Bush Christening, The

DESCRIPTION: A man offers a doctor extra payment for services. He explains that it is on behalf of his baby who nearly died unbaptized. His wife had tried to take the child to a church, but no water was available. Had not a doctor chanced by, the baby would have died
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1987
LONG DESCRIPTION: A man offers a doctor extra payment for services. He explains that it is on behalf of his baby who nearly died unbaptized, and his wife who nearly went mad as a result. The nearest church had only occasional services, as the preacher travelled widely in the bush. When the child took ill, they hoped to get the child baptized before death, but no water was to be had at the church, and a drunkard drank the water they had brought in a gin bottle. Had not a doctor happened by their hut, the baby would have died unchristened -- but the doctor saved the baby
KEYWORDS: children clergy disease recitation
FOUND IN: Australia
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Meredith/Covell/Brown, pp. 171-173, "The Bush Christening" (1 text)
NOTES: Banjo Paterson published a poem, "A Bush Christening" ("On the outer Barcoo where the churches are few And men of religion are scanty") which shares many plot elements with this piece. The details are distinctly different, however (in the Paterson piece, the child is ten years old, and deliberately flees christening until whiskey is thrown over his head). Meredith's source claims to have learned this around the beginning of the twentieth century. One suspect this is another case where Paterson found a traditional piece and put his own stamp on it. - RBW
File: MCB171

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