nine ferrets in a bottle

minnow at minnow at
Wed Sep 22 18:32:55 EDT 2004

Helen wrote:

>In a message dated 9/21/04 7:07:31 PM Central Daylight Time,
>minnow at writes:

>> I feel I should remark that this wasn't my phrase, but I found it extremely
>> funny: I don't know *why* the idea of nine ferrets in a bottle gives me the
>> gigglies, but it does.  It's entirely surreal.  Nothing to do with
>> homosexuality at all, just deeply weird.

>So where does it come from, anyway? I am the ghost of Able Mabel, the
>ferrets' bottle is on the table?

It was Peter Morwood, reading an obituary, at a convention.  If anyone
happens to see him, they could ask: for all I know it may be original.  Or
it might be some splendid Northern Irish leftover from a song, as below...

>I'm imagining some folk song, with patter and guitar thumping and all that,
>going something like
>I had a bottle of ferrets,
>Which was otherwise filled with gin,
>I had a bottle of ferrets
>And the ferrets wuz livin' in sin.
>Every ferret was male*,
>Every ferret was tail,
>Nine ferrets in a bottle,
>And they wuz livin' in sin.
>(Alternate version: every ferret fe-male, every ferret be tail, if you like)

I started to fall about laughing at around line six, and my chair went out
from under me, and my daughter says you shouldn't cause her alarm and
despondency like that, she *ran* upstairs to see if I was all right!

Thank you, Helen.  :-)

May I have that, please, to go with the wild cry of "Stoat!!"?


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