“Sable Island Song (II)”


Hard times for "banned steeves" at Main Station. They steal from other boys "and only call that fun" but the busy-bodies "in the castle... their tongues were never still." The "steeves" nail a postal to their door and refuse to take it down.

Supplemental text

Sable Island Song (II)
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Helen Creighton, Songs and Ballads from Nova Scotia, #143, pp. 312-313.
"Sung by Mr. Allan Hartlan, South-East Passage."

There's a little trail a winding
  To a little pile of sand,
To a place called the Main Station
  Where the forty steeves are banned.
We eats salt pork three times a day
  And potatoes we have none,
We thought to steal from other boys
  And only call that fun.

(3 additional stanzas plus a half stanza)


Creighton-NovaScotia. "In 1926 the wireless men lost some potatoes and accused Main Station men ["banned steeves"] of taking them.... The [people in the castle] are the wireless operator and his wife." I guess "postal" should be read as "post" [I take it to mean 'letter" or "accusation" - RBW]. See other Sable Island songs for confirmation of the hard times there. - BS

The Communal Composition advocates would love this. According to Creighton's notes, the Main Station staff each wrote a verse as a competition to see who could do best. Little surprise, then, that the result is ragged and tells an imperfect story. But as for Creighton's comment that "the song-making instinct is not dormant" -- no, it's not, as anyone who listens to rock music can tell. The instinct to make GOOD songs is another matter.... - RBW


  1. Creighton-NovaScotia 143, "Sable Island Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. ST CrNS143 (Partial)
  3. Roud #1839
  4. BI, CrNS143


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1932 (Creighton-NovaScotia)
Found in: Canada(Mar)