2006-05-09

Zanzibar!

It was a dark and stormy night. I stalked my enemy through the tall grass. I saw the flash of his muzzle as his shot went whistling over my head. I fired! I killed him!

I walked to the nearest town. Casually smoking a cigarette, I entered the nearest bar.

"I have killed a man!", said I.

"His name?" demanded a tall, dark, and handsome stranger at the other end of the bar.

"His name? His name was Zanzibar!"

"Zanzibar! He was my brother! We must meet."

It was a dark and stormy night....

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

i heard a different variant of this just last night. what is it? where does it come from? it's a mystery to me and the person i heard it from.

John Cowan said...

I have no idea where it comes from. I've known it since I was a child.

Anonymous said...

Silly Man!!! you stole my name john

John said...

Guess Who?

geauxlsu225 said...

My father used to recite this to us when we were kids. I never knew where it came from either.
It's a little different version:

And so we met...
I, being the accused, chose my rusty, dusty, trusty pistol.
At dawn we paced... one, two, three!
We turned, he shot, I fired, he fell.
I strolled to a nearby tavern.
"A drink" I cried, "for I have just killed a man."
"Killed a man? What was his name?"
"Zanzibar."
"Zanzibar! He was my brother!"
And so we met...

John Cowan said...

Y'know, my version did say "rusty, trusty [but not dusty] pistol". I had totally forgotten that.

Sarah said...

"I have killed a man!" said I. "Who?" said he. "Zanzibar!" "What? My brother? We shall meet!" The next day outside the gates of Paris, upon the Field of Honor, we met. I drew my rusty, trusty pistol. "Bang Bang" shot I. He lay dead at my feet. Nonchalantly, I walked inside a nearby cafe. I have killed a man, said I...

This is the version my brothers and I learned from our grandfather and aunt. I have googled every part of it to try and find the origin, and I had never heard those other versions before. Sounds like an oral tradition.

Anonymous said...

We met outside the gates of Paris
I being the better man quickly overcame my adversary
I went into a church to pray and in the aisle I met a man.
What is the matter said the man.
I've killed a man
Killed a man?
Killed a man.
What is the man's name?
Zanzibar
Zanzibar?
Zanzibar
Sir, he said, you have killed my brother and so we must fight a duel
We met outside the gates of Paris...

Kleio said...

My father taught me this version. I believe it is as close to the original authentic version as is possible, seeing that my father was born in 1915, learned it as a boy, and retold it word-for-word without variation countless times. I memorized it like it was my own name. I am sure every word is exactly as my father taught me (particularly emphasized syllables are capitalized - there was a definite rhythm to the entire passage):

I met my man outside the gates of Paris, and I being the better man quickly vanquished him. Stepping into a nearby inn for prayers and contemplation, I met a man speaking about deuling.

"Deuling," said I, "I have just killed a man."

"Not KILLED a man!?"

"Yes, KILLED a man!"

"And what was his name?"

"ZANzibar"

"NOT ZANzibar!!?"

"Yes, ZANzibar!"

"And how do you spell it?"

"z-a-N z-I b-a-R"

"Not z-a-N z-I b-a-R!!?"

"Yes, z-a-N z-I b-a-R!"

"He was my brother...we must FIGHT!"

I met my man outside the gates of Paris...

austxamy said...

It was a dark and stormy night, outside the gates of Paris.
I, being the challenged partner, chose my rusty trusty pistol.
I fired. He fell into a ditch, dead.
As I walked into a nearby cafe, I saw a tall, dark, distinguished looking gentleman.
"I killed a man" said I.
"Killed a man?" said he?
"Killed a man" said I.
"What was his name?" said he.
"Zanzibar" said I.
"Zanzibar?" said he?
"Zanzibar" said I.
"You killed my brother - we must meet"
It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris....

Rob said...

At age 13 at Camp Rockmont, NC I heard the following version done as a round, like "Row, row, row your boat", by three counselors wearing hoods and carrying candles in the darkened dining hall:
It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris.
A shot rang out
A man lay dead
And there I stood with my trusty, rusty pistol.
As I wandered through the streets of Paris I met a man.
Your name, said I?
My name, said he?
Yes, your name.
My name, said he, is Z A N, Zan, Z I, Zi, B A R, Bar, Zanzibar.
Did you say Z A N, Zan, Z I, Zi, B A R, Bar, Zanzibar?
Yes, said he, Z A N, Zan, Z I, Zi, B A R, Bar, Zanzibar.
Then, said I, I have killed your brother.
Then, said he, we must meet...

The last counselor completed his last round, alone, after the first, and then the second had completed their rounds and departed the floor. Then there was silence...

Prof. Jacob Beamer said...

My version, told to me by my uncle at least 40 years ago:

Slowly I turned. Step by step, inch by inch, I approached my opponent.
Suddenly, I raised my trusty, rusty rifle and fired.
My opponent fell into the arms of his second.
Shaken, I strode into a nearby bar and said, "I have just killed a man."
[use different voice:] "Killed a man -- why, what was his name?"
[narrator] "Zanzibar"
[second person] "Zanzibar! Why, he was my brother! We shall meet tonight!"
[narrator:]Slowly I turned.....

Mary said...

Hey I know a slightly different version too! Here it is:
We met before the gates of Paris. I being the better man, quickly overcame my adversary. I repaired to a cafe for rest. There I met a man and said, "I have killed a man."
"What?!? You have killed a man??"
"Yes, I have killed a man."
"Well what was his name?"
"Zanzibar!"
"No! Not Zanzibar!"
"Yes, Zanzibar."
"How do you spell it?"
"Z-a-n-z-i-b-a-r."
"No! Not Z-a-n-z-i-b-a-r!"
"Yes, Z-a-n-z-i-b-a-r!"
"Then you have killed my brother and we must fight!"
So we met before the gates of Paris...

Erik Nelson said...

My uncle recited a variant of this. I was on a quest for it via Google and found your page. Anyone know the source?
As close as I can to the way my uncle knew it:

It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris. I drew my rusty, trusty horse-pistol (which I had raised from a Colt) and fired. My opponent sank into his second's arms.

"Stop! You have killed a man!"
"A man?" says I.
"A man," says he.
"What was his name?"
"Zanzibar. You have killed my brother. We must fight."
[repeat]

walrus said...

we must find out where this comes from......... my father's version (he was born in 1910):

i went into a bar and said i killed a man
killed a man?
yes killed a man.
what was his name?
zanzibar
how do you spell it?
z-a-n-z-i-b-a-r
he was my brother - we must fight
we went outside the gates of paris and i
being the better man easily overcame my adversary

Philip said...

This is the official version, told many times by my father, born in 1912:

So, we met outside the gates of Paris,
And I, being the better man,
Quickly overcame my adversary.

As I strolled into a nearby cafe for prayer and meditation,
I heard two people speaking of duelling.

"Speaking of duelling," said I, "I've just killed a man.

"Not killed a man?"

"Yes, killed a man."

"And what was his name?"

"Zanzibar."

"Not Zanzibar?"

"Yes, Zanzibar."

"And how do you spell this Zanzibar?"

"Z-A-N, Z-I, BAR."

"Not Z-A-N, Z-I, BAR?"

"Yes, Z-A-N, Z-I, BAR."

"Then you have killed my brother, and we must fight."

So, we met outside the gates of Paris,
And I, being the better man,
Quickly overcame my adversary.

etc., etc., etc.

Where on earth does this come from?

And by the way, we named our dog Zanzibar in honor of this.

JayD said...

My version is slighty different.It is continous

It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris. There I met a tall dark stranger.
Killed a man said I
Killed a man said he.
Killed a man said I
His name said he
Zanzibar, said I
Zanzibar said he
Zanzibar said I.
My brother said he
Your brother said I
A duel said he...
It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris.
There I met a tall dark sranger ETC

David said...

demanded a tall, dark, and handsome stranger at the other end of the bar. "His name? ... ibabytall.blogspot.com

William Norton-Taylor said...

My father used to recite this version:
It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris
I shot, Bang!
He fell into the arms of his second
From there I went to a wayside tavern
Where I met a tall dark stranger
"I shot a man" said I
"What was his name" said he?
"Zanzibar" Said I
"You shot my brother! We shall meet"
It was a dark and stormy night outside the gates of Paris.....(repeats)