The Wreck of the Ellen Munn

Oh, it happened to be on Christmas Day,
"Twas from King's Cove we sailed away,
As we were bound up to Goose Bay
The Ellen to repair.
When we left the wind was down,
We headed her up for Newman's Sound,
The Ellen, my boys, she did lose ground,
Fell off for Little Denier.

The wind veered to the west-sou'west
And Barrow Harbour we could not fetch.
The gale grew blustering down the retch -
'Twas near the close of day.
So to Dark Hole we ran her in,
And waited there for a half-free wind,
The twenty-seventh to begin
Our anchors for to weigh.

Next morning then our hearts were light,
We ran her up for the standing ice
Thinking that all things were right
As you may understand.
Till from below there came a roar:
"There's water up to the cabin floor."
The signals of distress did soar
For help from off the land.

The men into the hold did make,
The women to the pumps did take
In hopes that they might stop the leak
And beach her in a trice.
But water still came tumbling in -
Against the flow we could not win.
The Skipper's voice rose o'er the din:
"All hands get on the ice."

Now to our very sad mistake
We found the ice was very weak.
We had to carry and to take
The children to the ground.
Poor Tommy Rolland scratched his head:
"For God's sake, Skipper, save me bed!"
Immediately the words were said
The Ellen she went down.

Early next morning we bid adieu
To bring down Tommy Rolland's crew.
We landed them in Plate cove too
For to walk down the shore.
Repeating often he did say:
"I'll never be caught up in Goose Bay.
If I ever get out of it today
I'll trouble it no more."

Tom Holloway lives on Goose Bay shore
His father and two brothers more -
All hardy men to ply an oar -
Westward that day did wend.
A pair of boots, a barrel of flour
They salvaged working half an hour,
And leather for Joe Horney for
Susannah's boots to mend.

And now to close take this advice:
Don't ever trust the new-made ice.
'Twill hold and squeeze you like a vice,
'Twill shave your planks away,
Till finally they're cut so thin
Through your seam the seas come in,
And when a sea voyage you begin,
Don't sail on Christmas Day.

Edith Fowke's Penguin Book of Canadian Folk Songs (1973)