At Covent Garden Market

I spotted the stall

Of the poulterer named Breckinridge

But it appeared he'd sold them all


Out of geese, I see

Holmes said to the gent

There'll be 500 in the morning

Was the replying comment


That won't do, said Holmes

I must have one tonight

And Breckenridge gestured

At another stall lit by gaslight


But I was directed here

Holmes persisted, of course

If you can't sell me one

Can you tell me their source?


Breckenridge became furious

He began to yell

Where he got the birds

He refused to tell


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


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


Well then the bet is off

And I was startled by Holmes' words

You see, I wagered a fiver

That those were country birds.


Well then you've lost your money

The poulterer firmly said

Them birds what went to the Alpha

Every one was town bred.


I'll bet you they weren't

Holmes said, baiting the hook

Breckenridge agreed to the bet

And turned to fetch his book


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


So off to Mrs. Oakshott

Brixton Road was our next stop

Until we heard Breckenridge

Completely blow his top


Get out! he loudly said

To a rat-faced little gent

I've had enough of you

My patience is already spent!


But the goose! said the man

You don't understand

One of them was mine

The one with the gray band


But Breckenridge wouldn't hear it

I'm tired of your whining

You can ask Mrs. Oakshott

Or even Proosia's King!


Get out of it! he cried

Chasing the little man away

I think, said Holmes to me

That this is our lucky day


This fellow knows something

Of the business we do

And he said to the man

I believe I can help you


My name is Sherlock Holmes

I can tell you what Breckenridge won't

It is my business to know

What other people don't


The little man seemed surprised

As if something were amiss

But sir, he replied

You can know nothing of this


You trace geese from Mrs. Oakshott

Holmes said with a grin

That first went to Breckenridge

And then the Alpha Inn


You are just the man, he cried

That I have longed to meet

But Holmes decided to discuss

The rest at Baker Street


Sitting by the fire

Holmes asked the gent his name

John Robinson, he said

No knowing Holmes knew his game


The real one if you please

Holmes chided the little man

Ah, James Ryder, upper attendant

At the Hotel Cosmopolitan


It is not geese you seek

Just one that got away

It ended up here you see

A white one marked with gray


It did a curious thing

Which dead birds aren't wont to do

It laid a remarkable egg

Of the brightest, bonniest blue


Then Holmes held up the gem

And Ryder nearly fainted

I believe, said Holmes, that you and this stone

Are already well acquainted.


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


Then Ryder finally broke down

His face as white as bone

And told of how he planned

To steal precious stone


He'd blamed it all on Horner

Who had a checkered past

And while Horner was arrested

Made off with the gem quite fast


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


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


He declined the other bird

His sister had tucked away

And slaughtered his first pick

The white one banded with gray


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


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


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


Get out, Holmes finally said

And he sent Ryder on his way

I may be abetting a felon

But it's nearly Christmas Day


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.