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"One dark day in the middle of the night..." | 02-Jun-05

One dark day in the middle of the night,
two dead men got up to fight.
Back to back they faced eachother,
Drew their swords and shot eachother.
If you don't believe the story's true
Ask the blind man, he saw it too!

210 comments have been made on this quote. Click here to read them and then add your own!


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Comments:

It goes, as I remember hearing it "One dark day in the middle of the night,2 dead men got up to fight. A a blind man came to see fair play. A dumb man came to shout 'hooray' ..then on with what you have.
Sorry, no references at all
margaret burn

one fine day in the middle of the night
two dead men got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
the blind man saw it
the deaf man heard it and the man with no legs ran for help.

A paralysed donkey passing by
Kicked the blind man in the eye
Knocked him through a nine inch wall
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all

Thats all i can remember!! there are many different versions knocking around, i learned it when i was 10 (1995) from my grandfather and he learned it from his and so on...
Ask the oldies, they seem to know it!
Catherine anon

The version I know goes...
Early in the morning, in the middle of the night, two dead men got up to fight. one was blind and one couldn't see and cockeyed Kelly was the referee. back to back they face each other, drew their swords and shot each other.

Sorry, but I can only cite my grandfather!
Louis Alfieri

Early in the morning in the middle of the night,
two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
a deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and killed the two dead boys
He took them in to court and said
these two boys I have found dead.

My dad used to quote this to us back in the 60's and 70's when I was a kid.
Dottie Baumgarten

My great uncle used to recite this among others, and it has another couplet...
...drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and shot the two dead boys.
If you don't believe....
Theo Tierney

My family version is:

The sun shone bright in the middle of the night
When two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and killed the two, dead boys

A hungry lion, stuffed with straw
Was eating boiled potatoes raw....

My dad used to recite more but he cannot remember any longer.
Cheers

I Yeomans

Ah technology. I just recited the above version of this tonight to a neighbor's son. He got quite a kick out of it so I decided to try and discover the origins.

I heard this in the early 80's from a cousin of mine. Sorry I can shed no light on its origins but I would be very pleased to understand them further.
Mike Mullen

"One fine day in the middle of the night" (Journal Versions)
1. One fine day in the middle of the night,
2. Two dead boys* got up to fight, [*or men]
3. They lived on the corner, in the middle of the block,
4. On the second floor of a vacant lot.
5. One was blind and the other couldn't, see
6. So they chose a dummy for a referee.
7. A blind man went to see fair play,
8. A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"
9. Back to back they faced each other,
10. Drew their swords and shot each other,
11. A deaf policeman heard the noise,
12. And came to arrest the two dead boys,
13. A paralysed donkey passing by,
14. Kicked the blind man in the eye,
15. Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
16. Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
17. A mute onlooker shrieked in fright
18. And a lame man danced at the ghastly sight
19. If you don't believe this story?s true,
20. Ask the blind man he saw it too!

JP PJ

As to the history of ?One Fine Day?? it appears to have evolved from tangle-worded couplets. The earliest known example of this type of humor appeared in the manuscript of Land of Cockaigne about 1305 and a 15th century manuscript in the Bodleian Library.

In a similar form the lines remained in Scottish tradition to the mid 19th century in the Lying Song . The 16th century English folksong Martin Said to his Man is a drunken exchange of impossibilities between a master and his servant, each of whom is attempting to outdo the other. The song includes such lines as: "I saw a mouse chase a cat, saw the cheese eat a rat" and "I saw a maid milk a bull, every pull a bucket full"

In one form or another the modern version of Two Dead Boys, including many orphan pieces, has been collected from children in playgrounds since the middle of the 19th century. A detailed study with examples collected throughout the British Isles since the turn of the 20th century can be found in Iona and Peter Opie?s The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren [1959, Oxford. Oxford University Press, pp. 24-29].



"One fine day in the middle of the night" (Journal Versions)
1. One fine day in the middle of the night,
2. Two dead boys* got up to fight, [*or men]
3. They lived on the corner, in the middle of the block,
4. On the second floor of a vacant lot.
5. One was blind and the other couldn't, see
6. So they chose a dummy for a referee.
7. A blind man went to see fair play,
8. A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"
9. Back to back they faced each other,
10. Drew their swords and shot each other,
11. A deaf policeman heard the noise,
12. And came to arrest the two dead boys,
13. A paralysed donkey passing by,
14. Kicked the blind man in the eye,
15. Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
16. Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
17. A mute onlooker shrieked in fright
18. And a lame man danced at the ghastly sight
19. If you don't believe this story?s true,
20. Ask the blind man he saw it too!

JP PJ

One dark day in the middle of the night,
two dead men got up to fight.
A blind man came to see fair play.
A dumb man came to shout hooray.
Back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other.
An old dead donkey passing by,
kicked the blind man in the eye,
knocked him through a nine inch wall,
into a dry ditch that drowned them all.

The version from Norfolk that my grandfather told me. Roger Carter

Another version from Peter Wood of West Sussex goes:-

One dark day in the middle of the night
Two tom cats knocked at my door
I went downstairs to let them in
They knocked me down with a rolling pin
ROGER CARTER

Sorry,but I have no idea on the origin of this poem, or any other referances, but our family rendition goes like this:

One dark day, in the middle of the night,
two dead brothers got up to fight.
Back to back, they faced each other,
drew their swords and each shot the other.
The deaf policeman heard the noise,
and came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don't beleive my story is true,
ask the blind man:he saw it too.

I happened to choose it for a school talent show(as a skit), and some of the teachers showed some interest in it, so I decided to research, but to no avail, at least not so far. If I ever do find something, I'll inform this web-site. I had not heard the other additions to the poem, so thank you for that.
Ammon Boone

one dark day in the middle of the night the pasific ocean caught a light the blind man saw it the deaf man heard it and the dumb man rang the firs brigade.
Kelly Greene

one dark day in the middle of the night the pacific ocean caught alight the blind man saw it the deaf man heard it and the blind man rang the fire brigade
Kelly Greene

the poem is called one fine day!
nicole johnson

I have heard a similar poem, told by my Auntie Julie which in turn was passed down from my Grandmother. It goes "one dark night in the middle of the ocean
a fire broke out
a deaf man heard it
a blind man saw it
a man with no legs went runing for a fire engine
the fire engine came tearing round the corner on two dead horses
ran over a dead cat and nearly killed it" and that is as much as I can remember!!!
Nicholas Beckingham

I am also looking to see where I can buy original. I am interrested in knowing if I remember it right.
I do have a longer memory of it and have seen a lot of variations of it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Hobo's and Tramps
Cross-eyed moquitoes and bow - legged ants
I'm here before you to stand behind you
to tell you a story which I know nothing about
Admission is free, pay at the door
So pull up a chair and sit on the floor.
One day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight back to back they faced each other pulled out their swords and shot each other a deaf policeman heard the noise and came to arrest the two dead boys if you don't believe this tale is true ask the blind man he saw it too.
Maria Bartosz

I preformed this in my english class as following,
"Ladies and Gentelmen, hobos and tramps.
Bug eyed mosqiutos and bowlegged ants.
I come before you yet to sit beside you
To tell you a story I know nothing about.
So come right in out the door.
Pull up a chair to sit on the floor.
One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
They lived on the corner, in the middle of the block,
On the second floor of a vacant lot.
Back to back they faced eachother
Drew their swords and shot one another
A deaf policeman heard the noice
Came and killed those two dead boys
If you don't believe my story is true
Ask the blind man he saw it too
Roboto: But a lame donkey walking by
Kicked the blind man in the eye
Knocked him through a rubber wall
Into a dry ditch and drown them all.
And as narrator, With my story untold,
Meekly whispered, Loud and bold,
The beginning words, To the meeting's end,
You, my enemy, Are now my friend."
Shannon Goodman

My wonderful father taught me this version in my early chidhood about 1937/40;
It wasn't last night but the night before, two tomcats came knocing on my door,
I went downstairs to let them in and they knoked me down with a rolling pin
Norman Hurst

This is how I remember it.

One dark night in the middle of the day
Two dead boys went out to play,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
The deaf policeman heard the noise,
And shot the two dead boys,
Now if you believe this lie isn't true,
Ask the blind man he saw it to.
Angela Schappert

I heard it as...
One dark day in the middle of the night two dumb boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other drew their swords and shot the other. A deaf police man heard this noise came and arrested those two dumb boys...
Charles Martin

?One midsummer?s winter night two dead boys got up to fight back to back they faced each other drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise and came and shot those two dead boys.
This version was taught to me by my dad who learned it from his dad
Lately I?ve been trying to fined out more about the poem and when I did some research on it I found out there are a lot of variations of the poem and the one my dad taught me
Seems pretty deferent from the other versions but until recently it was the only one I knew.

Kevin Pleasant

one fine day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got into a fight.
Back to back they faced each othe, they drew their swords and shot each other.
the deaf policemen heard the noise and came to arrest those two dead boys.
but if you think my lies not true, then ask the blindman he saw it too.
Danny Goldfeld

This poem (the version you show) was in a literature textbook used at Blacksburg High School, Blacksburg, Virignia, in the 1980s.
Heather Chadwick

I learned this in the fourth grade in 1972 and my kids have always loved it. My daughter is using it as a monologue for her acting class. I learned it like this:
Ladies, and Gentlemen, Hobos and Tramps, Crossed eyed Mosquitoes and Bow legged ants. I come here before you, to sit down behind you to tell you a story I know nothing about. One night in the middle of the day, 2 dead boys arose in a fight, back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other. A deaf policeman heard the noise and legless came running with his legless hound. If you don't believe me, ask the blind man, he saw it too.
Brian Carlisle

i heard it this way
One dark night in the middle of the day
Two dead boys went out to play
Back to back they faced eachother
Drew their swords and shot eachother
A deaf police man heard the noise
And beat the life out of the two dead boys
If you dont believe me ask me blind friend
He saw the whole thing
Katie Westfall

I have heard this since i was little and then one day about 10 years ago, someone told me there was more. I can't remember the guys name but he must have said 15 -20 verses! The way I have always heard was this;

One dark night, in the middle of the day,
two dead boys went out to play.
Back to back they faced each other,
pulled out knives and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
and came and killed the two dead boys.

That was all i knew as a kid, in the 70's

P. Lytle
p.s. we also used to osing the song about the worms!!

Did you ever think when a hearse goes by, that you may be the next one to die. They wrap you up in a great big sheet and throw you down about six feet. The worms crawl in, the worms crawl out, the worms play pinochle on your snout, and the puss runs out like whipping cream and me without a spoon!!

gross huh!!!
p. lytle

When I was younger my mom used to recite a version of this all the time. It was:

One morning in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came and shot those two dead boys

There might have been more but that's all I can remember right now, considering it's 4 in the morning.
Rachel Mann

I learned a version that goes like this:One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
He came and killed those two dead boys
One bright day in the middle of the night
As I was walkin' up the stair
I saw a man who wasn't there
He wasn't there again today
Oh how I wish he'd go away

Jaybird sittin' on a hickory limb
He winked at me and I winked at him
His eyes were red and his teeth were green
Sat there pickin' on a tambourine

(chorus) One bright day in the middle of the night

A monkey and a flea and three blind mice
Sat on a curbstone shootin' dice
The monkey did a flip and fell on the flea
The flea said, "Whoops, there's a monkey on me"

A Twinkie and a Tastykake knockin' at the door
They just come from the mini-mart store
Granny went upstairs to get her gun
Should-a seen the Twinkie and the Tastykake run

(chorus) One bright day in the middle of the night

As I was walkin' down the street
Who do ya think I chanced to meet?
It was Godzilla and old King Kong
Stompin' on buildings and singin' a song

Red and blue and delicate green
The King can't catch it 'n' neither can the Queen
Bring it in the house through the 'lectric socket
Catch a rainbow and put it in your pocket

(chorus) One bright day in the middle of the night

If you don't believe these lies are true
Ask the blind man, he saw it too
thru a knot hole in the barbed wire fence


cassidy mccarty

There's also the version from my playground days, 30's/40's.

One fine day in the middle of the night
Not last night but the day before
Two dead men came knocking at the door
I opened the door to let them in
They knocked me down with a rolling pin
I shut the door to let them out
They knocked me down with a bottle of stout.. Sorry can't remember any more
John Soulsbury

My mother used to quote it as...

"One fine day in the middle of the night, two dead boys stood up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other. Deaf policemen heard the noise and came to save the two dead boys. If you don't believe this tale is true, ask the blindman, he saw it too.
Jessica Hill

my friends and i have always said it this way-
"Ladies and Gentelmen, hobos and tramps.
Cross-eyed mosqiutos and bowlegged ants.
I come before you to sit behind you
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Thursday, the day after Friday,
There will be a Mother's Day meeting for Fathers only,
the Admission is free, you can pay at the door,
Pull up a chair to sit on the floor,
Because one dark day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys stood up to fight
Back to back they faced eachother
Drew their swords and shot one another
A blind man came to see fair play,
A mute man came to shout "Horray!"
A deaf policeman heard the noise and
Came and killed those two dead boys
If you don't believe this lie is true
Just ask the blind man, he saw it too.

Victoria Humblydum

this is how i know the poem..

One dark day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys began to fight
back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came to check upon the two dead boys
that lived on the corner in the middle of the block

this is how it was told to me when i was about 8. I've never known the rest of it and neither has my mother but she told it to me how it was told to her.
victoria taylor

I remember this poem from Junior School. It was in a peotry book for children. This is how I remeber it: One dark night in the middle of the day, 2 dumb boys got up to fight, back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.
Donna Taylor

I rememeber this also from grade school.
Our teacher Jackie MacNeil taught it to us.

One dark day in the middle of the night two dead men got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other drew their swords and shot each other.

A deaf policeman heard all the noise came right over and shot the two dead boys .

If you don't believe this lie is true ask the blind man he saw it too!
Darlene Schmitt

jessica hill was the closest to my family's one so far. my grandpa says it all the time

"Early in the Morning, Middle of the night,
Two Dead Boys Got up to fight,
back to back they faced each other
drew there swords and shot each other
a deaf policeman heard the noise and came and saved those two dead boys
if you don't believe this lie is true, u ask the blind man, he saw it too!
Garrick Fuller

This is the way I remembered it:
One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot one another.

A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and killed the two dead boys
This story was told by a dumb man,
Sitting at the corner of a round table
Eating cherries from a plain cake.
Roxanne Benson-Mackey

yes i no this poem very well lol apart from i say it abit different that you. www.folklore.bc.ca/Onefineday.htm
try that link its the whole version of the poem
adel h

Two tomcats came knocking at my door ....
Patricia Long

One fine day in the middle of the night,
two dead men got up to fight,
back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other.

A very deaf police man heard this noise,
and came and shot those two dead boys.
L C

My maternal grandfather James Thayer from Kansas recited that to me in about 1950 and his version was very similar, except it started like this:

It was the middle of December
On the fourth of July
The rain was snowing sweetly,
There was mud in the sky


Laraine Hruby

I heard this poem when i was a kid back in the UK in the eighties and have been trying to find it ever since i was very surprised to find that a lot more people were looking for it also, i would love to also find it so i can finish it, anyway this is what i heard... In the dead of night , when the sun was bright, two dead men got up to fight, back to back they faced each other, drew there swords and chot each other, a deaf policeman heard the noise....... and thats all i can remember.... please help.
Jo Hilton

In Grandad Harry's version it's 'a paper tissue wall' not a nine inch one
Boz B

Re Norman hurst..relative/
I dreamt last night the night befpore
Two tomcats came a knocking at my door.
I went downstairs to let them in and
They knocked me over with a rolling pin.,

Soo I up with my foot and kicked them in the.. and so on and on
Keith Weaven

I am pretty sure that these are colloquial rhymes told in different forms around the country. I am equally convinced that there are several different ones mixed up together here. Reasons - I have moved around the country quite a bit and have heard different parts of this as separate rhymes in different parts of the country.

Can't remember the exact words to all of them now but the groupings are as follows:-

One find day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
The dumb dog barked at it
The deaf man heard it
The blind man saw it
And the man with no legs ran for help
The policeman came (can't remember what it was about the policeman or what came next until...)
The hearse came pulled by two dead horses
Up jumped the dead men and ran away.


The other one I'm sure of is:-

Mother's meeting; Fathers invited,
Children can come if they don't get exited.
Admission free - pay at the door,
Bring your own chair, sit on the floor.

Somewhere along the line was also a list of contradictory instructions to various persons, culminating in....

...... stand up, sit down,
Shut your mouth and bark, dog!
Jennifer Shoesmith

I have known this poem for as long as I can remember. My former in-laws were very upset with me for teaching it to my son because it mentions dead people. Here is the version we know:

Early in the morning in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.

They lived on a corner in the middle of the block,
In a two-story house on a vacant lot.

A deaf policeman heard the noise
And beat the life out of those two dead boys.

If you don't believe this story is true,
Just ask the blind man. He saw it too.

Shawn Roeder

My dad said he learned this poem in school

One dark night in the middle of the day
Two dead boys got up to play
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
The deaf policeman hearing their cries
Came to arrest the two dead boys

Judi Head

second from the last line is wrong. It should read "if you belive this story untrue" and before it should be "the deaf policeman heard the noise and came and shot the two dead boys"
Dawn S

I do not feel that their is any wrong or right version to this poem. there is to many versions in to many places. the true, origianal version is most likely lost for good. In fact it may have been totaly diferent from the tail of today. It might have made sence!
my version seems a bit shorter than some and longer than others;

1.One fine day in the middle of the night(they r in Alaska were the days r dark)

2.two dead boys got up to fight(there are dead in the sence that they r in big trouble)

3.back to back the faced each other(one way is there is a mirror in front of ech of them so they can see the other-anouther is that the world is round so while you are facing away you r also facing toward)

4.drew there swords and short each other(while it says the had swords it doesnt say they didnt have guns)


5.a deaf policeman heard the noise(while he may have bee deaf that doesnt mean he could hear a little)

6.and came and killed those two dead boys(same answer as line 2)

7. now if you dont believe my tail

8. go ask the blind man he saw it too(never siad he was blind at the time, just now)

Katherin Givens

One dark night in the middle of the day
The ocean caught on fire
The blind man saw it
The deaf man heard it
The man with no legs ran to get the engine
Along came the engine drawn by two dead donkeys
ran over a dog and half killed it
Mary Scullard

My husband and I were only talking about this the other day. We both thought that it came from Alice in Wonderland but obviously not. My version is :
One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
Jeannette Melville

Hi
I remember it as
not last night but the night before 2 tom cats came knocking at my door
I went downstairs to let them in, they knocked me down with a rolling pin
steve noakes

I remember this from my poetry book way back in Grade 8. I liked it so much, I memorized it and frequently repeat it to my students. This is the version that was in my poetry book and the one I still enjoy sharing:

In the middle of the night, as the sun shone bright,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot the other,
When the deaf man heard the noise,
He came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don't believe this lie is true,
Ask the blind man - he saw it, too!

Jenny W

I learnt this poem when I was ten years old growing up in South Africa. The version I remember goes something like this:

Ladies and gentleman,
I stand before you to stand behind you,
to tell you a story I know nothing about.
The entrance is free,
so pay at the door,
grab a seat and sit on the floor.
Shall we begin now!!

One fine day, in the middle of the night,
two dead men got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other.

Now, the deaf man heard, the blind man saw, the dumb man called an ambulance.
The ambulance came screetching around a straight corner, killing a dead cat that had died half an hour ago.

Now this story was told by a young man of 80, sitting at the corner of a round table,
whilst eating his soup with knife and fork,
and burning his mouth on cold potatoe.

The End

I seem to recall that there may have been a second verse. There might be some link to some of the other lines mentioned in some of the other versions read within these pages.

Gavin Walrond (Chichester, UK)

Gavin Walrond

Sorry, no idea where this poem started but I learned it differently.

One dark day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew out their swords and shot each other
The deaf police man heard all the noise
He went out and shot those two dead boys
And if you don't believe that my lie is true
Ask the blind man, he saw it too!
Michelle Bailey

this is how i've heard it, and i like it this way better:





Ladies and gentlemen
Hobos and tramps
Cockeyed mosquitoes
and bull legged ants
Admission is free
you may pay at the door
pull out a seat
and sit on the floor
One fine day
in the middle of the night
They lived on the corner,
in the middle of the block,
On the second
floor of a vacant lot.
Two dead boys
got up to fight
back to back
they faced each other
pulled out a sword
and shot each other
a deaf police man
heard the noise
and came to shoot
the two dead boys
if you don?t believe
this lie is rue
ask the blind man
he saw it too
and the narrarator
with his story untold
weekly whispered
loud and bold
the beginning words
to the meetings end
you, my enemy
are now my friend

brittany hahn

my mum had a dream last night about this rhyme one fine day in the middle of the night i gave myself a terrible fright looked in the mirror what did i see no reflection looking back at me then one day you all came i looked and saw it there again
AMANDA TROTTER

the way it ran in our family:

One dark day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot one another.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And promptly arrested those two dead boys.
If you don't believe this tale (it's tall)
Ask the blind man, she saw it all.


Only remember a snippet of this one, tho:

it was summer in the winter
and the snow was raining fast
a barefoot boy with shoes on
stood sitting in the grass...
Sue Downing

One dark day in the middle of the night,
two dead men got up to fight.
Back to back they faced eachother,
Drew their swords and shot eachother.

This is the only part I know, but loved reading other versions on here. My Dad told me this rhym as a child in the 60's.

Fab web site, really takes me back to my childhood. Long forgotten ditties my dad would teach me as a child are here.
Gwen Flockton

one dark day in the middle of the night
the pasific ocean caught a light
the blind man saw it
the deaf man heard it
and a man with no legs ran for help
a fire engine came tearing round the corner on two dead horses
ran over a dead cat and nearly killed it.
two days later they saw the dead cat they almost killed,
found their knives and went to shot it

thats my favorite version, but i love everyones!!!
Nick Chirgwin

I have some poems similar to these, which are:

One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other.

One fine day in the middle of the night
The ocean set on fire
The blind man saw it
The deaf man heard it
And the man with no legs
Went to fetch the fireman.

Not last night but the night before
Three tom cats came knocking at my door
One had a fiddle
One had a drum
And one had a pancake stuck to its bum.

In the merry month of Liverpool, the city of July
The rain was snowing heavily, the streets were soaking dry
I went to the pictures tomorrow and took a front seat at the back
A lady gave me some sweeties, I ate them and gave them her back
She gave me a punch in the stomach which broke my front bone at the back
Amission free, pay at the door
Take a good seat and sit on the floor.

Liz Barrett

Has anyone ever heard or know the origin of:

One June day in August, the snow was falling fast.
A barefooted boy with his shoes on, stood sitting in the grass.
Out in the middle of the ocean, a streetcar came in sight - it kicked up dust nd rained all day that night.

Anyone? anyone?
Chad Habig


My Grandad used to recite a poem to me :

"I went up the street, round the corner,
to see a dead donkey die.
I took out my pistol and stabbed him ........

I don't know anymore - does anyone else?
Jane Willmore

Mym mum would say this to me when I was little:
'Twas a dark and stormy night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A blind man came to see fair play
And a fella without legs chased them away
Lynn Phillips

Ladies & gentlemen, hobos & tramps, cross-eyed mosquitoes and bull-legged ants:

I stand before you to sit behind you to tell you a story I know nothing about.

But first a few announcements:

As you know, next Thursday is Good Friday. A meeting will be held at the boys' YWCA. Men only, women invited. Bring your own chair and sit on the floor. Admission is free, pay at the door.

Now back to our story ...

One bright day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight. They stood back to back facing each other, drew out their swords and shot each other.

Two deaf policemen heard the noise, ran to the place and shot the dead boys.

And if you don't believe me, ask the blind man on the corner. He saw the whole thing.
Shelley M

This is the version my grandad used to say to me..quite ironic given he was blind !!

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight.

Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.

A blind man stood to watch fair play,
A deaf and dumb man to shout'hooray'.

A paralysed donkey came walking by and kicked the blind man right in the eye !!
Paul Smailes

My mom taught this to me when I was a small child in northern Indiana. The version I know goes like this:

One dark night in the middle of the day
Two dead boys came out to play
Back to back they faced each other
Pulled out their knives and shot each other
The deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and got those two dead boys
Amanda R

My husband taught me this version in 1980 and I still love it today. We used to amuse the children with this when they were young:-
One dark day, in the middle of the night,
two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back, they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot the other.
The deaf policeman heard the noise,
and came to arrest the two dead boys.
If you don't beleive my truthful lie;
ask the blind man - he saw it too.

Jane Bennett

My Dad use to tell the story a like this back in the early 50's

One dark day in the middle of the night
Two dead men go up to fight
One was blind and the couldn't see
and Bull Dog Jones was referee
Back to back they faced each other
pulled out their swords and shot each other.
The cop on the corner heard the noise
Came an saved both the boys.

Gayle Webb

The famous speaker who no one had heard of said:
Ladies of the men?s club,
I stand before you to sit behind you
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Thursday, which is Good Friday,
There?s a Mother's Day meeting for fathers only;
Wear your best clothes if you have none.
Please come if you can't; if you can, stay at home.
Admission is free, pay at the door;
Pull up a chair and sit on the floor.
It makes no difference where you sit,
The man in the gallery's sure to spit.
The show is over, but before you go,
Let me tell you a story I don't really know.

One bright morning in the middle of the night
Identical twins got up to fight.
One was black, one was white,
Both their mothers, in a state of fright.
They lived on the corner, in the middle of the block,
On the second floor of a vacant lot.
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other.
They fell to the ground,
From the holes they were in,
One from without,
One from within.
Up the hill their bodies did roll,
Like a golf ball on its way to a goal.
They rolled and they flipped,
They rolled and they flopped,
Until finally their bodies hit bottom and dropped.
They sprang from the holes
They'd never been in
And started to duel all over again.
One was blind and the other couldn't, see
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout "hooray!"
A paralyzed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a nine inch wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all,
A mute onlooker shrieked in fright
And a lame man danced at the ghastly sight.
A cop who was there,
Just stood on the side,
And watched with such glee,
As he painfully cried.
He saw the boys rise,
He saw the boys fall,
He saw how short they were,
At seven feet tall.
Then he started to think,
In a blinding slow flash,
I'll tell the whole world what I saw,
And they'll all pay me cash,
To hear of my story,
Of this I'm quite sure,
And when the money's all in,
My blindness I'll cure.
Although deceased, the two boys sued.
The blind judge noticed, they were both subdued.

"The law's the law! You both must hang!"
"In the electric chair", the jury sang.
"We're sorry", cried the two dead boys.
"We thought the swords were just plain toys"

Their bodies did lay, side by side,
In unknown graves, marked "Hare Nor" "Hide"
You never knew which did the errands,
Identical twins, 'cept for their parents.

All old children, please beware,
Of killing dead boys, anywhere.
You must learn, that once you do,
They might come back, and then sue you.
if you don?t believe my tale is true
Ask the blind man he saw it too.


I put a bunch of versions together and used it for a report. :)
Lloyed nobody

The Poem of opposites

Ladies of the mens club
I come before you to stand behind you
To tell you a tale I know notheing about
Admission is free so pay at the door
Pull up a chair and sit on the floor

One bright day in the middle of the night
2 dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policemen heard the noise
And came and shot those two dead boys
If you don't beleive this lie is true
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.
Indys Sdaohr

Ladies and Gentlemen
Gents and Germs
Cock-eyed Misquitos
And bull-legged worms
Admission is free
Pay at the door
Pull up a chair
And sit on the floor

One dark sunny night
Two dead boys came out to fight
Back to back they faced eachother
Drew their swords and shot eachother
A deaf police man heard this noise
Came running to kill these two dead boys
If you dont believe this lie is true
Ask the blind man
He saw it all too.
Cindy Segade

These comments are fascinating.
My father used to say the following rhyme to me in the 1940s which must be a regional variation on teh ame theme.
Not last night but the night before
Two tom cats came knocking at my door.
I went downstairs to let them in and they knocked me over with a rolling pin.
..... there was a lot more and that is what I was hoping to find but there seems no definitive answer.
Marian Rochester

I remember it as,

One dark day in the middle of the night,
Two dead man got up to fight
The blind man went to see fair play
The dumb man went to shout, 'hooray!'
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

I knew the 'Ladies and Gentlemen' poem as separate and that one I remember as,

Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys,
I stand before you to sit behind you
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Thursday, which is Good Friday,
There's a Mother's Day meeting for fathers only;
Admission is free, you pay at the door,
Pull up a chair and sit on the floor

I think both of these are in 'Far Out Brussel Sprout' which I owned as a kid (90s)
Peta Emma

not last night the hight before two tom cats came knocing at my door
james cawley

One dark day
In middle of the night
Two dead boys
Got up to fight
Back to back
They faced each other
Drew their swords
And shot each other
A deaf policeman
Heard the noise
Came and shot
The two dead boys
If you don't believe
This lie is true
Ask the blind man
He saw it too
Lisette Jones

This is a version that I've seen:

Ladies and gentlemen, skinny and stout
I'll tell you a tale I know nothing about
The admission is free so bay at the door
now pull up a chair and sit on the floor

One fine day in the middle of the night'
two dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other

A blind man came to watch fair play
a mute man came to shout "hooray!"
a deaf policeman heard the noise
and came to stop the two dead boys

He lived on the corner in the middle of the block
in a two story house on a vacant lot
a man with no legs came walking by
and kicked the lawman in the thigh

he crashed through a wall without making a sound
into a dry ditch and suddenly drowned
a long black hearse came to cart him away
but he ran for his life and is still gone today

I watched from the corner of a big round table
the only eyewitness to the facts of my fable
but if you doubt my lies are true
just ask the blind man he saw it too.

The one I learned was the simple version
One fine day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other

A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came to kill the two dead boys
if you dont believe my lies are true
ask the blind man, he saw it too!
Cailin Dockery

One dark day in the middle of the night, two dead boys began to fight. Back to back they faced each other, pulled out their knives and shot each other. A deaf policeman heard the noise, came out and shot the two dead boys. If you don't believe this story I've told, ask Joe the blind man he saw it all.
Ron Fitzgerald

the version i am ware of goes like this

I come before you
to sit behind you
to tell you a story
i know nothing about
one sunday
on black friday
i went to a mothers meeting
for fathers only
admission was free
so i paid at the door
i pulled up a chair
and sat on the floor
first we watched a play
about an empty dump truck
full of bricks
that ran over a dead cat
and almost killed it
then we heard a tale
about one dark day
in the middle of the night
two dead boys who got up to fight
back to back
they faced each other
drew their swords
and shot one another
a blind man who stood to watch fair play
got scared and ran away
a deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and killed
the two dead boys
i come before you
to sit behind you
to tell you a story
i know nothing about
if you dont believe
these lies are true
just ask the blind man
he saw it too

Robert Langley

In the earliy 70's my mother passed along the story as she knew it:

Ladies and Gentlemen, Horses and Fleas,
bow-legged ants and hump-backed bees,
I'm here to address you, not to undress you,
to tell you of something I know nothing about,
One sunny day in the middle of the night,
Two dead soldiers rose to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest those 2 dead boys,
If you don't believe this story's true,
Just ask the blind man, he saw it, too!
Dave G.

My mum used to say this (50 years ago):
Ladies and gentlemen, cats dogs and policemen,
The next song will be a dance, sung by a well-known female man,
Sitting at the corner of a round table,
bare-footed with his father's clogs on,
eating plain buns with currants in.
He went upstairs and shut the door wide-open.
Those who have forgotten their hymn books, please look on with those who haven't got one
There will now be a silver collection, including brass buttons, and next week's minister will be pinned upon the notice-board.

I have no evidence, but this rambling version sounds to me to be typical of the work of Billy Bennett - musichall entertainer of the early 20th Century
Geoff Biby

In reply to Mariona Rochester.
My father also told me this version but in the 1950's. His version was; Not last night but the night before two tom cats came knocking at my door. I went down to let them in and they knocked me down with a rolling pin. The rolling pin was made of brass and they picked me up and smacked my ass. I have not heard any other variations to this ending but would like to know if there are any and its origin.
Catherine Edwards

The real poem goes like this: "One bright day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight; back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other; a deaf policeman head the noise, came and shot the two dead boys; now if you don't believe this lie is true, just ask the blind man because he saw it, too." Sometime in the early 60's Roger and I got together to write a poem he needed to publish in Boy's Life, the Boy Scout Magazine, to help him earn his eagle scout ranking. Boy's Life subsequently published the poem, giving credit to Roger McFarland, but I don't remember exactly when. Roger, my cousin, sent me a copy of the clipping. Roger later graduated from the Naval Academy and lives in Virginia somewhere now I believe. I have not had contact with him for years. We wrote the poem together, but technically it belongs to him because he was the first to have it published.
Roger McFarland

it starts one fine day in the middle of the night
emilly moorrry

I don't know what the original is but I put some of the ones that I read into one.

Ladies and gentlemen, hobos and tramps; bug eyed mosquitoes and bowlegged ants. I'm here before you to stand behind you, to tell you a story which I know nothing about. So come right in out the door. Pull up a chair and sit on the floor.

One early morning in the middle of the night; two dead boys got up to fight. They lived on the corner, in the middle of the block, on the second floor of a vacant lot. One was blind and the other couldn't see, so they chose a dummy for a referee. A blind man went to see fair play, a dumb man went to shout "hooray!". Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other; a deaf policeman heard the noise and came and killed the two dead boys. A paralyzed donkey passing by, kicked the blind man in the eye, knocked him through a nine inch wall, into a dry ditch and drowned them all. A mute onlooker shrieked in fright; a lame man danced at the ghastly sight. If you don't believe this lie is true, just ask the blind man he saw it too.
Haskel Causey

It may be from a book, "The Education of HYMAN KAPLAN", by Leo Rosten (aka, Leonard Q. Ross).
Tony Wood

It is amazing that this poem in basic form circulated world wide so many years before the internet, telephones and common world travel. My brother's version in rural Oklahoma in the 50s was:
Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps, crossed eyed boys and bow legged girls, pull up a chair and sit on the floor, I'll tell you a story you've heard before, I stand before you, not behind you, to address you not undress you, to tell you of something I know nothing about, early in morning in the middle of the night, two dead boys rose to fight, they turned around and faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other, a deaf policeman heard the noise, came and shot the two dead boys, if you don't believe this lie is true, ask the blind man, he saw it too
Brent's Sister

p.s.: Some times, my recall was that it was cross eyed uncles and bowlegged ants
Brent's Sister

Ladies and gentlemen,
cats and dogs.
Bootlegged mosqutes,
rats and hogs.
I come before you,
to stand behind you,
and tell you of something I know nothing about.
One bright day in the...
D. Smrtkidontor

My mother used to recite this to me:
Not last night but the night before
a fire broke out on the ocean.
A deaf man heard it, a blind man saw it,
A man with no legs ran to the fetch the engine.
The engine came without any horses
Ran over two dead cats and nearly killed them!

That must be old - fire engines led by horses!
Patricia Thomas

This is what I was told a few years ago when first told

I come before you, to stand behind you,
To tell you something I know nothing about.
Admission is free, so pay at the door;
Pull up a chair and sit on the floor:

Early this morning, late last night,
Two dead men rose up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot one 'nother.

A stone-deaf sherrif heard the noise,
And came and killed those two dead boys.
The mute psychotic shrieked in fright,
With words of joy at this ghastly sight.

Now if you doubt this lie is true?
Ask the blind man; he saw it, too.

Bethany Eason

I have always heard it.
Back to back they faced each other
Drew out their swords and shot each other
The deaf policeman heard the noise and come
to find the two dead boys.
If you don't believe my story's true,
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.
Carla Ogletree


Ladies and Gentlemen,
skinny and stout,
I'll tell you a tale I know nothing about.
The Admission is free,
so pay at the door.
Now pull up a chair and sit on the floor.
One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.
A blind man came to watch fair play,
A mute man came to shout "Horray!".
A deaf policeman heard the noise and Came to stop those two dead boys.
He lived on the corner in the middle of the block,
In a two-story house on a vacant lot.
A man with no legs came walking by,
and kicked the lawman in his thigh.
He crashed through a wall without making a sound,
into a dry creek bed and suddenly drowned.
The long black hearse came to cart him away,
But he ran for his life and is still gone today.
I watched from the corner of the big round table,
The only eyewitness to facts of my fable;
But if you doubt my lies are true,
Just ask the blind man,
he saw it too.


Elizabeth Pridgen

When I was a child in 3rd grade I came across a vacant house located in Portland, Or. My two sisters were with me. We went into this house and discovered a hole in the floor. Reaching down into this hole I pulled out a book and written in pencil on the inside cover was this poem. I, for some reason committed it to memory. I am now 61 years old and recited the poem to my daughter telling her the story. The only difference was the ending of the poem. The poem I recall ended as such: .... Drew their swords and shot each other. The deaf policeman heard the noise and came to see what was the matter with the two sick boys. One was dead and the other had died. This ends my story without having lied.

Good Luck ! Trudy Raymond
Trudy Raymond

I remember my father telling us this & lot of other short poems like this.he also use to tell them to other kids at the beach house during the summer.when he passed away all this came out.it was beautiful to know all these kids (now grown up remember this) kids my brother & myself,&dad redid the night before CHRISTMAS a funny version to us. yes you can Email me I will try to get the others .he also told stories about PAUL BUNNION off the top of his head ,no tail was the same .when we asked questions he explained how he made up the stories as he went along and our reactions to the stories. he was in his 80s when he passed I am 66years old & it still bring tears to my eyes even as I type this.silly isn't it.but it feels good & connected
frank fealy

In Montreal (Canada), in the late 80's early 90's, this poem was going around as follows:

Ladies and Gents
Gents and Germs
Cross-eyed Mosquitoes
and bow-legged worms.
Admission is free,
So pay at the door,
Pull up a chair,
or sit on the floor.
One dark night
when the moon was bright
two dead boys
went out to fight.
Back to back,
they faced each other
drew out their swords
and shot each other.
A deaf policeman
heard this noise
and went out to find
these two day boys.
And if you dont
believe it's true,
ask the blind man
he saw it too.
Joanna Brazier

Our family version goes:

One dark day in the middle of the night,
Two dead dogs got up to fight,
One blind man to see fair play,
Two deaf and dumb men to shout hurray,
A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked him through a ten foot wall,
Into a dry ditch,
And drowned them all.

I was taught it by my father, who learned it from his. Where it came from I cannot say, but my grandfather was born in 1892 in Nottingham, and my aunt who was born in 1913 remembered learning it in this form as a child. I never came across it outside the family which is why it meant so much to us. Quite why our's seems to be the only one about dead dogs rather than men or boys I don't know, but I think it works better!
Lee Hallam

I was told it like this

One mid-summer in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
When the deaf police man heard the noise
He came and shot the two dead boys
If you don't believe this story is true,
Go ask the blind man, he saw it too!
Kamra Newton

My dad use to recite this poem to me while we worked on the farm. From what I remember his version went like this:

One fine day in the middle of the night
two dead men got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other.
They jumped in their fords
and galloped away
This all happened on a beautiful day.

There may have been more to it, because it seemed much longer to me as a child, but this is what I have retained.

A Stafs

Immediately after WWII in the alleys of St. Louis, our neighborhood gang of boys knew many ditties and we often recited this version:
One dark night when the moon was bright,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their knives and shot each other.
The deft policeman heard the noise,
Came and shot the two dead boys.
If you don't believe me,
Ask the blind man,
He saw it all.
Don Mooney

i know it as...

Ladles and jellyspoons, hobos and tramps.
Cross-eyed mesquitoes and bow-legged ants
Admission is free, buy your tickets at the door
Pull up a chair and sit on the floor.
I come before you to stand behind you
To tell you something I know nothing about.
I stand upon this speech to make a platform
the train i arrived in has not yet come
so i took a bus and walked
one fine day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
a paralysed donkey walking by
kicked a blind man in the eye
knocked him through a 9 inch wall
into a dry ditch and drowned them all
a deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and shot those two dead boys
If you don't believe this lie that's true,
ask the blind man she saw it too.
Ladles and jellyspoons
I stand upon this speech to make a platform
the train i arrived in has not yet come
so i took a bus
and walked
i come before you to stand behind you
and tell you something i know nothing about
one fine day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
a deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and shot the two dead boys
If you don't believe this lie that's true,
ask the blind man
she saw it too.Ladies and Jellybeans, hoboes and tramps.
Cross-eyed mesquitoes and bow-legged ants.
I come before you, to stand behind you to tell you something I know nothing about.
Next Monday, which is Good Friday
There wil be a Mother's day meeting at the round house with the four square corners.
No admission, pay at the door.
Bring your chairs and sit on the floor.
Katie Bradford

I'm 72 years old and heard different versions from various old timers. As with all folk songs each writes their own stanzas. By the way we are scotch-irish and it was from my dad I learned my poem. I believe JP PJ is right and the phrase, "That's just a bunch of Cockamainie." came.
rex dunlap

The verse as I heard as a child in the early 70's:

One dark night in the middle of the day...
Two dead boys came out to play...
Back to back they faced each other...
Pulled their knives and shot each other...
An old deaf cop heard the noise and came to arrest the two dead boys.

The "true" "too" blind-man part sounds vaguely familiar. Thanks for all the other versions. Amazing the things we have in common.
John in Houston, TX
John Myers

one dark night in th middle of the day
two dead boys stayed in to play
they turned back to back and faces each other
climed on the roof and hung by the gutter

a deaf policeman heard the noise
arrested them and gave them toys

if you don't believe this tail at all'
ask the blind man, he saw it all

this is how I always heard it .. many many years ago !
scott johnson

Ladies and gentlemen, skinny and stout. I'll tell you a tale I know nothing about. Admission is free so pay at the door, pull up a chair and sit on the floor. One fine day in the middle of the night. Two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other. I blind man came to watch fair play, a mute man came to shout "Hooray!" A deaf policemen heard the noise and came to stop those two dead boys. He lived on the corner in the middle of the block. In a two story house on a vacant lot. A man with no legs came walking by and kicked the lawman in the thigh. He crashed through a wall without making a sound, into a dry creekbed and suddenly drowned. A long black hearse came to cart him away, but he ran for his life and is still gone this day. I watched this from the corner of the big round table. The only eyewitness to the facts of my fable. But if you doubt my lies are true, just ask the blindman, he saw it too.
Kirsti Steege

That is really old, but when I was growing up I remember the poem as follows.

Ladies and gentlemen
Hobo's and tramps
Cross-eyed mosquitoes
And bow legged ants

I?m here to tell you a story I've never heard before
There's plenty of seats so sit on the floor
Admission is free, so pay at the door.

One bright day
In the middle of the night
Two dead boys started to fight.
Back to back, they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other.

A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to kill the two dead boys.

If you don?t believe this story is true
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.


Vic Macias

Ladies and gentlemen
Hobos and tramps
Whitetailed squirrels and bullegged ants
I am here to tell you a story I know nothing about
It happend one night, the sun shining bright
Two dead boys got up in a fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
Until the deaf cop heard the noise
Got up and shot the two dead boys
If you do not believe this lie is true
Go ask the blindman
He saw it to!
Laura Bruihler

as i remember it it was

Ladies and gents,
gents and germs,
cock-eyed mosquitoes and bow-legged worms,
admission is free so pay at the door,
pull up a chair and sit on the floor,

now this all happened one bright day in the middle of the night,
when two dead boys got up to fight

back to back they faced eachother,
drew their swords and shot eachother,
a deaf police man heard the noise,
and came and killed those two dead boys,

if you don't believe my lie it's true,
Just ask the blind man he saw it all too.
Michelle Last-name

My father's version from his father (English):
One fine day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to Back they faced each other
pulled their knives and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
Came and killed the two dead boys.

My father was the youngest of five children...the eldest of whom was born in England. The family then came to the USA. This poem came from my father's father. So I assume it has English origins.
theron snell

the way I heard it was; come none come all, admissions free, pay at the door, pull up a chair and sit on the floor. I sit down beside you to stand up before you to tell you a story I know nothing about. early in the morning in the middle of the night two dead boys got up to fight, back to back they faced each other drew ther swords and shot eachother. A deaf police man heard the noise and came to arrest the two dead boys. If you don't beleive this story is true ask the blind man he saw it too
Tim Littmann

How does this ryme go. It starts.,
Not last night but the night before, two tom cats came knocking at my door'
If I remember, it goes on to be a bit rude
Colin Yeo

My Dad used to quote me as follows:

One dark morning in the middle of the night
two dead soldiers got up to fight
Back to back they faced eachother
drew their swords and shot eachother

A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came to arrest the two dead boys
If you don't believe this lie is true
ask, the blind man, he saw it too

He was a bit of a poetry buff, I'm not, so I don't know who it was written by.

I believe he got it from one of his grandf athers who were Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish (depending on which side).

D.


Donna Cayer

I took all the popular version and sort of stuck them together. To make what i think is closes to original one with some additives. I hope you all don't mind :) I like how it turned out.



Remake version of "One Fine Day"

Ladies and Gentlemen, hobos and tramps.
Bug eyed mosquitoes and bowlegged ants.
I come before you yet to sit beside you
To tell you a story I know nothing about.

The entrance fee is free,
so pay at the door,
and come right in out the door.
Pull up a chair to sit on the floor

One fine day in the middle of the night'
two dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other

A blind man came to watch fair play
a mute man came to shout "hooray!"
One was blind and one couldn't see
So they called in a dummy for referee

A paralyzed mule passing by
Kicked the blind man in the eye
Knocked them through a nine inch wall
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all

A mute onlooker shrieked in fright
And a lame man danced at the ghastly sight.
A man with no legs walking his dog
And saw the boys stand like fallen logs

A deaf policemen heard the noise
and came to stop those two dead boys.
He lived on the corner
in the middle of the block.
In a two story house on a vacant lot.

If you don't believe this story's true,
Ask the blind man, he saw it too.
He sitting at the corner of a round table
Eating his soup with knife and fork,
and burning his mouth on cold potato.

I as narrator, With my story untold,
Meekly whispered, Loud and bold,
The beginning words, To the meeting's end,
You, my enemy, Are now my friend."
Crystal Kendall


One was *mute* and one couldn't see

is the proper one sorry for the miss print
crystal kendall

I remember some of it as,
One dark night in the middle of the day,
The Thames caught fire, and the water ran away,
The blind man saw it, the deaf man heard it,
The man with no legs ran to call the fire engine,
Up come the fire engine, with 2 dead horses,
Ran over 2 dead cats and half killed them

Mandy Bailey

I have been looking for this poem as well, my dad used to tell it to us when we were little. If you have found anything I would love to know the rest.


Sandy Senger

my boyfriend gave me this quote and it fits in with this one, starts with Ladies and gentlemen, cross-eyed mosquitos and bow-legged ants, We come before you to stand behind you. To tell you something we know nothing about, One bright day in the middle of the night, Two dead boys got up to fight, back to back they faced each other etc
Linda Smith

I learned it in school in the 60s (never knew who the author was) and this is what I remember:

One dark day, in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords to shoot each other,
...
A paralysed donkey passing by,
Kicked one of them in his left right eye,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
And came to arrest the two dead boys.

Marlene Eversley

I don't know how old this is but the version I heard went like this. ladies and gentlmen dogs and cats bo legged mosquitoes and cross nats heres a story I never heard before late last night early this morning 2 dead boys got up to fight each other back to back they drew there swords and shot each other a deaf police man heard all this noise and came and shot those 2 dead boys if you don't believe me ask the blind man he saw it to.
J B

One dark day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys began to fight.
Back to back they faced each other
Drew two swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
He came and killed those two dead boys.
If you don't believe me, ask the blind man; the saw everything.
Patricia Tarrant

omg i learned this poem from my aunt nonny who divided it into two poems the first one is:

intro poem:
there's plenty of seats so sit on the floor
admission is free so pay at the door.

the story:
One bright day in the middle of the night,
two young boys were having a fight.
back to back; face to face
they drew out their swords & shot each other
then two deaf policemen heard the noise,
the came & shot the two dead boys.
now if you don't believe my story
ask the blind man he saw it all

note:
yeah i have the feeling i may have messed it up but that's the general gist of what she taught me & it's nice to see that she & her late brother are the only ones to know it. i thank whoever made this website it's really cool to see all these comments.
stephen kohley

This poem starts out:
Ladies and Gentelmen, Ho-Bo's and tramps,
Cross-eyed Moskeetos and Bow-Legged Ants,
I come before you, not behind you,
to tell you a story I know nothing about.
Admission is free, pay at the door,
pull up a chair and sit on the floor.....

edward harwood

They fought with bows and arrows and vegetable marrows
and they can do some damage when they burst.

Out in the burning scortching rain we stood
knee deep up to our necks in snow.

My Uncle's favourite poem he knew it from the beginning, does anyone else know the connecting bits, it starts off with
One fine day in the middle of the night.
Sue Wilson

According to my husband, his mom, who was from Ireland, used to say it like this:

One dark night when the son shone bright, two dead men stood up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other.

Unfortunately we don't have any references for this poem.
Candy Oosthuizen

Here's how I originally heard it, from a friend in the late seventies or early eighties:

One dark night in the middle of the day,
Two black white boys went out to play,
They stood back to back and faced each other,
Pulled out their sword and shot each other,
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
Ran to the scene and shot the two dead boys,
Don't believe this story it's true,
A blind old lady saw it too.
Joe DeRouen

I have just come across this page through typing into google search: "ladles & jellyspoons I stand in front of you which is of course behind you". My Dad taught me this poem & I was trying to remember how it ended to teach to my sons. My Dad was born in 1925 & he taught it to me when I was a child in the 80's. My Dad was born near Liverpool.
Would love to know its origin, especially as it seems to have traveled the world with small variations long before the internet. Lovely thought.....

Wendy Briggs

The version i know goes:

One Dark Night
In the Middle of the Day,
Two Dead Boys
Got Up to Play,
They Stood Back to Back
To Face One Another,
Drew Their Swords
And Shot Each Other,
A Deaf Policeman Heard the Noise
And Ran to Save the Two Dead Boys,
If You Believe This Tale Is Tall
Go Ask the Blind Man,
He Saw It All
Aly J

another, similar poem
'twas a cold, cold day in summer
The snow was raining fast
When a bare-footed lad with shoes on
Stood sitting on the grass.

He went to church in the evening
And took a front seat at the back
He fell from the floor to the gallery
And hurt his front side at the back

While the organ peeled potatoes
Lard was rendered by the choir
While the sexton wrung the dishcloth
Someone set the church on fire

'Holy smoke' the vicar shouted
In the wet he lost his hair
Now his head resembles heaven
For there is no parting there.



Jane Alllenson

Ladies and Gentlemen,fleas and bowlegged ants, I stand here before you to sit there behind you to tell something I know nothing about.
Next Monday, which is Good Friday, there will be a Mothers' meeting for Fathers only, admission is free, so pay at the door, grab a seat and sit on the floor.
The topic will be:
Early one morning, late at night, two dead boys got up to fight, back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and shot each other, a deaf policeman heard the noise and came and shot those two dead boys.
If you don't believe me ask the blind man he saw it all through the knot hole in the barbwire fence.
Don Taylor

Thank you for this thread! My Grandfather taught us this poem in the 1960s. I never asked where he got it. He was born in 1907 in rural NE Arkansas on the Missouri line and taught grade school in rural 1 room schools in the area. He did tell me that language "play" was a common form of entertainment. People used metaphors, rhyme, and riddles to amuse themselves and confound strangers.
Beth Dalton, EdD

Ladies and germs and bow-legged worms,
I've come before you to stand behind you
to tell you of something I know nothing of.
So pull up a chair and sit on the floor,
and open a window and spit out the door.

T'was the brightest of day in the middle of night,
3 dead boys came up to fight.
They were back to back and faced each other
and pulled out their knives and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise and came to
kill the 3 dead boys.
If you don't believe my story's true,
Ask the blind man . . . he saw it too.
O Holmes

There was a line ' admission is free, so pay at the door, there are plenty of seats, so sit on the floor' in there too.
kim posey

this is the way i heard it,
On a bright, sunny day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys rose up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf police man heard the noise,
Came and shot those two dead boy
If you don't believe this lie is true
Ask the blind man he saw it too

So yah,not much of a difference, and im not saying this is the right way either, but this is the way i heard it. I less than three (=P) this poem!
Amy Sanchez

This is the way I remember it over 40 years ago:
Ladies and gentlemen hobos and tramps Cross eyed mosquitoes and bow legged ants I will tell you a story I know nothing
about the admission is free at the door please pull up a chair and sit on the floor


1 fine day in the middle of the night 2 dead boys got up to fight back to back they faced each other drew their guns and shot each other a deaf policeman heard the noise he shot and killed the 2 dead boys now if you don't believe that this tale is tall ask the blind man he saw it it all!!
howard "POPPS" shelby

it was in the month of liverpool
the city of july
the snow was raining heavily
and all the streets were dry

i took a penny bus ride
over the irish sea
a german sub came overhead
and dropped a bomb on me

singing this way
that way
a week to go tomorrow
a fortnight yesterday

(i loved this saying but now cannot remember the rest so can anyone please help further)
glen winlow

The sun was shinning bright one night
as two dead boys got up to fight.

They faced each other, back to back,
drew their swords and shot each other.

A deef policman heard the noise and
came and killed the two dead boys.

If you don't believe my story is true,
ask the blind man, he saw it too.




roy haury

Mu 97 year old Mum who grew up in London recited this to me today. Gwen Silverman

One dark night in the middle of the day,
The Thames caught fire and the water ran away.
The blind man saw it. The deaf man heard it.
The man with no legs went to fetch the fire engine.
The fire engine came pulled by 2 dead horses
Ran over a dead cat and half killed it.
Pam Oxenham

Found this in my Dads college papers. Don't have a clue where it originated.
Ladies and Gentlemen dogs and cats bow legged mosquitoes and cock eyed rats , I come before you to stand behind you to tell you of something I know nothing about, on one fine day in the middle of the night two dead boys got up to fight , back to back they faced each other drew their swords and shot each other, a deaf policeman heard the noise and came and killed the two dead boys, If you don,t believe this story's true, ask the blind man, he saw it too.
William Smith

The versions of both I had taught me by my grandfather in the 60's are
Not last night but the night before
Two little Tom cats came knocking at my door
One with a fiddle
One with a drum
And one with a pancake stuck to his b..

And the other was
One fine day in the middle of the night
A fire broke out in the ocean
The deaf man heard it
The blind man saw it
And the man with no legs ran to fetch the fire engine
Allie Hargreaves

"two dead boys"
one bright day in the middle of the night two dead boys got up to fight, back to back they faced each other pulled out their swords and shot each other the deaf police man heard the noise, came out and shot them two dead boys, if you think my lies are true go ask the blind man cause he saw it too.
abigail markelwitz

I heard one similar but like this

Ladies and Gentlemen
welcome to the ladies club
free admission
please pay at the door
there are plenty of seats
please sit on the floor
i come before you
to sit behind you
to tell you a tale
ive never heard before

One dark day
in the middle of the nigh
two dead boys began to fight
back to back
they faced each other
drew their swords
and shot each other
the deaf police man
heard the noise
and came to wake
the two dead boys
and if you don't
believe this lie
go ask the blind man
he saw it too
Isabel Star

I nearly went to church last night.......

Anon
michael jarman

Ladies and gentlemen
Hobos and tramps
Cross-eyed mosquitos and bowlegged ants
admission is free so pay at the door
pull up a chair and sit on the floor
i come before you to stand behind
to tell you a story i know nothing about
one fine day in the middle of the night
two dead boys got up to fight
back to back the faced each other
drew out their swords and shot one another
the deaf policeman heard this noise and came and shot the two dead boys
if you dont believe this lie is true
ask the blind man he saw it too
lexi hubbard

As I remember it:
It was a dark dark night.
the sun was shining bright
2 dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and killed the 2 dead boys
If you don't believe me ask the blind man
he saw it all
Dave Houchin

One dark night in the middle of day, two dead boys got up to play, back to back they faced each other, pulled out their swords and shot one another, a deaf policeman heard the noise, and came to arrest the dead boys, If you do not believe my story is true ask the blind man for he saw it too.

A friend and I wrote this for a seventh grade English class back in the mid-1970s. We were stuying the "Jabberwocky" poem and were asked to write a "nonsense" poem.
Michael Ambrosia

ladies and gentlemen hobos and tramps
cross-eyed mosquitoes and bow-legged ants
pull up a chair and sit on the floor
I'll tell you a story I've never heard before
In the middle of the day on a brightly lit night
to dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
a deaf policemen heard the noise
came and killed both dead boys
if you don't believe my story to be true
ask the blind man, he saw it all too
Becky Jones

Read it in a book as a child 1950's called stuff and nonsense poetry
James Horan

Here's how i heard it:

Ladies and gentlemen,
I come before you,
To stand behind you,
To tell you about something
I know nothing about.

Last Thursday,
Which was good Friday,
There was a teacher's meeting
For parent's only.
Admission was free.
Pay at the door.
Pull up a chair.
Sit on the floor.

It was one bright morning,
In the middle of the night.
When two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
Pulled their swords then shot each other.
The deaf policeman heard the noise,
And went to rescue the two dead boys.

If you don't believe that my lie is true,
Ask the blind man,
He saw it too!


Michael Yansick

Our family is German, English and Irish. My mom was born in 1943 and the difference from those below is "My only witness is a blind man sitting on the fourth corner of a round table, eating vinegar with a fork. He said, he saw it all!"

Here is her whole version:
Ladies and Germs, Hobos and Tramps,
Black-eyed Mosquitoes, and Bow-legged Ants.
I come before you, to sit behind you,
to tell you something I know nothing about.

One dark day in the middle of the night
two dead boys began to fight.
Back to back they faced each other.
Drew their swords and shot each other.

A deaf policeman heard the noise
and came and shot the two dead boys.

My only witness is a blind man
sitting on the fourth corner of a round table
eating vinegar with a fork.
He said, he saw it all!
Michelle Morris

The version I heard from my dad included the following:-

I went to the gaffers tomorrow and took a front seat at the back,
I saw a female man sitting at the corner of a round table,
doing the clog dance in his stocking feet.
Paul Latham

One bright day in the middle of the night two dead boys got up to fight back to back they faced each other Drew their swords and shot each other a death policeman heard the noise came and shot the two dead boys and if you don't believe this story is true ask the blind man he saw it too
Detrice Wortham

Ladies and gentlemen, skinny and stout,
Ill tell you a tale i know nothing about;
Admission is free, so pay at the door,
Now pull up a chair and sit on the floor.

One fine day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight;
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.

A blind man came to see fair play,
A mute man came to shout 'HORRAY!'
A deaf policeman heard the noise and
Came to stop those two dead boys.

He lived on the corner in the middle of a block,
On the second floor of a vacant lot;
A man with no legs came walking by,
And kicked the lawman in his thigh.

He crashed through a wall without making a sound,
Into a dry creek bed and suddenly drowned;
the long black came to cart him away,
But he ran for his life and still gone today.

I watched it from the corner of a round table,
The only eyewhitness to facts of my fable;
But if you doubt my lies are true,
just ask the blind man he saw it too.
Jake Ireland

MY BROTHER WROTE THIS POEM BACK IN THE 1940'S. I CAN REMEMBER HIM CHANGING OVER AND OVER UNTIL HE GOT IT RIGHT`. WE WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL AT THE TIME THE POEM HAS 4 MORE VERSES. SEND AN EMAIL FOR MORE INFO.
THOMAS MCDONALD

I remember this from my childhood, growing up in Philadelphia, Pa
I am 70 years old and have taught it to my grandchildren, they enjoy it. My ancestry is from Wales. Most of the neighborhood was a mix on English and Italian.

I hope this helps
Walt Steimel

My dad told this one

A fire broke out last night this morning
Several ice locks caught on fire
The blind man saw it. The deaf man heard it
The man with no legs ran to get the fire brigade

The fire brigade was pulled by two dead horses
Two dead horses ran over two dead cats and nearly killed them

Unfortunately that is all I can remember but if anyone knows the rest I would love to know
Angi Millican

I do remember a poem like the ones listed my nan used to say it when I was a child back in the 1970's I remember bits of it like "I saw a jed hoss a dying " but my version was spoken in Black Country slang as I come from Quarry Bank in the West Midlands , " I et a plain cake with currunts in I et it and gid it um back " it goes on and on .it must date back to when my nan was young as she was born in 1919 ..... Interesting article of fond memories .... Wayne ...
Wayne Fletcher

That poem has been around for a long time.
I wish I could say 'ti originates.......'
Vera Turnbull

It's actually:
One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced one another,
they drew their swords and they shot each other.
One was blind and the other couldn't see,
So they chose a dummy for the referee.
A blind man went to see fair play,
A dumb man went to shout hooray.
A deaf policeman, he heard the noise,
So he came and killed those two dead boys.
A paralyzed donkey was walking by,
Kicked the copper in the eye,
Sent him through a rubber wall,
Into a dry ditch and drowned them all.
(If you don't believe this lie is true...Ask the blind man he saw it too!)
Kimberly Bacon

The version I was told by my grandfather was.

That was the day that night
When two dead men got up to fight
One blind man to see fair play
Two deaf and dumb to shout hooray
That was the day that night
Esme Corden

I only know this peom as 'The Woodchuck Song'. I first heard it on Songify. Here is how it is said on the poem itself.

"Ladies and Gentleman, Hobos and Tramps, one eyed mosquitoes and bow legged ants, pull up a chair and sit on the floor, and I?ll tell you a tale I?ve never heard before. One great day in the middle of night, two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other. Drew their swords and shot each other. A deaf policemen heard the noise, and came and killed the two dead boys. If you don?t believe this lie is true, ask the blind man he saw it too."
Jacob Duke

My remembered verson is slightly different:-

One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight.
One blind man to see fair play
One dumb man to shout hooray
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
Two dead donkeys passing by
Kicked the blind man in the eye
Knocked him throuh a nine inch wall
Kicked up a ditch and burried them all.
Helen Found

a lovely poem about rainbow was read at a funeral recently any ideas ??
jane james

My aunt, a teacher/librarian, taught me this when I was a young girl in the late 1950's. I have forgotten lots of things over the years, but not this nonsense poem. I was surprised to see it with so many variations.

Ladies and germs and bow-legged worms
I come before you to stand behind you
To tell you a story I know nothing about.
So pull up a chair and sit on the floor.
Raise the window and spit out the door.
One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other
And with their swords they shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to kill the two dead boys.
If you don't believe my story so true,
Just ask the blind man
He saw it too.
Juanita Raybourne

One dark day in the middle of the night, two dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, pulled out their swords and shot each other. A deaf policeman heard the noise and came and killed the two dead boys.

That's how i learned it!
J Smith

This is the version my mother taught me when I was a child in the forties:

One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead china men got up to fight
The blind man came to see fair play
The dumb man came to shout hooray
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other....
Rosemary Melmeth

Really enjoyed reading this, found it after finding out who the author was, thought it might have been Edward Lear.

This is out family versions of these nonsense poems

One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A policeman came after seeing the noise
And shot them both those two dead boys
If you think my lie is true
Go ask the blind man he saw it too.

Not last night but the night before
The ocean caught on fire
The blind man saw it
The deaf man heard it
The man with no legs ran to get the fire engine
The fire engine was pulled by two dead donkeys
Ran over a dead cat and nearly killed it

I see said the blind man
As he picked up his hammer and saw
Adam Hocking

My dad used to tell me and my siblings this version.
I'm now telling them to my children.

One dark night in the middle of the day
The Thames caught alight and the fish flew away
The blind man saw it
The deaf man heard it
The man with no legs ran to get the fire engine
The fire engine came out with no wheels
Ran over a dead cat and killed it
Belinda Smith

I can remember writing this in an English lesson at school, it just came into my head. I had not seen or heard it anywhere and thought it would be funny to write something so opposite.My English teacher wasn't impressed and gave me a D+ A poor effort in my English book for writing it. There was only 4 lines and it was called, The Fight. One fine day in the middle of the night. Two dead men got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other. Drew their swords and shot each other. Strangely of all my school books, I only have this one book left with the poem in it.
Heidi Biberger

I have always heard it as-
One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
One was blind, the other couldn't see
Cross-eyed kelly was the referee
Back to back they faced each other
Pulled out their knives and shot each other
The deaf police man heard the noise
Got up and killed thoes two dead boys
Christina Winchester

I see you are early of late, you used to be behind before, but now you are first at last...
Don Driscoll

I heard this when I was young like in the 70s, we live In Michigan. This is the only way I've ever heard it.
Debbie Greenwell

I was taught the following by my father sometime between the late 40s and 50s

Last night the sea caught fire
The blind man saw it
The deaf man heard it
The man with no legs ran for an engine
The engine came along with two dead horses
ran over a dead cat and half killed it.
William Taylor

one dark night when the moon was bright
two dead boys got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
two deaf police men heard the noise
went and killed the two dead boys
if you don't believe this lie is true
ask the blind man he saw it too
Jeanett Fox

I have illustrated this story in a children's book called 'An ode to impossibilities'. It also has the rhyme 'There was an old lady who swallowed a fly'. It is for sale at Lulu.com, please take a look by pasting the ISBN number below into Lulu's search:

9781446146002


Jamie Clayton

Need the words to this poem. , it starts out.
gentleman of the jury
Lena Gibbons

This was passed down from my grandfather to my mother and then to me.

One dark night when all was bright,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back they faced each other,
Pulled out their guns and stabbed each other,
A deaf policeman heard the noise
pulled out his sword and shot the two dead boys,
If you don't believe a story so tall,
Ask the blind man he saw it all.
Bryan Gillis

My dad told me this over 43 years ago. The way it goes is. One dark knight in the middle of the day two dead boys got up to play back to back they faced each other drew there swards and shot each other.
Jeffrey Smith

Dad, your version is wrong.
Dana Smith

One dark night in the middle of day two dead boys went out to play. Back to back they faced each other, drew out their swords and shot each other. A deaf policeman heard the noise,and went out to shoot the two dead boys. If you don't believe my story is true,just ask the blind man he saw it too. My mother told me this as a child 40 yrs ago
Adrian Walker

I'm the turd tickler

Nathan Winters

This poem has lived in my head since first grade! anyways, there's only half of it here and we should fix that. I present "one bright day"

Ladies and Gentlemen, skinny and stout,
I'll tell you a tale I know nothing about;
The admission is free, so pay at the door,
Now pull up a chair and sit on the floor!

One bright day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight;
Back to back they faced each other,
Drew their swords and shot each other.

A blindman can to watch fair play,
A mute man came to shout "Horray!"
A deaf policeman heard the noise and
Came to kill those two dead boys.

He lived on the corner in the middle of the block,
In a two story on a vacant lot;
A man with no legs came walking by,
Then kicked the lawman in his thigh.

He crashed through a wall with out making a sound,
And in to a dry creek bed where he suddenly drowned;
The long black hearse came to cart him away,
But he ran for his life and is still gone to day!

I watched it all from the corner of the big round table,
The only eyewitness to the facts of my fable;
But if you doubt my lies are true,
Ask the blind man he saw it too.
Skot Fischer


Ladies and Gentlmen, horses and fleas, bowlegged mosquitos and cross eyed bees, I'm here before you , not behind you, i'm here to address you not to undress you.

One dark Stormy night, two dead soldiers rose to fight
back to back they faced each other, drew their swords and Shot each other.
ember conley

I don't recall the poem with the 2 boys, but I remember another poem told to us at school going back many years.
One cold midsummer's night
The river Thames caught fire
A blind man saw it
A deaf man heard it
And a man without legs ran to call the fire brigade
The fire brigade was ridden by four dead horses who
Ran over a dead cat and nearly killed it.

Chrissie Zenios

Yes!!
One fine morning in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other

I want to know the missing words from this bit of a poem and the poem it's from please:
If the - -'s don't get you the ---'s will
Sapa Holliday

One dark night,
The sun was shinning bright,
Two dead boys got up to fight,
Back to back,
They faced each other,
Drew their swords,
and shot each other.
A deaf policeman
heard the noise,
and came and killed the two dead boys.
PJ White

Saba Holloway
The way I remember that one is 'if the buggers don't get you the bas*ards will.'

The other one I remember as:

One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
One blind man to see fair play
Two dumb men to shout 'hooray'.


I know there's another 2 lines but can't think what they are. My Grandpa taught me this in the early 70's along with old war songs and many other things. He was born in the early 1900's in North Yorkshire.
RIP Grandpa. I still miss you.


Helen Mason

I guess there are many many versions of this poem. Here's the one I learned from my sister's in the 50s when I was about four:

One dark night when the sun was bright,
Two dead boys rose up to fight.
They lived on the corner, in the middle of the street.
On the second floor of a vacant lot.
One was blind and the other couldn't see.
So they chose a dummy for a referee.
Back to back the faced each other.
They drew there swords and shot each other.
A deaf police man heard the noise.
And came and (to arrest) shot the two dead boys.
If you don't believe me,
Ask the blind man who saw it all
through a knot hole in a barbed wire fence.

That's it as best I can remember. I remember something about a 9" wall but can't recall all of it.
Steve Pedersen

I learned it when I was quite young as such:


One dark morning, in the middle of the night, 2 dead boys got up to fight. Back to back they faced each other, pulled out knives & shot each other. A deaf policeman heard the noise & came to rescue the 2 dead boys...if you don't believe me, ask the blind man, he saw it too!
Pat K

One fine day in the middle of the night two dead men got up to fight the man heard it the blind man saw it and the man with no legs ran to get the fire brigade which was pulled by two dead horses that ran over a dead cat and half killed it
and you dont beleive this story is true ask the blind man he saw it too
Mike Teague

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Brooklyn Gray

the version i know is:

one fine day in the middle of the night,
two dead men got up to fight,
back to back they faced each other,
drew there swords and shot each other,
a deaf policeman heard the noise,
and came and killed those two dead boys,
if you don't believe my stories true,
ask the blind man he saw it too.

the other one which someone else mentions is actually totally different and goes:

not last night but the night before,
two tom cats came knocking on my door,
i opened the door to let them in,
and they hit me on the head with a rolling pin



h green

My dad told me another version of this:

One dark day in the middle of the night,
Two dead men got up to fight,
One blind man to see fair play,
Two dumb men to shout "hooray!"
A paralysed beggar passing by
Kicked the blind man in the eye,
Knocked them both through a six foot wall
Into a river, and drowned them all.

Alas, I have no idea where he got it from, and he passed away 5 years ago.
Pete Sudbury

One dark night in the middle of the day two dead boys went out to play back-to-back they faced each other Drew their swords and shot each other the deaf policeman heard the shot and came to kill the two Dead Boys one turned the corner in the middle of the block one climbed a tree in a vacant lot.
Karen Hum

This is my family's version:

One fine day, in the middle of the night
two dead men got up to fight
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
a deaf police man heard the noise
and arrested the two dead boys
Shelley Horrocks

this is the version my father told me

one dark day in the middle of the night,
two dead boys got up to fight,
back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and shot each other
a deaf policemen heard the noise
and came and killed the 2 dead boys
i see' said the blind man
as he picked up his hammer and saw.
ivy waugh

The version my grandfather told me (c.1935) went like this
One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
A blind man came to see fair play
The one spectator stayed away
Back to back one faced the other
Drew their swords and shot each other.

I imagine that there are many versions. Grandfather came from Australia but was born in Cornwall.
Nicholas Thomas

i was told this poem in the seventies and it was explained that each line makes sense... only i can't remember how. (need to research usage of words probably, i might do that now :-)
one fine day, in the middle of the night. (night time is part of a day)
two dead men got up to fight. (maybe they were to be hanged? or maybe duelers were called dead for some reason)
back to back, they faced each other (i dunno, maybe you start back to back in a duel but you are still facing each other in a dual)
drew their swords and shot each other. (just because, they drew their swords at the same time doesn't mean that was their only weapon or maybe you can shoot with a sword )
the extras i think are just that, added by different peeps over time...
colin morris

Not this one, but this one was a family standard:
One cold winters day in the summer
When the snow was raining mighty fast
A barefooted boy with shoes on
Stood sitting upon the grass
The organ peeled potatoes
Soap bubbles were the choir
And when the parson rang the dish op
Someone set the church on fire
"Holy smoke!" the parson shouted
As he madly tore his hair
Now his hair resembles Heaven
'Cause there ain't no parting there.
This was told to me by my English mother in the 1950's.
Shirley Lockyer

ok so this poem is about two men who killed each other in a duel...

One fine day(the day the duel took place) in the middle of the night(if the duel is at sunrise then you would get up in the middle of the night to attend.)

two dead men(the men killed each other so they were dead, when the poem was written) got up to fight(the duel at dawn)

back to back(this is the usual starting position of a duel) they faced each other(they faced each other in a duel)

drew their swords(as in they drew their swords) and shot each other(duels were fought with both pistols and swords)
so as you can see the poem makes sense, the extra added bits seem to be just added on and passed on... however it demonstrates that people believe the poem to be nonsense, when it actually makes sense.

colin morris

My father, who was born in Oklahoma and raised in Arkansas, taught me this version when I was a girl, circa 1969. We were living in the southwest of England at the time, so I don't know if it was something he learned there, or if he knew it as s child. I never thought to ask him. I thought you might be interested in how far it's traveled.

One dark day in the middle of the night,
two dead boys got up to fight.
Back to back they faced each other,
drew their swords and shot each other.
A deaf policeman heard the noise,
came up and shot the two dead boys.
Kathy O'Rourke (neé Egbert)

I have a version of this imprinted in my memory from my grandfather. I have been searching for its origin and remember asking him, he said something along the lines of just hearing it as well. I dont have any answers, i will ask him again, but I am American and my grandfather was born and raised in the US. So, it has spread quite a bit I suppose.
Anyway, our version goes:

One fine day in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
One was blind, the other couldnt see
They chose the devil for their referee
Back to back they faced one another
Drew their swords and shot one another
A deaf cop, hearing the noise,
Came and shot the two dead boys


Marie S

Hi My Name Is Jason Planson

Rylee Planson

While discussing poetry in a Portland, Maine, USA middle school, my students asked if I had a favorite poem. I explained learning One Dark Night is a rite of passage in my family. My son learned the poem and recited it to my father. My father taught the poem to me when I was a child. My father learned the poem from his grandfather. My students liked the poem so much that they had me type it up so they could learn it too.

While researching the author of the poem, I came across this website, which added to the mystery. My father’s grandfather was the first of our line to be born in Maine, USA to parents that were first generation Canadians. The Canadian family moved to the USA after the Miramichi Fire in New Brunswick, Canada, took their home in October 1825. The generation before them had moved from Scotland to New Brunswick, Canada.

While I can only confirm the poem being taught by my great grandfather to my father, I suspect the poem was of Scottish origins and came over with my Great, Great, Great Grandfather or my Great, Great, Great Grandmother.

One Dark Night

One dark night
in the middle of the day
two dead men got up to play

Back to back they faced each other
drew their swords and
shot each other

A deaf policeman
heard the noise
and came to the rescue
of the two dead boys

Now, if you don’t believe
this tale is true
ask the blind man
‘cause he saw it too
Beth Reed

Oh my goodness, my Dad taught me a version of this when I was little. I had no idea it was a popular and well known poem. I don't know where it originated, but here is the version I was taught...

One dark morning in the middle of the night
Two dead boys got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their knives and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came and killed the two dead boys.
Jill Foucher

I am one of three authors of this poem. There is a story about how it was created. We created the poem in the mid 1960 in Mobile, Alabama. It was a hot, humid day so the three of us were sitting in a mimosa tree in our yard. While sitting in the tree we started joking around with foolish poetry. We continued building on the previous line until we finished. I personally have spread this poem to people across the U.S.. And I suppose that they have told this poem to others. The three authors are: Palmer Proffitt; Preston Proffitt; and Junior Norris. I had not realized that this poem has become so public. I would like for use to be recognized as the authors. If requested I can also send you the correct poem.
Thank you,

Palmer Proffitt
Preston Proffitt, dec.
Junior Norris, dec.
Palmer Proffitt

this mis mash of poems dates back way beyond 1960 my grandad recited a version he learned from his dad who passed in 1918 so sorry mr palmer proffit unless you are way over a hundred years old you cannot claim credit.
nigel marshall

This is bad
Ran Bob

Last I heard it was some thing like
One bright morning
In the middle of the night
Two dead men got up to fight
One was blind and the other couldn't see
SO they used a dummy as their referee
They stood back to back and faced each other
Drew their swords and shothe achieve other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to arrest the two dead boyster
This is going off my mom and great grandad
Brodie Kid

there's more...I'm looking for the piece that mentions...'grabbed a policeman by the balls ( pond Road ) and mentions flies being undone...
Brian Harris

one fine day in the middle of the night
2 dead boys got up to fight
back to back the faced each other
drew they swords and shot each other

a blind man can to watch the fair play
a mute man can to shout hooray
a deaf police man heard the noise
and came to stop these to dead boys
he lived in the corner of the middle of the block
in a two story vacant lot

a man with no legs came running bye
and kicked the law man in his thigh
he crashed into the wall without making sound
into a dry creak bed and suddenly drowned
a long black horse came to take him a way
but he ran for his and his still gone today

i watched from the corner of a big round table
if you doubt my fable is true
ask the blind man he saw it too
kim mkhize

My mother was born in 1929 (American) and learned this poem when she was a child, and taught it to her children. The words are a little different. Perhaps she once knew the other verses listed from other posts (about a donkey or blind man), but she may not have recalled them by the time she told it to me.

One bright day in the middle of the night
Two dead solders got up to fight
Back to back they faced each other
Drew their swords and shot each other
A deaf policeman heard the noise
And came to kill the two dead boys
D. D. Gregg


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