Song cupboard T2

The old hen cackled

The old grey duck

The old grey mare

The old woman and her pig

The pearly Adriatic

The poor king

The river is flowing

The shepherd and his dog

The shiny little house

The Skye boat song

The Spider and the Fly

The spinning song

The squirrel

The tailor and the mouse

The Tottenham toad

The wee falorie man

The whale, the whale

The winds they did blow / The squirrel

The worm song

Last updated: 8/13/2018 2:49 PM

The songs below are part ofAway we go

compiled, adapted and illustrated by Dany Rosevear

Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page

To listen to music from these songs click on 🔊

To watch the author sing a song click on the title at:

 

© Dany Rosevear 2008 All rights reserved

You are free to copy, distribute, display and perform these works under the following conditions:

·       you must give the original author credit

·       you may not use this work for commercial purposes

·       for any re-use or distribution, you must make clear to others the licence terms of this work

·       any of these can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder

 

Your fair use and other rights are no way affected by the above.


 

 

The old hen cackled 🔊

 

 


This is one of many USA songs that has Black American roots. This one comes from Texas but my version comes from the singing of Alan Mills from Canada on Folkways Records. It is also a bluegrass tune often played on the banjo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The old hen she cackled, she cackled in the loft,

The next time she cackled, she cackled in the trough.

The old hen she cackled, she cackled in the lot,

The next time she cackled, she cackled in the pot.

Yes, the next time she cackled, she cackled in the pot.

 

The old hen she cackled, she cackled in the hay,

The next time she cackled, she cackled night and day.

The old hen she cackled, she cackled in the stable,

The next time she cackled, she cackled on the table.

Yes, the next time she cackled, she cackled on the table.

 

The old hen she cackled, she cackled as she flew,

The next time she cackled, the rooster cackled too.

The old hen she cackled, she cackled a-standing on one leg,

The next time she cackled, the rooster laid an egg!

Yes, the next time she cackled, the rooster laid an egg!


 

 

 

The old grey duck O

 

 


This song from West Cornwall was collected by Ralph Dunstan for his book ‘Cornish dialects and folk songs’.

The version here is free from dialect apart from the word ‘beels’ / ‘bills’ which is needed for rhyming! It has been brilliantly recorded by the late Cyril Tawney in his wonderful CD ‘Children songs from Devon and Cornwall’!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The old grey duck she stole her nest

And laid down in the fields;

And when the young ones did came forth,

They had no tails nor beels,

They had no tails nor beels,

They had no tails nor beels,

And when the young ones did came forth,

They had no tails nor beels.

 

Two eggs were addled and one was broke,

And they were thrown away;

The young ones couldn’t clunk nor swim

They all died that same day,

They all died that same day,

They all died that same day,

The young ones couldn’t clunk nor swim,

They all died that same day.

 

Next time we'll put her in the barn,

And tie her by the heels;

The young ones then may have a chance

To grow their tails and beels,

To grow their tails and beels,

To grow their tails and beels,

The young ones then may have a chance

To grow their tails and beels.


 

 

The old grey mare O

 

 


Realized as I was researching this American song that the tune is almost identical to ‘Down in Demerara’ - a very familiar one in my 1950s schooldays.

A ‘whiffletree’ is part of a horses tackle.

Find out more  at: http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3347 and  http://www.oldgraymares.com/Information_Lady%20Suffolk.htm 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be,

Ain't what she used to be, ain't what she used to be,

The old grey mare, she ain't what she used to be,

Many long years ago.

Many long years ago,

Many long years ago,

The old grey mare she ain't what she used to be,

Many long years ago.

 

The old grey mare, she kicked on the whiffletree,

Kicked on the whiffletree, kicked on the whiffletree,

The old grey mare she kicked on the whiffletree,

Many long years ago.

Many long years ago,

Many long years ago,

The old grey mare she kicked on the whiffletree,

Many long years ago.


 

 

The old woman and her pig O

 

 


This is a traditional Appalachian song but the words here were written by Jean Gilbert and are more suitable for young children who will love making the piggy noises.You can easily find the macabre version on the internet.

 

 

 

 

 

 


There was an old woman and she had a little pig,

Oink, oink, oink. x2

There was an old woman and she had a little pig,

It didn't cost much 'cause it wasn't very big.

Oink, oink, oink.

 

Now that little pig curled up in a heap,

Oink, oink, oink. x2

That little pig curled up in a heap,

He joined his friends and went to sleep

Oink, oink, oink.

 

They slept and slept and slept and slept,

Sh, sh, sh, x2

They slept and slept and slept and slept,

And slept and slept and slept and slept,

Sh, sh, sh.

 

The farmer woke them one by one,

Oink, oink, oink. x2

The farmer woke them one by one,

And they rolled right out in the midday sun,

Oink, oink, oink.

 

They rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled,

Oink, oink, oink. x2

They rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled

And rolled and rolled and rolled and rolled,

Oink, oink, oink.

 

Those little pigs rolled back in their pen,

Oink, oink, oink. x2

Those little pigs rolled back in their pen,

They went to sleep once again,

Oink, oink, oink.

 

 


 

 

The Pearly Adriatic O

 

 


A Yugoslav folk song from BBC Radio for Schools Singing Together, Summer 1967. Find ‘The Pearly Adriatic’ sung in Yougoslavian at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hiZ_11hcKU8 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Far, far away is my pearly Adriatic,

Far, far away, my pretty island home.

Far, far away is my lovely Isabella,

Far, far away from her I now must roam.

 

For I'm a sailor,

Sailing right across the ocean,

Tossed by the billows,

Tossed by the foam.

Chirry chirry birry, I'm a sailor,

Chirry chirry birry, I'm a sailor,

Chirry chirry birry, I'm a sailor,

Sailing away from home.


 

 

The poor king O

 

The words of this song are by Chris Green. The words are ideal for making up your own crazy verses.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The poor king found a goldfish in his bath,

A goldfish in his bath, a goldfish in his bath,

The poor king found a goldfish in his bath,

That swam between his toes.

 

The poor king found a monkey in his soup,

A monkey in his soup, a monkey in his soup,

The poor king found a monkey in his soup,

That pulled the poor king’s beard.

 

The poor king found a tiger in his bed,

A tiger in his bed, a tiger in his bed,

The poor king found a tiger in his bed,

That ate the poor king up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


The river is flowing 🔊

 

 


The source of this song was probably a chant written in the 1970s by Sun Bear, a member of the Chippewa Tribe. He was born in the White Earth Reservation in the North of the United States on 31 August 1926 and died on 19 June 1992 at the age of 66 in Spokane, Washington. Additional verses have been added over the years and you can find several interpretations of the melody. Find more at: http://www.soulrebels.com/beth/riverflowing.html and http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=7568.

I have adapted the words of the final verse to lament a changing world and hope for the future of our children.

In German ‘der fluss der will fließen’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The river is flowing, flowing and growing,

The river is flowing, back to the sea.

Mother Earth carry me, your child I will always be,

Mother Earth carry me, back to the sea.

 

The moon she is waiting, waxing and waning,

The moon she is waiting, for us to be free.

Sister Moon watch over me, your child I will always be,

Sister Moon watch over me, until we are free!

 

The sun he is shining, brightly he’s shining,

The sun he is shining, lighting our way.

Father Sun shine over me, your child I will always be,

Father Sun shine over me, until we can see!

 

The earth she is changing, her waters are rising,

The earth she is changing, her waters are tears.

Mother Earth, carry me, your child I will always be,

Mother Earth carry me, down through the years.


 

 

 

The shepherd and his dog O

 

 


This song can be found in Singing Together, BBC Broadcasts to Schools, Spring Term, 1959. It has a traditional Welsh tune 'Twll Bach y Clo' and the words are by Barbara Kluge.

Find out more about this song at: http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/902.html .   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There once was a shepherd who lived on his own,

Away on the hills in a hut built of stone.

He guarded his sheep, and they kept to the trail,

So the shepherd whistled gaily and the dog wagged his tail.

 

In spring-time he watched how the lambs in their play

All kicked up their hooves then darted away.

The dog fetched them back if they strayed to the dale,

So the shepherd whistled gaily and the dog wagged his tail.

 

In winter he sheltered away from the cold

With his dog by the fire, while the flock in the fold

Lay safe from the blustering, buffeting gale,

So the shepherd whistled gaily while the dog wagged his tail.


 

 

The shiny little house O

 

 


A poem by Nancy M Hayes. One set firmly in the past!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


I wish, how I wish, that I had a little house,

With a mat for the cat and a holey for the mouse,

And a clock going "tock" in the corner of the room,

And a kettle, and a cupboard, and a big birch broom.

 

To school in the morning the children off would run,

And I'd give them a kiss and a penny and a bun,

But directly they had gone from this little house of mine,

I'd clap my hands and snatch a cloth and shine, shine, shine.

 

I'd shine all the knives, all the windows and the floors,

All the grates, all the plates, all the handles on the doors,

Every fork, every spoon, every lid and every tin,

Till everything was shining like a new bright pin.

 

At night by the fire, when the children were in bed,

I'd sit and I'd knit, with a cap upon my head,

And the kettles, and the saucepans,

They would shine, shine, shine,

In this teeny little, cozy little house of mine.

 

 


 

 

The Skye boat song 🔊

 

 


A school days favourite.

This song has a traditional Scottish melody with lyrics added later by Sir Harold Boulton. This is a shorter version more suited to younger children. It is often used as a lullaby.

The longer version recounts the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie who was considered by his followers to be the rightful heir to the British throne. After an unsuccessful uprising he made his escape, with the help of Flora McDonald, in a small boat disguised as her maid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Chorus:

Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing;

"Onward" the sailors cry.

Carry the lad that’s born to be king

Over the sea to Skye.

 

Loud the winds howl, loud the waves roar,

Thunderclouds rend the air;

Baffled, our foes stand on the shore,

Follow they will not dare.

 

Though the waves leap, soft shall ye sleep,

Ocean's a royal bed.

Rocked in the deep, Flora will keep,

Watch by your weary head.


 

 

The Spider and the Fly  🔊

 

 


A poem by Mary Howitt published in 1828. This shorter version comes from ‘The Oxford nursery song book’ published by OUP in 1933. You can find the full much lengthier version at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spider_and_the_Fly_(poem) .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“Will you walk into my parlour?” said the Spider to the Fly,

'Tis the prettiest little parlour you ever did espy;

The way into my parlour it is up a winding stair,

And I have many curious things to show when we’re there.”

 

“Oh no, no,” said the little Fly, “to ask me is in vain,

For who goes up your winding stair will not come down again.”


 

 

The spinning song O

 

This can be heard in the Dutch, German (Spinn, spinn, meine liebe Tochter) and Scandinavian tradition with many variations. Most of the chorus’s translate as: ‘But I can't keep spinning My finger is hurting! It's sore, it's sore! I'll spin no more.’

But I have always been familiar with the chorus below.

 

Have a go at making up new rhyming verses. The verses below are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


“Spin, spin my dear daughter,

And I’ll buy you some shoes.”

“Oh, thank you dear mother,

Ones with buckles will do.

 

Chorus

I’ll spin and I’ll spin till my fingers are sore,

I’ll spin till I can’t spin any more!”

 

“Spin, spin my dear daughter,

And I’ll buy you a dress.”

“Oh, thank you dear mother,

One with pockets is best.

Chorus

 

“Spin, spin my dear daughter,

And I’ll buy you a hat.”

“Oh, thank you dear mother,

One with ribbons that flap.

Chorus

 

“Spin, spin my dear daughter,

And I’ll buy you some gloves.”

“Oh, thank you dear mother,

And a white turtle dove.

Chorus

 

“Spin, spin my dear daughter,

And I’ll buy you some socks.”

“Oh, thank you dear mother,

Ones with colourful spots.

Chorus

 

 


 

 

The squirrel O

 

 


This delightful American song was adapted for a British audience by BBC TV Time and Tune series ‘The world of animals’ Summer 1979. I have added the traditional last verse back again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Squirrel, he's a funny little thing,

Carries a bushy tail;

Steals away the farmer's corn,

And he hides it on the rail,

And he hides it on the rail.

 

Partridge she's a pretty little thing,

Carries a speckled breast;

Partridge steals the farmer's corn,

And she takes it to her nest,

And she takes it to her nest.

 

Badger he's a smart and wise old thing,

He travels after dark;

Isn’t afraid of any old thing

'Til he hears that old dog bark,

'Til he hears that old dog bark.

 

Raccoon's tail is ringed all around,

Possum's tail is bare,

Rabbit ain't got no tail at all,

Just a little wee bunch of hair,

Just a little wee bunch of hair.


 

 

 

The tailor and the mouse O

 

This may well be familiar to some as ‘Uncle Feedle’ from Bagpuss which was adapted by Sandra Kerr from this traditional source. The version below is adapted from Cecil Sharp and Baring Gould's English Folk Songs for Schools; it has a kinder ending!

Another verse from the wonderful Alan Mill’s 1956 Folk songs for young folk ‘Animals’ album goes: The mouse ran here the mouse ran there… Until he tripped and fell downstairs…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


There was a tailor had a mouse,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle,

They lived together in one house,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle.

Chorus

Hi-diddle-um-come, tarum tantum,

Through the town of Ramsey,

Hi-diddle-um-come over the lea,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle.

 

The tailor thought the mouse was ill,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle,

Because he took an awful chill,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle.

 

The tailor thought his mouse would die,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle,

He baked him in an apple pie,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle.

 

The pie was cut, the mouse ran out,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle,

The tailor chased him all about,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle.

 

The tailor gave him catnip tea,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle,

Until a healthy mouse was he,

Hi-diddle-um-come feedle.


 

The Tottenham toad O

 

 

 


This nonsense game collected by Cecil Sharp has a cheerful steady beat and would work well when accompanied by percussion instruments.

It also lends itself to moving about the room in different ways; running up the road, skipping…, jumping… - ask children for suggestions!

 

 

The Tottenham toad came trotting up the road

With his feet all swimming in the sea.

Pretty little squirrel with your tail in curl,

They’ve all got a wife but me.


 

 

The  wee falorie man 🔊

 

 


A folk song from Ireland.

What is a ‘falorie man’? Some say it is an interesting and unique sort of fellow; find out more at mudcat where you will find all sorts of theories some crazier than others. Other words: ‘bap’ is a small loaf of bread and ‘clipe’ a large hank of meat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



I am the wee falorie man,

A rattlin' rovin' Irishman,

I can do all that ever you can,

For I am the wee falorie man.

 

I have a sister Mary Ann,

She washes her face in the frying pan,

And out she goes to hunt for a man,

I have a sister Mary Ann.

 

I am a good old working man,

Each day I carry a wee tin can,

A large penny bap and a clipe of ham,

I am a good old working man.


 

 

The whale, the whale 🔊

 

 


From S. Baring-Gould’s  "A Book of Nursery Songs and Rhymes" published in 1895. He collected it from a Devonshire nurse, at that time a woman in domestic service who looked after the children, see: https://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=69535

I have very slightly tweaked the words to work with the tune. Music by Dany Rosevear.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The whale, the whale, and now must we sing,

The ocean's pride and the fishes' king,

He is a vast and mighty thing,

Sailing along in the deep blue sea.

 

Down to the bottom, sometimes he goes,

Then up to the surface again for blows,

And when he’s done then off goes he,

Sailing along in the deep blue sea.

 

In Northern climes, where it’s very cold,

This fish is found, as I've been told,

And there will sport in his mighty glee,

Sailing along in the deep blue sea.

 

'Tis a dangerous thing to be catching the whale,

He'll toss o'er the boat with a flick of his tail,

And when he's done so, off goes he,

Sailing along in the deep blue sea.


 

 

 

The winds they did blow / The squirrel 🔊

 

 


This traditional rhyme has been adapted and set to ‘a familiar tune’ by George Linley from ‘50 Nursery songs and rhymes’ published 1864.

Music arranged by Dany Rosevear. I have a feeling I sang it to a different tune in my early days of teaching but cannot recall it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The winds they did blow,

The leaves they did wag,

Along came a beggar boy,

And put me in his bag.

 

He took me up to London town,

A lady did me buy,

She put me in a silver cage,

And hung me up on high;

 

With apples by the blazing fire,

And nuts for to crack,

Besides a little feather bed,

To rest my little back.

 


 

 

The worm song O

 

Sometimes called ‘The hermaphrodite song’ as worms are hermaphroditic like slugs - but it still takes two to tango!

 

I first came across this song in ‘Sing a Merry Song’ by William Clauson and Basil Swift published in 1962. In 1975 it was published in ‘Sing’ by the Australian Broadcasting Commission - I picked up a copy recently in a charity shop in England!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


The earth it was damp with the dew of the dawn,

And sweet scented air spread over the lawn,

A handsome young worm popped out from the ground,

Looking up from his hole, he gazed all around.

 

Just then as he stared at the sun in the sky,

Another little worm popped up quite nearby,

Said the first with a squiggle, “You’re a trim little worm,

Why not wriggle out here and we'll go for a squirm?”

 

“If you'd only agree to a brief rendezvous,

I would love to surrender my heart just for you,

I would build you a home and I'd treat you with care,

And happy we'd be as the birds in the air!”

 

Then the trim little worm gave a shake of its head,

As it sadly replied, “I would love to be wed,

But I fear we can't marry, though I know you'd be true,

For you see Mr. Worm, I'm the other end of you!”

 

Return to the ‘Singing games for children’ home page