“Tickle Cove Pond”


A man hauling wood with his mare "Kitty" takes a short cut across a frozen pond. The horse hesitates to cross the weak ice. The man ignores the horse and they fall in. The man shouts for help and neighbors come to haul the mare out with a chanty song.


A "tickle" is a narrow inlet of water. Tickle Cove is on the north-east coast of Newfoundland. Also, the song has a chanty included in it that is contextualized for the narrative of the song. For a colorful explanation of Newfoundland usage, see Harold Horwood, "Newfoundland" (Toronto: Macmillan of Canada, 1969) 83-84. - SH

The author is named by GEST Songs of Newfoundland and Labrador site.

If you are interested in the Newfoundland song tradition in general and the history of this song in particular be sure to read _Taking Apart "Tickle Cove Pond"_ in Canadian Journal for Traditional Music, vol. 29, 2002 by Philip Hiscock, pp. 32-68, also available in PDF format at //cjtm.icaap.org/content/29/05-Hiscock.pdf. Hiscock does not just discuss the origins of the song. From his abstract: "Nowadays, the song has certain meanings for listeners. This paper suggests they reflect contemporary beliefs and 'imaginings' about Newfoundland's past."

"The tune is derived from the Irish tune 'Tatter [i.e., Father] Jack Walsh,' which also goes by several other names in Ireland." Hiscock, p. 40.

The words of some of the songs Hiscock attributes to Mark Waller may be found at the Bonavista Bay Songs section of the Newfoundland's Grand Banks sites - BS


  • Omar Blondahl, "Tickle Cove Pond" (on NFOBlondahl01,NFOBlondahl05)


  1. Blondahl, pp. 16-17, "Tickle Cove Pond" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Doyle2, pp. 18-19, "Tickle Cove Pond" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Doyle3, pp. 75-76, "Tickle Cove Pond" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. Roud #7313
  6. BI, Doy18


Author: Mark Walker ?
Earliest date: 1940 (Doyle)
Keywords: horse work rescue
Found in: Canada(Newf)