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The Fiddler from Wilson Creek


Rufus L. Porter

When the Victor boom was at its peak
In a cabin built of stone
On the granite banks of Wilson Creek
Lived a Fiddler all alone.

Well, not exactly alone, you see,
For he had one loyal friend;
His fiddle kept him company
Until the very end.

He loved his fiddle as he would a wife
And caressed it with his bow-
The fiddle then would come to life
And murmur sweet and low;

Sweet and low as a cooing dove,
Or sometimes sharp and clear,
It sang to him the words of love
His heart so longed to hear.

Did I say one friend to share his life?
Ah! but he had one other-
For if the fiddle was his wife
The bottle was his brother.

And when the bottle was full of gin
Then the Fiddler's heart was glad
And with the fiddle under his chin
His songs were never sad.

It sang of love reciprocated
Of golden, happys days;
It sang of souls in Heaven mated,
A joyous hymn of praise.

It sang of spring and young love's bloom,
It sang of a maiden fair
Till in the dingy cabin room
You could almost see her there.

It sang of faith, and hope and love,
It sang of life at its best;
Of the happy earth and the stars above
And a home in the Golden West.

But when the bottle was empty quite
Then the fiddler was so blue
The songs he played through the lonely night
Would break your heart in two.

Then the fiddle would weep and moan
And sing of love betrayed
And you'd wish your heart was made of stone
When you heard the things it played.

It sang of shattered hopes and dreams
It sang of wounded pride,
Of counterplots and crooked schemes,
And life on the seamy side.

It sang of lost and loved ones dear,
It sang of a broken heart;
Its song sometimes so sad to hear
It would tear your guts apart.

Time was when the Fiddler's heart was gay
And he led a carefree life,
When he worked in his gold mine every day
And came home to his pretty wife.

For she was a beauty beyond compare,
Right out of the story books;
She'd won a prize at the County Fair
Because of her lovely looks.

But many men have sweat and toiled
To win some pretty prize
Only to find the goods were spoiled
Though pleasing to the eyes.

Some dames are good, some dames are bad,
And some are in between;
But the fickle wife the Fiddler had
Was selfish, cruel and mean.

She'd married the Fiddler for his dough,
She dearly loved the stuff;
And she planned to take it all and blow
When he'd corraled enough.

As the meanest gal since time began
She'd fill the bill, all right;
For she ran off with a gamblin' man
When the Fiddler lost his sight.

She drew his thousands from the bank
And left the Fiddler cold,
Left with a gambler, lean and lank,
Who hungered for the gold.

The Fiddler lay on his hospital cot
And for his wife did grieve-
He didn't know his eyes were shot
Till time for him to leave.

They got him a pension for blinded men
And gave him a pat on the back;
The Fiddler took to drinkin' then
And stuck close to his lonely shack.

And in the years that followed we knew
By the Fiddler's laugh or cry
Whether he had a pint or two,
Or if he was playin' dry.

Then one night when the bottle was dead,
And broken was his bow,
He put a six-gun against his head
And let the hammer go.

We buried him in Sunnyside
Beneath some granite rocks-
His precious fiddle by his side,
A bottle in his box.

But down on the banks of Wilson Creek,
When conditions are just right,
You can still hear his fiddle speak
If you wander there at night.