Mighty Girls #2: Isabel and Natalie


She’s a Mighty Girl and Mighty Commenter and Alex is also one of the patron saints of music for SBJ. She very kindly put together a couple of compilations of songs for his christening in England last year, and they’ve been on high rotate in our house (though SBJ has now learned how to turn the stereo on and off so they get a bit stop-start-stop-start lately).

One of my favourites is Natalie Merchant’s setting of Ogden Nash’s poem The Adventures of Isabel. So that’s two more Mighty Girls here. Natalie Merchant is superawesome (she even performed at a TED conference!) Thanks to Alex I now know she has written a whole album of songs setting old children’s poetry, and it’s gorgeous.

As for Isabel, she”s magnificent! Here’s the marvellous Ogden Nash (I bet you know some of his kids’ poems even if you don’t know they’re by him) reading the poem, followed by Mighty Natalie (in a dodgy concert video, sorry) tearing up Texas with her version. You’ll notice she doesn’t need to gyrate in her underwear to entertain a crowd. That’s Mighty in itself.

The Adventures of Isabel, by Ogden Nash:

Isabel met an enormous bear,
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t care;
The bear was hungry, the bear was ravenous,
The bear’s big mouth was cruel and cavernous.
The bear said, Isabel, glad to meet you,
How do, Isabel, now I’ll eat you!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry.
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She washed her hands and she straightened her hair up,
Then Isabel quietly ate the bear up.

Once in a night as black as pitch
Isabel met a wicked old witch.
the witch’s face was cross and wrinkled,
The witch’s gums with teeth were sprinkled.
Ho, ho, Isabel! the old witch crowed,
I’ll turn you into an ugly toad!
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry,
She showed no rage and she showed no rancor,
But she turned the witch into milk and drank her.

Isabel met a hideous giant,
Isabel continued self reliant.
The giant was hairy, the giant was horrid,
He had one eye in the middle of his forhead.
Good morning, Isabel, the giant said,
I’ll grind your bones to make my bread.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She nibled the zwieback that she always fed off,
And when it was gone, she cut the giant’s head off.

Isabel met a troublesome doctor,
He punched and he poked till he really shocked her.
The doctor’s talk was of coughs and chills
And the doctor’s satchel bulged with pills.
The doctor said unto Isabel,
Swallow this, it will make you well.
Isabel, Isabel, didn’t worry,
Isabel didn’t scream or scurry.
She took those pills from the pill concocter,
And Isabel calmly cured the doctor.

A wee postscript: in the course of researching and writing this, I made some people in our house very glad that the last line doesn’t actually say, as we misheard it, that Isabel killed the doctor. Phew!


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0 comments on “Mighty Girls #2: Isabel and Natalie”

  1. Alex Reply

    Ha! Do you know, I’ve always misheard that last line as “killed” too? And I wondered about the sequence of foes culminating in the doctor – more perilous than a bear, witch or giant?! Relieved to hear what it should have been. And glad to know you are still enjoying the tunes. 🙂 Unsurprisingly, this one is a bit of a hit in our house too. Or, more precisely, our car… Although Marcus does sometimes wonder when he’ll get a song about him (and was a bit put out at first about all these adventures Isabelle was having without him!)

  2. Rochelle Reply

    Thanks! Love Natalie Merchant and, of course, there are a few girls around here! Book and cd on order!

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