The Maid on the Shore

I’m already vetting some of the songs on my iPhone from play in the car. I was reminded why earlier today when I was playing The Maid on the Shore, an old folk song made famous by Stan Rogers, but played this time by the group The Once.

For those who don’t know it, the lyrics are here. The song tells the story about a mysterious young woman walking alone on a shore who is spotted by the captain of a ship. Struck by her beauty, the captain bribes his men to kidnap her and bring her to his ship (“after much persuasion, they got her aboard”), whereupon she sings the whole crew to sleep, and then robs them blind before paddling her way back to shore with the captain’s own broadsword, telling him sternly that what happened on board stays on board (“I’m a maiden again on the shore”). Lyrically, it’s beautiful, and singable. But Vivian is now definitely old enough to follow along, which leads to her saying:

“Daddy? What’s a maiden?”

(long pause) “Uh… a maiden is an unmarried woman.”

“Oh. So, what’s an unmarried boy, then, Dad?”

“That would be a bachelor.”

“If I were the Captain, I’d just stay with the maid on the shore.”

To which Nora pipes up, “No! I’d sail away!!”

“But Nora! We could be married. As Captain, I’d cook and clean for her.”

“No! Sail away!!”

“But I would make us breakfast every day! And bunk beds!”

And I quietly press skip ahead to the next song…

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