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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

There Once was a Man from Nantucket

All right, get your minds out of the gutter. It’s not THAT limerick. It’s these, first started in 1902 by the Princeton Tiger:

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who kept all his cash in a bucket.
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.

The Chicago Tribune afterwards took up the challenge and fired off a round:

But he followed the pair to Pawtucket,
The man and the girl with the bucket;
And he said to the man,
He was welcome to Nan,
But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.

According to Nantucket’s Yesterday’s Island, vol. 17, no. 12, July 1988, the Exchange took a turn:

Then the pair followed Pa to Manhasset,
Where he still held the cash as an asset;
But Nan and the man
Stole the money and ran,
And as for the bucket, Manhasset.

Rhode Island’s Pawtucket Times evidently got tired of being mentioned and decided to contribute:

Of this story we hear from Nantucket,
About the mysterious loss of a bucket,
We are sorry for Nan,
As well as the man --
The cash and the bucket, Pawtucket.

In the following decades, Yesterday’s Island has opened the floor to contributions to the sad tale of the man with the bucket, and you can read some of them here online.  And the originals online at Life, v. 41, Princeton University, January-June 1903.

As for the naughty version, that’s achieved its own place in American literature, too.

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