Yarn spinning is the telling of Australian stories as per the idiom of our forebears from the city and the bush. They are often called tall stories.

Yarn spinning is not a connected line of jokes, nor is it rhyming verse.

Many bush poetry competitions have a yarn spinning category and it is a natural add-on for performers to develop in addition to their poetry performances.

Them Brainy Dogs

© 2003 Bill Williams

Two old drovers had meet up on the track the other day and the yarn went some thing like this.

“Bloody hell fancy meeting you down here Blue, they say you’ve a darn good dog.”

“Ah I dunno about that, seems yours is pretty good too they say,”

“Well I’m gunna have a smoke. You gunna join me while we talk about these bloody dogs?”

“They tell me yours is fantastic counting sheep in and out of the yards. That’s right is it?”

“Yeh, well, he ain’t too bad except last time when I took a mob of woolies over to Dubbo. And they were counting them in and the old dog he was there with his one bark for ever sheep, which I’m counting, and at the end me total is 701 sheep, but the bastards they told me there was, only 700.”

“Well, seeing as I was being paid for by the sheep. I ain’t gunna be diddled, so I calls for a recount.”

“Well, me dog sat there again with one bark for every sheep as they ran past and again I counted me dog’s barks and again I come up with 701. And they came up with 700. Hang on now I said there’s some things just ain’t right.”

“Me bloody dog he ain’t never wrong I said, as I was heading over to shut the gate when me bloody dog run up to the gateway an started to bark, just like he’s moving a few sheep.”

“So I walked over to the gateway but I seen nothing, when suddenly I looked down at the ground and there was an old one shilling piece with the ram’s head turned sky ward. He was counting that.”

“Stupid old fool I was, but enough about me dog.”

“They say he is only a beginner compared to yours.”

“Aw I dun know about that, you want a mug of brew an a bite to eat?”

With that the dog raced madly around everywhere gathering wood for the fire, and dropped them in a heap.

He then grabbed the billy an raced down to the creek for some water, and then he got the other smaller billy. And again he raced down to the creek for more water.

“What’s the second billy for?” I asked.

“Well you see I’m on this boiled egg diet.”

“Yeh!” I said. Just then the smaller billy started to boil so in went the two eggs with that the dog started to bark very steadily.

“What’s the bastard barking for?”

“Well he knows I ain’t gotta watch to time them by, an I don’t like them too hard.”

“Yeh, okay. But what in the bloody hell’s he standing on his head for?”

“Well, I aint got an eggcup either.”

Yarns to Read