Gawthrop resident Issac Witherington undertaker & local historian has revealed to your newshound (eager to be jetting away) that some very old documents uncovered in a local church vault (St Stoners) a few years ago may point to a earlier attack by prawns.Speaking at his home Chapel of Rest Cottage he said that the papers reputed to be 17th century spoke of a plague of large prawns causing mayham around the town of Whitby till the town council sought the help of a 'Walnut' and 'Fatman' to rid them of the pestilence, here is the Rhyme as it is wrote down:
The WALNUT and the FATMAN The sun was shining on the sea, Shining with all his might: He did his very best to make The billows smooth and bright - And this was odd, because it was The middle of the night. The moon was shining sulkily, Because she thought the sun Had got no business to be there After the day was done - It's very rude of him, she said, To come and spoil the fun. The sea was wet as wet could be, The sands were dry as dry. You could not see a cloud, because No cloud was in the sky: No birds were flying overhead - There were no birds to fly. The Walnut and the Fatman, Were walking close at hand; They wept like anything to see Such quantities of sand: "If this were only cleared away," They said, "it would be grand." "If seven maids with seven mops Swept it for half a year, Do you suppose", the Walnut said, "That they could get it clear?" "I doubt it," said the Fatman, And shed a bitter tear. "O Prawns, come and walk with us!" The Walnut did beseech. "A pleasant walk, a pleasant talk, Along the briny beach: We cannot do with more than four, To give a hand to each." The eldest Prawn looked at him, But never a word he said: The eldest Prawn winked his eye, And shook his heavy head - Meaning to say he did not choose To leave the Prawn-bed. But four young Prawns hurried up, All eager for the treat: Their coats were brushed, their faces washed, Their shoes were clean and neat - And this was odd, because, you know, They hadn't any feet. Four other Prawns followed them, And yet another four; And thick and fast they came at last, And more, and more, and more - All hopping through the frothy waves, And scrambling to the shore. The Walnut and the Fatman Walked on a mile or so, And then they rested on a rock Conveniently low: And all the little Prawns stood And waited in a row. "The time has come", the Fatman said, "To talk of many things: Of corks -and stills -and potassium sorbate Of demi johns -and kings - And why the sea is boiling hot - And whether Damsons give you wings." "But wait a bit," the Prawns cried, "Before we have our chat; For some of us are out of breath, And all of us are fat!" "No hurry!" said the Fatman. They thanked him much for that. "A loaf of bread", the Walnut said, "Is what we chiefly need: Pepper and vinegar, besides, Are very good indeed - Now, if you're ready, Prawns dear, We can begin to feed." "But not on us!" the Prawns cried, Turning a little blue. "After such kindness, that would be A dismal thing to do!" "The night is fine," the Walnut said, "Do you admire the view? "It was so kind of you to come! And you are very nice!" The Fatman said nothing but "Cut us another slice. I wish you were not quite so deaf - I've had to ask you twice!" "It seems a shame", the Walnut said, "To play them such a trick. After we've brought them out so far, And made them trot so quick!" The Fatman said nothing but "The butter's spread too thick!" "I weep for you," the Walnut said: "I deeply sympathize." With sobs and tears he sorted out Those of the largest size, Holding his pocket-handkerchief Before his streaming eyes. "O Prawns," said the Fatman, "You've had a pleasant run! Shall we be trotting home again?" But answer came there none - And this was scarcely odd, because They'd eaten every one.
When asked for a comment The Gawthorn Weekly Telegraph & Argus editor stated that he thought the story was "one of the so called Urban Myths" that circulate from time to time and didn't give the yarn any credence.