By the sluggish river Gwydir lived a hungry red-backed spider,
Who was just about as wicked as could be;
An’ the place that he was camped in was an empty Jones’s jam tin
In a paddock near the showgrounds, at Moree.
Near him lay a shearer snoozin’, he had been on beer an’ boozin’
All through the night and all the previous day;
An’ the rookin’ of the rookers an’ the noise of showground spruikers
Failed to wake him from the trance in which he lay.
Then a crafty-lookin’ spieler with a dainty little Sheila
Came along, collectin’ wood to make a fire.
Said the spieler, “He’s a boozer, an’ he’s goin’ to be a loser;
If he isn’t you can christen me a liar.”
“Hustle round and keep nit, honey, while I fan the mug for money
And we’ll have some dainty luxuries for tea.”
But she answered, “Don’t be silly; you go back and boil the billy,
You can safely leave the mug to little me.”
So she circled ever nearer till she reached the dopey shearer
With his pockets bulgin’, fast asleep and snug;
But she didn’t see the spider that was ringin’ close beside her
For her mind was on the money an’ the mug.
The spider sighted dinner. He’d been daily growin’ thinner;
He’d been fastin’ an’ was hollow as an urn.
As she eyed the bulgin’ pocket, he just darted like a rocket
An’ bit the spieler’s Sheila on the stern.
Then the Sheila started squealin’ an’ her clothes she was unpeelin’,
To hear her yells would make you feel forlorn.
One hand the bite was pressin’ while the other was undressin’
An’ she reached the camp the same as she was born.
Then the shearer, pale an’ haggard, woke, an’ back to town he staggered
Where he caught the train an’ gave the booze a rest;
An’ he’ll never know the spider that was camped beside the Gwydir
Had saved him sixty smackers of the best.