Ze Skunk

I’m not sure where this came from or who to credit. It’s just something I remembered from a long time ago.

(Gill Krebs to Stan Kegel)

To me, it sounds a little Cajun.

I hunt ze bear, I hunt ze wolf,
Sometimes, I hunt ze rat,
Last week I take my axe,
To hunt ze skunk polecat.

My fren’ Bill, he say he’s very good fur
An’ sometimes good to eat
So I tell my wife we get fur coat,
Same time get good eat.

I walk maybe one, two, tree mile,
I get one awful smell,
I tink dat skunk he’s go an’ die,
An’ fur coat gone to hell.

By an’ by I see him skunk,
Close up by one big tree,
I sneak up very close behind,
I tink he no see me.

I get up to him ver’ close,
An’ raise my axe up high,
Dat got dam skunk, he up and plunk,
Trow some `ting in my eye,

Sacre Bleu! I tink I blind.
Jeez Chris! I no can see.
I run aroun’ and roun’,
An’ bump into got dam tree,

By an’ by,
I light out for ze shack.
I tink about a million skunk
Has climb up on my back.

My wife, she meet me at ze door,
She sick on me ze dog.
She say, “You no sleep here tonite,
You go sleep wit’ ze hog.”

So I go out by de hog pen.
An’ eh? what you tink?
Dat got dam hog no sleep wit’ me,
On ‘count ze awful stink.

So I no hunt ze skunk no more
For to get his fur or meat.
For if his pees she stink so bad
Jeez Chris! What if he sheet!

Leave a comment


  1. Carol Korpela

     /  August 7, 2010

    I found a hand-written copy of this song/poem in my father’s kit from WW !!. He was stationed in Quebec and Nova Scotia from 1943-46. He had no talent for song-writing but seemed to save the lyrics of folk music that he enjoyed. Have you heard of another one he had written down “The newfoundland Express?
    You are right, “Ze Skunk” does sound Cajun but could also be rural Quebecois.
    Very interesting to see it written on your site.

  2. alan

     /  February 13, 2011

    I read this poem in 1978 in a michigan history class. It was an example of the type of stories lthe lumberjacks would tell amongst themselves for entertainment. it was accompanied by another story of a man called “Pete Bateese” who was a favorite character in these stories. In this one he is chased by enterprising wolves who use a pair of beaver to attempt to remove Pete from the tree he climbed for safety. Pete returning from town had saved a precious quart of hooch and uses this to deter them. “Dem beaver dey got drunk by gar and dey dont see none too good, dey make mistake and chew de wolf instead of chew de wood!!!

  3. Tee

     /  November 14, 2011

    My Grandfather use to recite a poem similiar to this one when we were very yound, but it was more Swedish sounding with words like ye clee and other expressions. He lived in South Dakota, but his mother and father were from Sweden.

  4. Jeff Judd

     /  November 25, 2011

    This story has also been in my family since 1950’s that I know. I suspect it is Canadian in origin. My uncle, who lived in Montana, told this story for a lot of years.

  5. glsnancy

     /  February 28, 2012

    my grandfather would recite this poem at all family gatherings until his death in the late ’70s. He referred to it as “I Hunta da Skunk” by (please pardon) Tony DaWop

  6. Beth

     /  February 19, 2013

    My grandfather also would recite this poem, or a very close variation of it, until his death in his 90s, which was in 2005 I believe. He grew up and lived in Michigan most of his life.

  7. Debi

     /  December 1, 2013

    My grandmother would recite either this poem or one very similar, to me when I was young. She was from Michigan, born 1894. I’m glad I finally found this poem, it brings back great memories!

  8. wayne

     /  December 19, 2013

    My father would recite this poem occasionally with some variation. (depending on the audience)
    I’ve been trying for ages to remember all the lines.
    Now I have them. Thank you!

  9. Irene bell

     /  June 2, 2015

    My father recently died at 105 years old. Amazing he still had a great mind and up until he had a stroke he recited this poem to us and did not miss a word.

  10. Richard

     /  December 30, 2015

    I come from a French Canadian family and my uncle used to tell this story all the time. He had a great “hacksent for to tell it”. My father taped it in the early ’50s on an old henkle tape recorder along with many other jokes, stories and songs. Some of these have been preserved by my sister in digital format however this one was only partially saved. This is the first time that I’ve seen this in print. I just had an inspiration to google it and this version appears to be in complete agreement with my memory of it. Maybe someday if I can get through it without laughing and crying I will try to record it as well.

  11. Stephanie

     /  January 17, 2016

    My Gma use to say this story and act it out too. I loved it! She also recited another story about Olly taking his girl to a white socks game but I can’t find it. If anyone knows it, could you post it. I would love it! She passed away in 2006 at the age of 92. Wish I would of recorder her doing these stories, she was a hoot!

  12. Susan Young

     /  December 30, 2016

    My Mom used to recite this poem all through the years. She was born in 1931 and has been gone from this Earth since 2010. The way she told it was “I haunt de bear, I hunt de Moose, I sometimes haunt de rat,,,and it goes on,,I can still hear her reciting it,,,every word,,, Thank you <3

  13. Faye

     /  October 19, 2017

    I remember this from when my Mom used to recite it 65 years ago, so nice to find it again. Like Epambanondus.

  14. dewey pihlman

     /  June 7, 2020

    Living in Duluth MN in the late 40’s, this was in a small paper back book with many poems and stories. I think some of them were Rbt Service and I’m not sure but one of his may have been “the face on the barroom floor” That was also in the book…..I’m talking my age of 6 or 7 and learning to read….My mother read some of them to me and this polecat poem many times. I found someone online years ago that knew of this book but couldn’t accurately come up with a name… I would love to find a copy of that book sometime—–

  15. It is definitely French Canadian. This folk “poem” was taught to my Dad around 1932 by a man named Sven with whom my Dad worked with at the time around Golden/Denver CO. Sven was from Canada, spoke French, and just enough English to get by. Dad liked to listen to him talk because of his accent and Sven was kind enough to teach this poem to him at the age of 14. Dad would recite it once in a while when he was drinking.

  16. Xmas Jones

     /  December 21, 2020

    This is French Canadian. It’s Québécois.

  17. Gail

     /  April 22, 2021

    Yes, def. Fr. Cdn – Dad used to recite this, along with a Longfellow parody by Henry (?) Drummond entitled “The Wreck of the Julie Plante”, recited in the lumber camps and around campfires in the best patois the speaker could muster. Drummond, an Irish transplant to Montreal became famous in the late 1800’s for his “dialect poems”. I’ve been trying to find out if his might be one of his…

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