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The old stag leaned against the fence,
He was too tired to walk,
The butcher pulled out his knife and steel
And the beast began to talk
Misguided man, oh do you mean
To perpetrate this crime?
Don't sell me to your customers
And tell them that I'm prime.
For many a mile on the parched outback,
With never a day to spare,
My master kept me to the yoke,
And God knows he could swear.
I've cancer, blots and pleuro,
I can scarcely draw my breath,
Pray let me take my bones aside
And die a natural death.
The butcher laughed a greasy laugh,
And poking out his tongue,
Said, "I'll tell them that you're lucerne fed,
And I'll kid them that you're young.
They do not know of what they eat,
The people of this town,
And God sends the likes of you old man
To keep the prices down.
Should any of my patrons die
Through catching of your ills,
I hope to Christ it will be those
Who never pay the bills.
With that he knocked the poor wretch down
And ut him up for scrag,
Next day he winked the other eye
As he dealt them out the stag.
From Ron Edwards Big Book of Australian Folk Songs, with the following note:
The Old Stag or The Bull Stag is better known as a recitation than as a song, and most old bushmen in the North know at least a few lines of it. The present text was collected from Arthur Nevins, Cairns, on 12 March 1965. He had learned it on Normanby Station in the Gulf Country around 1928. The tune came from Bill Scott who had it from Noel Sligar, who in turn had learned it from his father during the 1930s in the Snowy River area of North-East Victoria.