Treasure Island

Banjo Paterson

(1864-1941)

Shouting for a Camel


It was over at Coolgardie that a mining speculator,
Who was going down the township just to make a bit o' chink,
Went off to hire a camel from a camel propagator,
And the Afghan said he'd lend it if he'd stand the beast a drink.
Yes, the only price he asked him was to stand the beast a drink.
He was cheap, very cheap, as the dromedaries go.
So the mining speculator made the bargain, proudly thinking
He had bested old Mahomet, he had done him in the eye.
Then he clambered on the camel, and the while the beast was drinking
He explained with satisfaction to the miners standing by
That 'twas cheap, very cheap, as the dromedaries go.

But the camel kept on drinking and he filled his hold with water,
And the more he had inside him yet the more he seemed to need;
For he drank it by the gallon, and his girths grew taut and tauter,
And the miners muttered softly, 'Yes he's very dry indeed!
But he's cheap, very cheap, as dromedaries go.'

So he drank up twenty buckets — it was weird to watch him suck it,
(And the market price for water was per bucket half-a-crown)
Till the speculator stopped him, saying, 'Not another bucket —
If I give him any more there'll be a famine in the town.
Take him back to old Mahomet, and I'll tramp it through the town.'
He was cheap, very cheap, as the speculators go.

There's a moral to this story — in your hat you ought to paste it —
Be careful whom you shout for when a camel is about,
And there's plenty human camels who, before they'll see you waste it,
Will drink up all you pay for if you're fool enough to shout;
If you chance to strike a camel when you're fool enough to shout,
You'll be cheap, very cheap, as the speculators go.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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