At Covent Garden Market

I spotted the stall

Of the poulterer named Breckinridge

But it appeared he'd sold them all

~o~

Out of geese, I see

Holmes said to the gent

There'll be 500 in the morning

Was the replying comment

~o~

That won't do, said Holmes

I must have one tonight

And Breckenridge gestured

At another stall lit by gaslight

~o~

But I was directed here

Holmes persisted, of course

If you can't sell me one

Can you tell me their source?

~o~

Breckenridge became furious

He began to yell

Where he got the birds

He refused to tell

~o~

You needn't get so warm

Holmes replied to his outcry

You'd be warm, said the man

If you were as pestered as I

~o~

You'd think they were the only birds

From all the cry and hue

I wouldn't tell the other bloke

And I'm certainly not telling you

~o~

Well then the bet is off

And I was startled by Holmes' words

You see, I wagered a fiver

That those were country birds.

~o~

Well then you've lost your money

The poulterer firmly said

Them birds what went to the Alpha

Every one was town bred.

~o~

I'll bet you they weren't

Holmes said, baiting the hook

Breckenridge agreed to the bet

And turned to fetch his book

~o~

When all was said and done

It seemed Holmes had lost his bet

But a single coin had gained us

The address we'd come to get

~o~

So off to Mrs. Oakshott

Brixton Road was our next stop

Until we heard Breckenridge

Completely blow his top

~o~

Get out! he loudly said

To a rat-faced little gent

I've had enough of you

My patience is already spent!

~o~

But the goose! said the man

You don't understand

One of them was mine

The one with the gray band

~o~

But Breckenridge wouldn't hear it

I'm tired of your whining

You can ask Mrs. Oakshott

Or even Proosia's King!

~o~

Get out of it! he cried

Chasing the little man away

I think, said Holmes to me

That this is our lucky day

~o~

This fellow knows something

Of the business we do

And he said to the man

I believe I can help you

~o~

My name is Sherlock Holmes

I can tell you what Breckenridge won't

It is my business to know

What other people don't

~o~

The little man seemed surprised

As if something were amiss

But sir, he replied

You can know nothing of this

~o~

You trace geese from Mrs. Oakshott

Holmes said with a grin

That first went to Breckenridge

And then the Alpha Inn

~o~

You are just the man, he cried

That I have longed to meet

But Holmes decided to discuss

The rest at Baker Street

~o~

Sitting by the fire

Holmes asked the gent his name

John Robinson, he said

No knowing Holmes knew his game

~o~

The real one if you please

Holmes chided the little man

Ah, James Ryder, upper attendant

At the Hotel Cosmopolitan

~o~

It is not geese you seek

Just one that got away

It ended up here you see

A white one marked with gray

~o~

It did a curious thing

Which dead birds aren't wont to do

It laid a remarkable egg

Of the brightest, bonniest blue

~o~

Then Holmes held up the gem

And Ryder nearly fainted

I believe, said Holmes, that you and this stone

Are already well acquainted.

~o~

The game is up, the only chance

Is to hear the truth be told

I have every link in the chain

Except the one which you withhold

~o~

Then Ryder finally broke down

His face as white as bone

And told of how he planned

To steal precious stone

~0~

He'd blamed it all on Horner

Who had a checkered past

And while Horner was arrested

Made off with the gem quite fast

~o~

To Brixton Road he'd gone

To his sister, Mrs. Oakshott's home

Thinking over what to do

In the yard he watched the geese roam

~o~

Then suddenly it came to him

Just how to fool the police

And he shoved the stone in the crop

Of one of the milling geese

~o~

He declined the other bird

His sister had tucked away

And slaughtered his first pick

The white one banded with gray

~o~

But what he never suspected

When he carried the bird away

Was that he'd confused it with its twin

Another bird with some feathers of gray

~o~

When Ryder opened his empty goose

He realized he had the wrong game

And now his deceitful attempts at theft

Had him in trouble just the same

~o~

He begged on his knees for mercy

His face was deathly pale

But Holmes reminded him he hadn't

Thought of poor Horner stuck in jail

~o~

Get out, Holmes finally said

And he sent Ryder on his way

I may be abetting a felon

But it's nearly Christmas Day

~o~

So James Ryder got a second chance

John Horner was cleared and released

And Holmes and I toasted the season

Enjoying a belated Christmas feast.

~~o~~