Hunting the Wren

It was believed that the wren's song betrayed St. Stephen, hiding from pursuit, to martyrdom. Thus on St. Stephen's Day, December 26, a wren was traditionally killed, and a group of boys would carry it in procession from house to house. Hunting the Wren is our reworking of the wrenning song found in many parts of Britain (and in America, where it survives as Billy Barlow).

"What'll we do?" says Risky Rob,
"What'll we do?" says Robin to Bob
"What'll we do?" says Jack-all-alone,
"What'll we do?" says everyone.

"We'll hunt the wren."

"How'll we shoot her?"

"Sticks and stones,"
"Bows and arrows,"
"Big guns and cannons,"
"That's how we'll do it," says everyone.

"How'll we carry her?"

"Four strong men's shoulders,"
"Horse and wagon,"
"A big eighteen-wheeler,"
"That's how we'll do it," says everyone.

"How'll we cook her?"

"Pots and pans,"
"Bloody great cauldrons,"
"A microwave oven,"
"That's how we'll do it," says everyone.

"How'll we carve her?"

"Knives and forks,"
"Hatchets and cleavers,"
"Gas-driven chainsaws,"
"That's how we'll do it," says everyone.

"Who'll come to dinner?"

"The King and the Queen,"
"The House and the Senate,"
"All of New England,"
"Invite the whole world," says everyone.

"Eyes to the blind," says Risky Rob,
"Legs to the lame" says Robin to Bob
"Ribs to the poor" says Jack-all-alone,
"Bones to the dogs" says everyone.

© Golden Hind Music