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KARANGAHAKE the years of the gold 1875 -1935

Yes, he's old and he's tottery and cranky,

You can see he is mean by his eyes—

But to me there is no gury like him

On earth nor yet up in the skies.

About six months ago it so happened,

I went prospecting up on the divide,

And left the old shack in the morning,

With Gyp, as I thought, safe inside.

 

When a couple of miles from the shanty,

I heard a slight noise and turned round,

And there was old Gyp looking guilty,

He knew he'd done wrong, I'll be bound.

The whole place was teeming with cattle

Unbranded, and mad as March hares,

But Gyp was too old, they would kill him,

Not much the old mongrel would care.

 

He'd bust his way out of the shanty,

I hadn't much patience with dogs—

I picked up a rock and I plunked him,

And flattened him out like a log.

I waited until he recovered,

Then sent him off back to the camp.

I didn't feel badly about it,

Next time he would know, the old scamp.

 

My thoughts led me up to the diggings,

A bight in a ridge, a good spot

I might get some floaters or colours,

But of course, then again, I might not.

I rolled up my coat on a boulder,

Pulled out pick and dish from a sack,

Heard a roar and a bellow behind me,

Then spread out on the broad of my back.

 

My head hit an old rotten tree-stump,

I was out like a light for a while.

What the hell's all the row? and Lor' lumme,

What the devil's gone wrong with my thigh?

I did a half-roll to my elbow,

And there on a little clear patch,

Was the craziest sight of my lifetime,

Was I dreaming or was it dingbats?

 

A young cow was ripping and rearing

And roaring the world of it's woes,

And using old Gyp as a flayler,

He swung like a weight from her nose.

Gyp's jagged old teeth wouldn't hold her,

He sailed right along the cow's back,

Hit the ground and rolled over and over,

And ended up down the bush track.

 

The cow never faltered a second,

But charged right back up the incline,

I thought—"This is it for a moral",

Then a crashing and tearing behind.

A red streak shot right past my shoulder,

A little bull-calf, bless your heart,

It would take a lead bullet to stop him,

That's all that would keep them apart.

 

They tore away into the timber,

Then all seemed as quiet as the dead,

Old Gyp came up tottering towards me,

With a thumping big lump on his head.

He stood off and glared for a moment,

The mean gleam was still in his eye.

The next thing I knew, the old blighter,

Was cleaning the wound in my thigh.

 

Yes, Stranger, you've guessed it for certain,

The cow's horn ripped down to the bone.

It was bleeding like merry blue blazes

And I was up there all alone.

I plugged it with part of my shirt-tail,

My eyes wouldn's focus somehow,

I lay back to spell, for a moment,

Next thing I was skinning that cow!

 

She was dead as a lump of cold mutton,

Believe me, but can you? for hark!

Every movement I made with that knife blade,

She answered me with a dog's bark.

I must hurry and hack off that cow's skin,

And get right away from the place!

I opened my eyes, and Lor' lumme me,

Old Gyp was a-licking my face.

 

He'd brought up old Paddy O'Gorman,

Who worked a claim three miles from there,

And Pat swagged me out on his packhorse,

While Gyp limped along in the rear.

Yes, he's old, and he's tottery and cranky,

We still work up on the divide,

Yes, I take the old mongrel with me,

Save's trouble—dad blast his old hide.

— H. A. (King) Meagher