This half-told tale was a shared bond between George and his grandson, Sam. It is also Harding’s fond reference to his grandfather, with whom he had close relationship. They often spent time fishing and hiking in the Maine north woods, and his grandfather would entertain him with bawdy sailors’ limericks – never divulging the ribald punch lines.
The limerick form was popularized by Edward Lear in his first Book of Nonsense (1845). This kind of humor is also reminiscent of the “Bert and I” collection of stories and recordings, set in “Down East” Maine.