Performed by Kevin Blackmore (more info), Lomond Sound (more info)

Person list


  • Mark Walker


  • Traditional (Irish)

Locations associated with this song:

Background Info:

Mark Walker, the author of this song, is one of Newfoundland's unsung heroes of song. He was born in Tickle Cove, Bonavista Bay, living there and in nearby Sweet Bay in his early life. He was married in Coachman's Cove, White Bay, and spent some summers on the Labrador. He lived the last eighteen years of his life, until he died in 1924, in Boston. His most famous and best-loved song is "Tickle Cove Pond" (also called "Kit on the Pond"). It is the haunting story of a man driving his horse over a frozen pond late in the winter and then breaking through the ice. Neighbours help pull the horse from the water. This song has been revived by Ron Hynes' recording of it.
Dr. Philip Hiscock, Sing Around this One...Songs of Newfoundland & Labrador –Volume 2
© Vinland Music. Reproduced with permission


In cuttin' and haulin', in frost and in snow
We're up against troubles that few people know
And only by patience with courage and grit
And eatin' plain food can we keep ourselves fit.
The hard and the aisey we take as it comes,
And when ponds freeze over we shorten our runs.
To hurry my hauling - the Spring coming on,
Near lost me my mare on Tickle Cove Pond.

Oh, lay hold William Oldford, lay hold William White,
Lay hold of the cordage and pull all your might,
Lay hold of the bowline and pull all you can,
And give me a lift for poor Kit on the pond.

I knew that the ice became weaker each day,
But still took the risk and kept hauling away.
One evening in April, bound home with a load,
The mare showed some halting against the ice road
And knew more than I did, as matters turned out,
And lucky for me had I joined in her doubt.
She turned 'round her head, and with tears in her eyes,
As if she were saying, "You're risking our lives."

All this I ignored with a whip-handle blow,
For man is too stupid dumb creatures to know.
The very next minute the pond gave a sigh,
And down to our necks went poor Kitty and I.
For if I had taken wise Kitty's advice,
I never would take the short cut on the ice;
"Poor creature she's dead and poor creature she's gone;
I'll ne'er get my wood off Tickle Cove Pond."

I raised an alarm you could hear for a mile
And neighbours turned up in a very short while.
You can always rely on the Oldfords and Whites
To render assistance in all your bad plights.
To help a poor neighbour is part of their lives;
The same I can say for their children and wives.
When the bowline was fastened around the mare's breast
William White for a shanty song made a request.

There was no time for thinking, no time for delay,
So straight from his head came this song right away:
"Lay hold William Oldford, lay hold William White,
Lay hold of the hawser and pull all your might,
Lay hold to the bowline and pull all you can"
And with that we brought Kit out of Tickle Cove Pond.
from Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland, 2nd ed.

See lyrics on a page by themselves