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: A.R. Scammell
KEYWORDS: recitation technology talltale ship rescue
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Doyle2, p. 74, "The Six Horse-Power Coaker" (1 text)
Blondahl, pp. 68-69, "The Six-Horsepower Coaker" (1 text, 1 tune)
Guigne, pp. 332-335, "The Six Horsepower Coker" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #7310
Eddy Primroy, "Coaker" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
Ned Rice, "Six Horsepower Coaker" (on NFAGuigne01)

NOTES [245 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, "bete 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
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 "bete 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). - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 4.2
File: Doy74

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.