Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Help track down a mystery recitation from Bell Island or Conche

We have a mystery for you to help solve!

I got an email from Mr Ray Byrne, a native of Conche on the Northern Peninsula, now living in Edmonton. He is trying to find the words to a recitation his father used to do.

"My father's name was Jim Byrne and he worked on Bell Island in the early part of the 20th century," says Ray. "I mention this because I wonder if that's where he found it and if so there may be a possibility that someone out there is familiar with it."

Jim Byrne's title for the recitation was "The Trawler". Some of the lyrics his son remembers are:


Now the capelin have struck the beach
And the time has come for spawning
See the trawler there with his oilskins on
He's been there since the dawning

Aw, he says, it's fishin' I'll give up
And I'll go berry pickin'
I'll sell them and get the cash
And it's the merchants I'll be trickin'

There is also a mention of Baccalieu in one line, according to Ray. If you have any thoughts, or know the piece, comment here, or email your friendly neighbourhood folklorist at ich@heritagefoundation.ca

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