Pharoah Had a Daughter

Walter Russell Mean
Walter Russell Mead

When I was a lad at boarding school, I used to sing in an impromptu singing group in Corky’s dorm composed of myself, John Alsop, now a jurist in Maine, and Walter Russell Mead, then an incredibly bright young man from Chapel Hill, now an internationally known author and pundit on international affairs.

We sang My Darling Clementine and Down by the Old Mill Stream (not a river, but a stream) and another song Walter taught us that we called Walter’s Bible School. I believe the song originally had another name, but Walter’s Bible School will do just fine.

The chorus went:

Young folks, old folks, everybody come
Come to Walter’s Bible School, you’ll have a lot of fun.
Please leave your chewing gum and razors at the door
And you’ll hear some Bible stories like you never heard before.

And there were lots of funny verses. I remember three of them:

Shadrach, Meschach and Abendego,
They disobeyed the king so he said they had to go
He threw them in the furnace just to burn them up like chaff
But they wore asbestos BVDs and gave the king a laugh.


Jonah was a mariner, so goes the Bible tale.
He tried to book a passage on a transatlantic whale.
The whale’s interior was crowded at the best
So Jonah pushed the button and the whale did the rest.


And this one is my favorite:

Pharoah had a daughter. She had a winsome smile.
She found the baby Moses just a’floatin’ in the Nile.
She took him to her father with that old familiar tale
Which is just about as probable as Jonah and the whale.