The Mystery Number Five
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


Jump to: Overall Meaning ↴  Line by Line Meaning ↴

I stepped out this morning To
Watch my drivers roll
To hear my whistle blowing While
The fireman slings the coal
When I got to the switchyard
I heard a brakeman say
"Oh what a mystery your engine's cold today"
Up stepped a little maiden With
A teardrop in her eye
She began, Oh Mister Man
Do you pull old Number Five?
My daddy was your fireman
And he often spoke of you
Of being so kindhearted, So honest, so brave
So true

He was found dead this morning
On trestle number five
On his way to prepare the
Morning train for you
The story explaining the myst'ry By
A little maiden was told
'Twas the first time in history
I found my engine cold

So you railroad men take warning
And play this game fair




So when the Master calls on us
We'll meet my fireman up there

Overall Meaning

"The Mystery Of Number Five" by Jimmie Rodgers tells the story of a railroad worker who encounters a little maiden at the switchyard. The worker hears from the brakeman that his engine is cold, meaning it is not functioning. The little maiden approaches the worker with tears in her eyes and asks if he pulls old Number Five, revealing that her father was the worker's fireman. She describes her father as kindhearted, honest, brave, and true. However, her father was found dead that morning on trestle number five while preparing the morning train.


The little maiden's story explains the mystery of why the engine is cold. This tragic event serves as a reminder to all railroad men to play their game fair and to be prepared when the Master calls upon them so that they may meet the fireman in heaven.


Overall, the lyrics reflect on the interconnectedness of life and the unforeseen circumstances that can occur, reminding listeners to value honesty, bravery, and kindness.


Line by Line Meaning

I stepped out this morning To
I walked outside early in the morning


Watch my drivers roll
Witnessing the wheels of my train moving


To hear my whistle blowing While
Listening to the sound of my train's whistle blowing while


The fireman slings the coal
The fireman is shoveling coal into the fire to generate steam


When I got to the switchyard
After reaching the area where train tracks are switched


I heard a brakeman say
I overheard a brakeman expressing


"Oh what a mystery your engine's cold today"
"It is strange that your locomotive is not warm today"


Up stepped a little maiden With
Then a young girl came forward with


A teardrop in her eye
A teardrop falling from her eye


She began, Oh Mister Man
She started saying, 'Oh Mister Man'


Do you pull old Number Five?
Are you the one operating locomotive Number Five?


My daddy was your fireman
My father served as the fireman on your train


And he often spoke of you
He frequently talked about you


Of being so kindhearted, So honest, so brave
Describing your nature as genuinely compassionate, trustworthy, and courageous


So true
Absolutely true


He was found dead this morning
He was discovered deceased earlier today


On trestle number five
On the bridge designated as trestle number five


On his way to prepare the
While he was en route to organize


Morning train for you
The train scheduled for your use in the morning


The story explaining the myst'ry By
The account clarifying the puzzling situation told by


A little maiden was told
A young girl was narrating


'Twas the first time in history
It was the initial occurrence ever recorded


I found my engine cold
I discovered my locomotive to be without heat


So you railroad men take warning
Therefore, you men employed in the railway industry should be cautious


And play this game fair
And conduct yourselves honestly


So when the Master calls on us
So that when the Creator summons us


We'll meet my fireman up there
We will reunite with my fireman in heaven




Lyrics © O/B/O APRA AMCOS

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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Comments from YouTube:

Mason Martin

Rip 1897_1933 a legend

David Randall

My favrite. Song of his. Im 57. Years old. But. Love the. Old suff. This is. So good.

89879237 4583475623

Can coal from a steamboat on Shiitake Lake truly become airborne and ignite the old Lenhart Hotel?

Allen Booth

Possibly. But merely going through the air is not going to ignite the coal. If it's lit before it is launched or after it lands close to the Lenhart Hotel, then the possibility exists.

Arkansas Red

They'll never be another. Van Williams was the closet.

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