"It was a dark and stormy night
The brigands they sat in their cave
The chief of the brigands arose, and he said
"Antonio, tell us a storio!"
And this is what he said.
"It was a dark and stormy night..."
Well, you get the idea. This could go on for some time. It's clearly a fairly widespread meme; the Ahlbergs wrote a book about it, for example.
M has just noticed that Googling for the version I learnt yields no results, though there's an instructive comment thread here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/today/listeners/openinglines.shtml in which various people ascribe it to their fathers or the Scouts.
So. Do you remember this from your childhood? What words did you use? Where were you, geographically, at the time?
I have noted before that despite the work of the Opies, the rhymes remembered and told by children (in playgrounds and around campfires) are not, by and large, well documented as a tradition.