Six Horse-Power Coaker, The

DESCRIPTION: An old run-down motor that still has a lot of life left in it fails one day as the weather worsens and they have a dory in tow. An orphan boy comes to the rescue in a skiff and is able to start the motor. They take on the boy from that time forward.
AUTHOR: Arthur R. Scammell (1913-1995)
KEYWORDS: recitation technology talltale ship rescue
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Doyle-OldTimeSongsAndPoetryOfNewfoundland, "The Six Horse-Power Coaker" (1 text): p. 74 in the 2nd edition
Blondahl-NewfoundlandersSing, pp. 68-69, "The Six-Horsepower Coaker" (1 text, 1 tune)
Guigné-ForgottenSongsOfTheNewfoundlandOutports, pp. 332-335, "The Six Horsepower Coker" (1 text, 1 tune)
ADDITIONAL: A. R. Scammell, _My Newfoundland_, Harvest House, 1966, pp. 124-125, "The SIx Horse-Power Coaker" (1 text 1 tune)

Roud #7310
Eddy Primroy, "Coaker" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Ned Rice, "Six Horsepower Coaker" (on NFAGuigné01)

NOTES [317 words]: The author, Arthur Reginald Scammell (mistakenly spelled with one "l" in [Doyle]), has written many poems, songs and even stories with Newfoundland themes. One of his more famous songs is, "The Squid-Jiggin' Ground." Some collections of his works include: My Newfoundland: Stories, Poems, Songs (St. John's: Harry Cuff Publications, 1988) and "Newfoundland Echoes" (St. John's: Harry Cuff Publications, 1988). Collected Works of A. R. Scammell was also published by Harry Cuff in 1990.
The boy in the song is referred to as being a "bedlamer boy" which is a corruption of the French phrase, "bête de la mer" used in Newfoundland to refer to half-grown seals and boys. See: Harold Horwood, Newfoundland (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada , 1969), p. 84. - SH
For background on Arthur R. Scammell, see the notes on "The Squid-Jiggin' Ground." - RBW
Bedlamers are second year seals, not yet fully mature but able to care for themselves -- sort of the seal equivalent of teenagers. The title is a description of age; a bedlamer may be either a "harp" or a "hood." The origin of the name is uncertain; some connect it with "bedlam," because they create bedlam, others with French "bête de la mer," "beast of the sea" (Young, p. 33; StoryKirwinWiddowson, p. 37, prefer the "bedlam" sense, and first cite the term from 1766. Their second meaning, "bedlamer [boy]," refers to a youth approaching manhood; it is not attested prior to 1896. Scammell's 1940 publication of this poem is their second attestation; clearly "bedlamer" refers more often to seals than men).
StoryKirwinWiddowson, p. 102, says that a "coaker" was a "gasoline fuelled engine used in fishing boat c1920, and named for Sir William Coaker, president of the Fishermen's Protective Union" (for whom see "Coaker's Dream"). The "coaker" engine was said to be a major improvement on the boat engines which had come before, being much quieter. - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 6.0
File: Doy74

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