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A Bush Lawyer

by
 When Ironbark the turtle came to Anthony's lagoon 
The hills were hid behind a mist of equinoctal rain, 
The ripple of the rivulets was like a cheerful tune 
And wild companions waltzed among the grass as tall as grain.
But Ironbark the turtle cared no whit for all of these; The ripple of the rivulets, the rustle of the trees Were only apple sauce to him, or just a piece of cheese.
Now, Dan-di-dan the water rat was exquisitely dressed, For not a seal in Bass's Straits had half as fine a coat, And every day he combed and brushed his golden-yellow vest, A contrast with the white cravat he wore beneath his throat.
And Dan-di-dan the water rat could move with ease and grace, So Ironbark appeared to him a creature out of place, With iron-plated overcoat and dirty little face.
A crawfish at the point of death came drifting down the drains.
Said he, "I'm scalded to the heart with bathing near the bore.
" The turtle and the water rat disputed his remains, For crawfish meat all day they'd eat, and then they'd ask for more.
Said Dan-di-dan, "The prize is mine, for I was fishing here Before you tumbled down the bank and landed on your ear.
" "I wouldn't care," the turtle said, "if you'd have fished a year.
" So Baggy-beak the Pelican was asked to arbitrate; The scales of justice seemed to hang beneath his noble beak.
He said, "I'll take possession of the subject of debate"; He stowed the fish inside his pouch and then began to speak.
"The case is far from clear," he said, "and justices of note" -- But here he snapped his beak and flapped his piebald overcoat -- "Oh dear," he said, "that wretched fish has slithered down my throat.
" "But still," he said, "the point involved requires a full debate.
I'll have to get the lawyer birds and fix a special day.
Ad interim I rule that costs come out of the estate.
" And Baggy-beak the Pelican got up and flew away.
So both the pair who went to law were feeling very small.
Said they, "We might have halved the fish and saved a nasty brawl; For half a crawfish isn't much, but more than none at all.
"

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