Know something about this song or lyrics? Add it to our wiki.
It was late one fall night at a fairground near town

When Esther first saw the Armenian man

Who groveled toward her and stood by her side

With a bucket that swung in his hand

His grin stretched the folds of his pasty white cheeks

And his lips hurled a dollop of murk on the curb

And the lights from the rides showed a mischievous sparkle

That flashed in his hollow eyed stare

He said "Little girl, you can chop off my legs

And then peel off my socks if you want to.

But I'd rather you took this old puppet from me

That I hold in my pail as we speak."

And he stood looking down at the innocent girl

And she stared at the bucket bewildered

Til he lifted the doll for the young girl to see

And a giant smile grew on his face

She saw the doll's eyes and she couldn't resist

And she thanked the man quickly and ran to the church

And she burst through the door with puppet held high

And a hush filled the chapel, and the people looked mean

Esther tried in vain to pacify the mob

Quibble grew to spat, to wrangle, then to brawl

The frenzied congregation struggled desperately to fetch

The pretty puppet snugly nestled deep in Esther's leather sack

Through the window of the church a storm began to rage

And Esther knew the time had come to flee

She scurried down the aisle toward the doorway in the distance

And out into the rainstorm where she felt she would be free

But the wind was blowing harder

And her skirt began to billow

Until finally her feet began to lift

And she rose above the people and the houses and the chimneys

And Esther and the doll were set adrift

Floating higher over the hills,

and the valleys and treetops they'd flutter and glide

Soaring and turning suspended on air

With the earth far below them they'd tumble

And dive through the clouds

And she began to plummet earthward till she landed in the nasty part of town

She glanced about the village sure to find the evil men

Who rob and pillage in the darkest hour of night

Nervously she fumbled for the pouch that held the

Puppet on her rump.

Feeling quite outnumbered Esther hid behind

A nearby pile of lumber, where she waited till the dawn

Cause it would have been a blunder to

Succumb to a hoodlum on the prowl

When the morning came, she wandered through the streets

Along the chilly lake that lay beside the town

At last a peaceful moment, but she thought she heard a sound

It was an angry mob of joggers coming up to knock her down

As Esther stood and shook her head the joggers were approaching

And she knew she had no choice left but to swim

As the frosty water sank its bitter teeth into her hide

She tried to slide the heavy clothing from her skin

Naked now she made her way toward the shore

When suddenly she felt a tiny tugging at her toe.

And the puppet she'd forgotten wrapped its tiny

Little arms around her ankle and wouldn't let her go.

The waves seemed to open and swallow her whole

As the doll pulled her down through the eerie green deep

And the sound of the laughing old man filled her ears

As she drifted away to a tranquil and motionless sleep...

Lyrics submitted by oofus

Esther song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +1
    General CommentShe's dead people. She died.
    rlanantelopeon March 20, 2005   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't see the puppet as being evil. I don't think it was trying to drown her, it was vulnerable and scared too, and was just trying to hang on.
    Schwealdsondottiron January 13, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI was listening to this in the car today, and as she got airborne, I was thinking drugs. Addictive drugs, guys. She is confused, she takes them from the man, the normal people disapprove, she runs away and gets high (flying!) and then she comes back down "in the nasty part of town," where she is chased down by joggers (if you're seeing it from my point of view yet, any help with "joggers?" I'm drawing a blank, i never understand that part). So she has to run from these people, and she jumps into the water. The water's painful, so she strips down, but that doll just can't let her go.

    Eventually it kills her.

    nicka912on July 23, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI don't think of Ester's death as a literal death. I think of it as the death of her innocence. I believe that the doll may (from the writer's perspective) represent a number of things that may bring about such a proverbial death.

    Most people have suggested drugs and prostitution. I think one may add to this list of possibilities pregnancy at a young age, as possibly represented by the doll.

    The churchgoers' response to her doll is equally plausible (and understandable from a reactionary point of view) if one thinks of the doll as an unplanned child. Through this interpretation, Ester's childhood is summarily (and prematurely) brought to an end when faced with the responsibility of caring for her own child in the face of being shunned by the people around her. Hawthorne would be proud.
    MadCapDeeBagon July 09, 2013   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationCast of characters:

    • Esther – A young girl (Our tragic heroine)
    • Armenian Man – ‘Bad boy’ (Stranger to Esther’s family)
    • The Bucket – His ‘vessel’ containing a ‘Gift’ for Esther
    • The Puppet – His ‘gift’/The baby
    • The Church/Congregation – Esther’s traditional family/community
    • “The puppet held high” – Visibly pregnant & unashamed
    • Storm – untenable situation (within the family)/the world apart from her loving family
    • “Her feet began to lift” – Turns to drugs (She gets high)
    • (Instrumental interlude) – Time spent escaping through drugs
    • “Tumble earthward” – comes down to reality (now destitute)
    • Evil Men – Evil People (truly wicked or maybe she’s paranoid. Either way, no one to turn to)
    • Morning – Cleared Mind
    • “Wandered through the streets” – debates which way to go (back home?)
    • Chilly Lake – Hard feelings/Cold treatment/Judgment
    • The Town – Home/Family
    • Joggers – “The Healthy” (family, faculty, medical or social workers) who ‘know better’
    • “To Swim” – To face (and try to accept) the cold judgment of others

    With all the metaphors introduced, the tragic conclusion of this tale comes into painful focus in the last two stanzas as Esther decides to rid herself of the child at the will of her family, only to be faced with feelings of guilt small at first, nagging, relentless, and ultimately inescapable.
    The stigma attached to her from those on the outside combined with inner thoughts about the child (she would never come to know) prove to be more than Esther can bear. Somewhere out there is a man who shamelessly ruined a girl. Pitiable Esther takes her own life.
    BillIamBillIamon February 10, 2016   Link
  • 0
    General Commentits a like a girl in a crazy dream who can fly
    Sparrow1332on April 24, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti think its about a girl who is at a carnaval and this man gives her a puppet, an evil puppet. its bad karma. it gives her bad luck and ends up killing her hehe...phish is awesome
    Amsieon June 21, 2003   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti totally agree with Amsie...this song and it's lyrics are cool and crazy shit.
    gueveraliveson April 23, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFor some reason I remember reading a similar story as a folktale. It was perhaps based in Eastern Europe or possibly somewhere in the Caucasus. Someone please let me know via e-mail if he or she knows anything more about this Esther-folktale idea. Thanks.
    bjengles3on March 17, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentTRIPPY!!!!
    mellowed-outon December 11, 2005   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top