The Seagulls and the Crickets:
A Mormon Folksong
The winter of forty-nine* had passed,
The winter of haunting fears,
When famine had knocked at the city gates
And threatened the Pioneers.
But spring with its smiling skies lent grace
And cheer to the hosts within.
And they tilled their fields with a new-born trust
And the courage to fight and win.
With the thrill of life the tender shoots
Burst forth from the virgin plain;
And each day added its ray of hope,
The blessing of ripened grain.
But lo, in the east strange clouds appeared,
And dark became the sun,
And down from the mountainsides there swept
A scourge that the boldest shunned.
The crickets by tens of millions came,
Like fog on the British coast.
The finger of devastation marked
Its course on the Mormon host.
With a vigor that desperation fanned,
They battled and smote and flew.
But the clouds still gathered and broke afresh,
’Til the fields that waved were few.
With visions of famine and want and woe,
They prayed from a heart sincere,
And lo, from the west came other clouds
To succor the pioneers.
‘Twas seagulls feathered in angel white
For angels they were, forsooth!
The seagulls there by the thousands came
To battle in very truth.
They charged down upon the cricket hordes,
And gorging them day and night,
They routed the devastating foe,
And the crickets were put to flight.
All heads were bowed as they thanked their God,
And they reaped while the Devil raved.
The harvest was garnered to songs of praise,
And the Pioneers were saved.
*The year was 1848, but with the casualness of folk songs, the rhyme of “nine” works better.