(Sing to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw”)
Spent the day upon the saddle. I was hungry as a bear.
Put the kettle on the fire, fetched a table and a chair.
Then I stepped out of the cabin, and I took a look around,
and I found myself a turkey who was sleeping on the ground.
Turkey on the run. Turkey in the air.
Supper isn’t done. I’m hungry as a bear.
It’s hard to catch a turkey when you haven’t got a gun,
so the kettle’s on the fire, but the turkey’s on the run.
Well, the turkey heard me coming, and he ran across the sand,
so I followed close behind him with a hatchet in my hand.
Then he jumped into a gulley where the spiny cactus grows,
and I spent a half an hour pulling needles from my nose.
Well, I thought I had the turkey when he flew into a tree,
so I reached into the branches where I reckoned he would be.
But I found I was mistaken when I tried to grab his head.
What I thought had been the turkey was a porcupine instead.
Then he swam across a river for to reach the other side.
And I’d like to say I caught him, but at least I’ll say I tried.
Well, the water sure was icy and the bird was hard to hold,
so I didn’t catch the turkey, but I caught myself a cold.
If you’re ever on the prairie and you see that silly bird,
you should think about my story. You should take me at my word.
If you’re feeling rather hungry and a little underfed,
just forget about the turkey—have a slice of jam and bread.
Text © Eric Ode, reprinted from Tall Tales of the Wild West (And a Few Short Ones), published by Meadowbrook Press. Illustration © Ben Crane. Any copying or use of this poem or illustration without consent is unlawful.
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