The Preacher and the Bear

(The Story of) The Preacher and the Bear

Words and music by Joe Arzonia, 1904.


Well, a preacher he went out hunting.
‘Twas on one Sunday morn’.
‘Course it was against his ‘ligion,
But he took along his gun.

Shot himself some very fine quail,
And one big measly hare,
And on his way returning home,
He met a great big grizzly bear.

The bear marched out to the middle of the road
And he walked to the coon, you see.
That coon got so excited
That he climbed up a ‘simmon tree.

The bear got down upon the ground
And the coon climbed out on a limb.
Cast his eyes to the lawd in the skies,
These the words he said to him,

“Oh lawdy, did you sure deliver Daniel from the lion’s den.
Also deliver Jonah from the belly of the whale, and then,
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, so the good book do declare.
Lawd, if you can’t help me, put a muzzle on the big black bear.”

That coon he stayed up in that tree
Well, I think it was all night.
Sayin’, “Now lawd if you don’t help me
You’re gonna see one awful fight.”

‘Bout that time the limb let go,
And the coon came tumbling down.
Y’oughta seen him get his razor¹ out
Just before he struck the ground.

He struck the ground a-cuttin’ right and left
And he put up a very game fight.
The bear then grabbed that coon,
And he hugged him a little too tight.

The coon ‘en lost his razor¹,
But the bear held on with a-vim.
Cast his eyes to the lawd in the skies,
And he once more said to him,

“Oh lawdy, did you sure deliver Daniel from the lion’s den.
Also deliver Jonah from the belly of the whale, and then,
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, so the good book do declare.
Lawd, if you can’t help me, put a muzzle on the big black bear.

Oh lawdy, did you sure deliver Daniel from the lion’s den.
Also deliver Jonah from the belly of the whale, and then,
The Hebrew children from the fiery furnace, so the good book do declare.
Lawd, if you can’t help me, put a muzzle on the big black bear.”


Transcribed from Columbia 14045-D, as sung by Riley Puckett, recorded September 30, 1925.


¹ Puckett pronounces razor as “rɑːzər” (“rah-zer”), as did Arthur Collins in his recordings.