A ship, once crossing over the sea --
I tell the tale as 'twas told to me --
Made a hundred miles or so from shore
When a craft was one day seen that bore
Her flag reversed, while 'gainst the mast
The torn sails fluttered as the wind rushed past.
"Out with the boat!" the captain cried,
And the seamen darted over the side;
Their oars fell in with a regular dip,
As they rapidly neared the silent ship.
When they reached the deck a sight met their eyes
Which made them start with a fearful surprise.
All around on the deck the crew were lying,
And groaning aloud as tho' they were dying;
The captain alone on a hen-coop sat,
With his face in hands and a weed on his hat;
He gazed on them all with a bloodshot eye,
And the crew looked up with a heart-rending sigh.
"Say, why do you raise the flag of distress,
And sit around deck in idleness?
Are you out of food? Have you used up your water?
Have you the plague? Or what is the matter?"
"We come from Beverly, and the flag
you have seen
Is because for three days we have
been out of beans!"
According to Samuel Eliot Morrison, Beverly originated
baked beans only to lose the honor to Boston.