How a Fisherman Corked up His Foe in a Jar
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|This poem was published in Carryl’s anthology Grimm Tales Made Gay in 1902. The poems are parodies of Grimm's Fairy Tales.|
A fisherman lived on the shore,
(It’s a habit that fishers affect,)
And his life was a hideous bore:
He had nothing to do but collect
Continual harvests of seaweed and shells,
Which he stuck upon photograph frames,
To sell to the guests in the summer hotels
With the quite inappropriate names!
He would wander along by the edge
Of the sea, and I know for a fact
From the pools with a portable dredge
He would curious creatures extract:
And, during the season, he always took lots
Of tourists out fishing for bass,
And showed them politely impossible spots,
In the culpable way of his class.
It happened one day, as afar
He roved on the glistening strand,
That he chanced on a curious jar,
Which lay on a hummock of sand.
It was closed at the mouth with a cork and a seal,
And over the top there was tied
A cloth, and the fisherman couldn’t but feel
That he ought to see what was inside.
But what were his fear and surprise
When the stopper he held in his hand!
For a genie of singular size
Appeared in a trice on the sand,
Who said in the roughest and rudest of tones:
“A monster you’ve foolishly freed!
I shall simply make way with you, body and bones,
And that with phenomenal speed!”
The fisherman looked in his face,
And answered him boldly: “My friend,
How you ever were packed in that space
Is something I don’t comprehend.
Pray do me the favor to show me how you
Can do it, as large as you are.”
The genie retorted: “That’s just what I’ll do!”
And promptly reëntered the jar.
The fisherman corked him up tight:
The genie protested and raved,
But for all he accomplished, he might
As well all his shouting have saved.
And, whenever a generous bonus is paid,
The fisherman willingly tells
The singular tale of this trick that he played,
To the guests in the summer hotels.
The Moral: When fortune you strike,
And you’ve slipped through a dangerous crack,
Get as forward as ever you like,
But never, oh, never get back!