over one side
And, well, one thing seemed to bring up another.

When the sailors saw what he were doing
It gave them a bit of a jar
Now they didn't mind day-trippers enjoying themselves
But thought this here were going too far.

Said one, "Is there nowt you can think on
To stop you from feeling so bad?"
Said Jonah, "Aye, just pick me up and lift me over the side
And chuck me in there's a good lad."

Well, the sailor were not one to argue
He said, "Happen you know what's for t' best"
So he picked Joe up by the seat of his pants
And chucked him in as per request

Well, at that moment up came a grampus
And seeing the old chap hard set
Swam along side, opened its mouth
And said: "Come in lad, out of the wet."

Its manner was kindly and pleasing
As if to say "RSVP."
Said Jonah, "I've eaten a kipper or two
But I never thought one would eat me."

Now the inside of grampus surprised him
It was the first time he'd been behind scenes
He found the accommodation quite ample for one
Though it did smell like a tin of sardines.

Then over the sea they went cruising
And Jonah were filled with delight
With his eye to the spyhole in grampus's head
He watched ships that pass in the night.

"I'm tired of watching" said Jonah
"I think I'll rest for a minute or so."
"I'm afraid as you won't find your bed very soft"
Said the grampus, "I've got hard roe."

Well, at that moment up came a whale boat
Said Jonah, "What's this here we've struck?"
"They're after my blubber" the grampus replied
"You'd better hold tight while I duck."

Well, the water came in through the spyhole
And hit Jonah's face a real slosher
"Shut your blowhole!" said Jonah, and grampus replied
"I can't, lad: it wants a new washer."

Joe tried hard to bale out the water
But found all his efforts in vain
For as fast as he emptied slops out through the gills
They come in through the blowhole again.

Well, when at finish they came to the surface
Joe took a look out and he saw
That they'd stuck on a bit of a sandbank
Which lay one rod, pole, or perch from the shore.

Said the grampus "We're in shallow water;
I've brought you as far as I may.
But if you'll sit on the blowhole on top of my head
I'll spout you the rest of the way."

So Jonah obeyed these instructions
And the grampus's lungs did expand
Then he blew out a fountain that lifted Joe up
And put him back safely on land.

There were tears in their eyes when they parted
And each blew a kiss, a real big 'un
Then grampus went off with a swish of his tail
And Jonah walked back home to Wigan.


© Golden Hind Music