Barrel of Pork
DESCRIPTION: To gain an inheritance a Jewish merchant disguises his brother's dead body as a barrel of pork to be shipped to England. The crew eats the pork. While the merchant can't accept payment for the "pork" he accepts it as payment for the barrel and brine.
EARLIEST DATE: 1951 (MUNFLA-Leach); before 1863 (broadside, Bodleian Bod10069 Firth c.20(132))
LONG DESCRIPTION: Isaac and Moses are rich merchants in New York. Moses dies and his will leaves all his goods to Isaac if he is buried in "old English soil." No captain will carry the body of a Jew, so Isaac cuts and pickles the body and says it is a barrel of pork. The ship is becalmed and, provisions being short, they eat the "pork." Isaac explains that they have eaten his brother. The captain offers to pay for the body as if it were pork. Isaac feels he can't accept money for -- that is, sell -- his brother but accepts the payment as if for the barrel and brine.
KEYWORDS: greed trick burial corpse death commerce sea ship food cannibalism starvation America England humorous animal brother Jew
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
ADDITIONAL: John Ashton, Modern Street Ballads (London: Chatto & Windus, 1888 ("Digitized by Internet Archive")), pp. 170-172, "The Barrel of Pork" ("Two Israelite brothers in New York once dwelt") (1 text)
Paddy Duggan, "Barrel of Pork" (on MUNFLA-Leach)
Bodleian, Bod10069 Firth c.20(132), "The Barrel of Pork" ("Two Israelite brothers in New York once dwelt"), H. Such (London), 1849-1862; also Bod4175 Firth b.27(107), "The Barrel of Pork"
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