Christmas Issue 116: Boxing Day – Hunting the Wren

File:Little Wren Drawing.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Little_Wren_Drawing.jpg

 

 

The day after Christmas, also known as St Stephen’s Day, is the day for singing and dancing to the song “Hunting the Wren” on the Isle of Man

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the youtube link which will give you the tune and the dance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uZUQh1fvNqs

I like the informal, spontaneous nature of the groups of people dancing, on someone’s driveway, in a street, just wherever.

In the old days, the “birdcage” garland would have held a dead wren, and the feathers would have been pulled off and swapped for coins or food, to bring good luck for the coming year. Eventually the bald remains would be buried, accompanied by a suitable dirge, or maybe cooked into a pie. Here’s one version of the words.

  • ‘We’ll go to the woods’ says Robin to Bobbin. ‘We’ll go to the woods’ says Richie to Robin.  ‘We’ll go to the woods’ says Jack o ‘the Land. ‘We’ll go to the woods’ says everyone.
  • ‘What’ll we do?’…
  • ‘We’ll hunt the wren’…
  • ‘Oh where oh where?’…
  • ‘In yonder green bush’…
  • ‘Well how get him down?’…
  • ‘With sticks and stones’…
  • ‘How get him home?’…
  • ‘In brewer’s great cart’…
  • ‘How will we eat him?’…
  • ‘With knives and forks’…
  • ‘Who’ll come to the supper?’…
  • ‘The king and the queen’…
  • ‘Eyes to the blind’ says Robin to Bobbin. ‘Legs to the lame’ says Richie to Robin. ‘The pluck to the poor’ says Jack o’ the Land. ‘Bones to the dog’ says everyone.
  • The wren, the wren is king of the birds. St Stephen’s Day he’s caught in the furze. Although he is little, his fam’ly is great. We pray you good people to give us a treat!

holly

 

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