Once upon a time there was a little boy, who played a ukulele. He'd go around town: clink, clunk, CLONK! Of course, the grownups would be busy, and they'd say:
"Take that thing out of here. We're talking. Git!" And they'd kick him out of the house.
Not only that. The boy's father would get in trouble, too. His father was a magician. He had a magic wand. He could go Zoop! with it, and make things disappear.
But the father was a terrible practical joker. He'd come up to someone just about to drink a nice glass of...something. Zoop! The glass would disappear. He'd come up to someone doing a hard job of work - maybe sawing a log of wood: zzt, zzt, zzt. Up comes the father: Zoop! And the saw would disappear. He'd come up to someone just about to sit down after a hard day's work, and zoop! no chair.
People got tired of all this. They said to the father: "You get out of here too. Take your magic wand and your practical jokes and you and your son, just git!"
And the boy and his father, they ostracized them. That means, they made 'em live on the outskirts of town.
(Banjo starts a low, menacing strum)
Now, in this town they used to tell stories. The old people used to tell stories about the monsters and giants that lived in the old days! They used to tell a story about Abiyoyo. They said he was as tall as a house, and could eat...people...up. (Of course, nobody believed it, but they told the stories anyway).
But one day, one day, the sun rose, blood red over the hill. And the first people that got up and looked out of their window - they saw a great big shadow in front of the sun. And they could feel the whole ground shake (Stomp, stomp.)
Women screamed. Strong men fainted. They said. Run for your lives! Abiyoyo's coming!
Down through the fields he came. He came to the sheep, pasture and grabs a whole sheep. Yeowp! He eats it down in one bite. He comes to the cow pasture. Yuhk!
Just then the boy and his father woke up. I think they'd been up late the night before at a party. The boy rubbed his eyes and said:
"Hey, paw, what's coming over the fields?" The father said: "Oh, son. It's Abiyoyo. Oh, if only I could get him to lie down. I could get him to disappear."
The boy said, "Come with me father." He grabbed his father by one hand. The father grabbed the magic wand, and the boy grabbed his ukulele. Over the fields they went, right up to where Abiyoyo was.
People screamed "Don't go near him! He'll eat you alive!"
There was Abiyoyo. He had long fingernails, 'cause he never cut 'em. He had slobbery teeth 'cause he never brushed them. Matted hair, 'cause he never combed it. Stinking feet, 'cause he never washed them. He was just about to come down with his claws, when the boy whipped out his ukulele.
Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo Abiyoyo, Abiyoyo Abiyoyo, yo yoyo yo yoyo Abiyoyo, yo yoyo yo yoyo Abi. . .
Well, the monster had never heard a song about himself before, and a foolish grin spread across his face. And started to dance.
ABIYOYO, ABIYOYO, The boy went faster.
ABIYOYO, YO YOYO, YO YOYO ABIYOYO, YO YOYO...
The giant got out of breath. He staggered. He fell down flat on the ground.
Zoop, zoop! went the father with his magic want, and Abiyoyo disappeared.
People streamed out of their houses, and ran across the fields. They said: "Why, he's gone, he's disappeared!"
They said: "Come on back to town. Bring your damn ukulele;
we don't care."
And they all sang:
Abiyoyo, yo yoyo yo yoyo
Abiyoyo. yo yoyo yo yoyo.
Story by Pete Seeger. Music: African Traditional
(c) 1963 Fall River Music Inc.