If poetry tickles your fancy, you probably have heard of a poetic tale starting with ‘There was once a man from Nantucket…”
He had a daughter who fell in love with a man, as the tale goes. She ran away with him and stole her father’s money. Not so long after, she saw the man for who he was and no longer wanted to be with him. Just like the prodigal son, she went back to beg for her father’s forgiveness.
Her father takes her back, and she eventually finds genuine love.
The limerick takes the reader through various emotions and lessons about love and relationships.
Reading the masterpiece, you would be forgiven to think that it was the creation of one poet as the story seamlessly flows to the end.
On the contrary, it is the work of several writers. The first stanza of the limerick was first published in 1902, in the Princeton Tiger, by a writer named Prof Dayton Vorhees. It was later revived and reprinted on June 14, 1924, by Princeton Tiger.
Surprisingly, the Chicago tribune answered with a second stanza. The New York Exchange took over with a third stanza and the Pawtucket Times with the fourth.
Since then, several other writers have introduced different stanzas to create a complete story.
Some years back, Yesterday’s Island, a seasonal newspaper in Nantucket, encouraged its readers to continue the limerick. It has since grown quite long.
Some people have also come up with their unique versions, making the Nantucket limerick a staple of American humor.
Check it out below and see if you can add to the saga by writing a few of your own ‘chapters.’
There once was a man from Nantucket,
Who kept all of his cash in a bucket,
But his daughter, named Nan,
Ran away with a man,
And as for the bucket, Nantucket.
But he followed the pair to Pawtucket,
The man and the girl with the bucket;
And he said to the man,
He was welcome to Nan,
But as for the bucket, Pawtucket.
Then the pair followed Pa to Manhasset,
Where he still held the cash as an asset,
But Nant and the man
Stole the money and ran,
And as for the bucket, Manhasset.
Of this story we hear from Nantucket,
About the mysterious loss of a bucket,
We are sorry for Nan,
As well as the man—
The cash and the bucket, Pawtucket.