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Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....

GUEST,Rose 10 Nov 15 - 08:05 PM
GUEST,# 10 Nov 15 - 08:27 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 10 Nov 15 - 08:56 PM
GUEST,Arkie 10 Nov 15 - 11:53 PM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 15 - 12:08 AM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 15 - 12:28 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Nov 15 - 12:34 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Nov 15 - 12:39 AM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 15 - 12:40 AM
MGM·Lion 11 Nov 15 - 01:32 AM
Joe Offer 11 Nov 15 - 02:26 AM
Anglo 12 Nov 15 - 12:05 AM
Anglo 12 Nov 15 - 12:37 AM
Steve Gardham 12 Nov 15 - 08:12 AM
Brian Peters 12 Nov 15 - 08:34 AM
Anglo 12 Nov 15 - 03:49 PM
GUEST 12 Nov 15 - 05:47 PM
GUEST,Barb Childers 22 Sep 16 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Linda 29 Dec 16 - 02:36 PM
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Subject: Origins: There Was A Pig That Went Out To Dig....
From: GUEST,Rose
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 08:05 PM

Hello

I am very interested in finding out the origins/background info for the song.....there was a Pig That Went Out To Dig. Or it goes by the title of There Was A Pig That Went Out To Dig On Christmas Day In The morning or it goes by Christmas Day in the morning. Help with origins, recordings, lyrics and more would be great. Thank you.

I am also searching for more English & Welsh & Appalachian obscure Christmas Songs for family audience/children.
Thanks again!!


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: GUEST,#
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 08:27 PM

Here's a start.

http://www.joe-offer.com/folkinfo/songs/771.html


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 08:56 PM


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: GUEST,Arkie
Date: 10 Nov 15 - 11:53 PM

I thought there was a previous thread on this song but did not find it. I first heard the song on one of the Christmas Revels recordings and have since heard other versions including Jean Ritchie and Boogertown Gap. The Revels recordings are a great source of songs for the Christmas season for all ages and there are now Revels concerts in several cities and some are producing their own recordings. Emusic.com lists the song on five different recordings.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 12:08 AM

Yeah, I thought there was more on this song, but this is the only post I found:

Thread #36864   Message #512384
Posted By: John P
22-Jul-01 - 01:36 PM
Thread Name: Songs about crops
Subject: Lyr Add: CHRISIMAS DAY

There's a song called "Chrisimas Day" (yes, that's how it's spelled) about animals performing rural agrarian tasks. It's not really a Christmas song at all, but the chorus says "Chrisimas day, Chrisimas day in the morning" so we put it on our Christmas album anyway.

Chrisimas Day

There was a pig went out to dig
Chrisimas day, Chrisimas day
There was a pig went out to dig
On Chrisimas day in the morning.

There was a cow went out to plow…

There was a sparrow went out to harrow…

There was a drake went out to rake…

There was a crow went out to sow…

There was a sheep went out to reap . . .


John Peekstok



Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

There Was a Pig Went Out to Dig

DESCRIPTION: "There was a pig went out to dig, Chris-e-mas day, Chris-e-mas day, There was a pig went out to dig, On Chris-e-mas day in the morning." Similarly, "There was a sparrow went out to harrow," "There was a cow went out to plow," etc.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1893 (Broadwood/Maitland)
KEYWORDS: animal work Christmas nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North)) US(Ap)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Broadwood/Maitland, p. 28, "There Was a Pig Went Out to Dig" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-Southern, p. 28, "There Was A Pig Went Out to Dig" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #1369
File: RitS028

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: ADD: There Was a Pig Went Out to Dig....
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 12:28 AM

This is the version we included in the Ballads and Old Songs chapter of the Rise Again Songbook. I found the song in a Revels songbook and in Jean Ritchie's Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians.

There Was A Pig Went Out To Dig

There was a pig went out to dig
Chrisimas Day, Chrisimas Day
There was a pig went out to dig
On Chrisimas Day in the morning
(up) Am - - - / Am E Am E / 1st / Am E Am -

There was a cow went out to plough...
There was a sparrow went out to harrow...
There was drake went out to rake...
There was a crow went out to sow...
There was a sheep went out to reap...
There was a minnow went out to winnow…

trad. (English)

In Revels SB & Jean Ritchie FS of the So. Appalachs. On Revels Child's Xmas Revels, Jean Ritchie Carols for All Seasons, Sharon Lois & Bram Fam Xmas. Choral arr by Percy Grainger.

Here's a Revels recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3YJJbXSpZc

And Jean Ritchie: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-Wz4uXLHvY

And Percy Grainger's arrangement, by the Ambrosian Singers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ehqkf8CbN6Q


The version used in Rise Again is an exact transcription of the lyrics from English County Songs (page 28), Lucy E. Broadwood and J. R. Maitland. Broadwood/Maitland got the words and tune from Miss M.H. Mason's Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs.
Notes from Broadwood/Maitland: "There are no words, properly speaking, after the first verse; but rhymes are invented according to the pleasure of the singer."

Don't know if this link will work for everyone:
https://play.google.com/books/reader?printsec=frontcover&output=reader&id=x_c4AQAAIAAJ&pg=GBS.PA28


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 12:34 AM

Are You Sitting Comfortably? Then I'll Begin...

This was one of the songs regularly starting off Listen With Mother, an afternoon programme broadcast daily, early afternoon, on The BBC Home Service, predecessor of Radio 4, 1950-84 (see Wikipedia). It was obviously aimed at v young children who would do as the title enjoined; but was very popular also played in my N London school's prefects' room among any of us who had a 'free study' period at that time; which was how I learned this rhyme, which was not, for some reason, one of the very familiar ones from my own early childhood.

As you will have gathered, the programme always began as I began this post

The Opies' Oxford & Penguin Book Of Nursery Rhymes will have more info.



≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 12:39 AM

Note BTW, in interests of accuracy, that the word 'that', included in thread title, is 'understood', & does not in fact feature in the first line of each stanza. It would wreck the cadence. In the interest of which, note also the extra syllable included in the adverbial phrase of time which constitutes the burden -- "Chris-i-mas Day".


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 12:40 AM

Hmmm. I didn't have any luck with the Opies. It almost seems to me there might be a game connected to this song. Any chance of that, Michael?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 01:32 AM

I honestly don't know, Joe. As I said, this particular rhyme didn't form part of my own childhood.

No: checking back, I find this rhyme doesn't seem to appear in the Opies' work: either the two Nursery-Rhyme books, nor in 'Lore & Language Of Schoolchildren' nor 'Children's Games In Street And Playground'. How amazing. Can't really check with them: tho I knew the Opies -- interviwed them for Folk Review and remained on dropping-in-if-passing and Xmas-card terms for many years, he is now dead and she is 92 and I am no longer really in touch. But, I repeat, I am astounded the rhyme ain't there in any of their works, as I had assumed it must be. Teach me always to be a bit more properly scholarly & check before posting!

Still, its absence from "Children's Games" would appear to indicate, Joe, that the answer to your question as to its being a game-rhyme is most probably that it wasn't.

≈M≈


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Joe Offer
Date: 11 Nov 15 - 02:26 AM

I identify this song mostly with Jean Ritchie, and with the Revels shows. I get the feeling that it's not widely known, that it owes its life to Jean and the Revels. Not bad supporters to have.
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Anglo
Date: 12 Nov 15 - 12:05 AM

I've always thought of it as Appalachian, and was surprised that it was featured on British radio.

I just did a bit of checking and it is in the Jean Ritchie songbook (Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians as sung by...), though not from her family tradition. She heard it sung at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown NC, and says it is in 'Songs Of All Time', a little book of folksongs from all over published by the Cooperative Recreation Services of Delaware OH.

It's not in my copy, however, which is a 2nd edition from 1957. (First edition was 1946.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Anglo
Date: 12 Nov 15 - 12:37 AM

Well, I should have read the thread more carefully. It is indeed in Broadwood/Fuller Maitland of 1893, as per the Ballad Index reference above.

But Lucy B took it from Marianne Mason's book of Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs (1878).

Ms Mason's note says: The tune is sung in Lancashire. There are no words, properly speaking, beyond the first verse, but rhymes are invented according to the pleasure of the singer. The melody is that of an old Christmas Carol, "There were three ships came sailing by".

Despite its absence from my copy of 'Songs of All Time', this book does cite Broadwood/Fuller Maitland as a source, so that must be a link to Jean Ritchie, either from a different edition or from one of the other songbooks in the series. (I'm sure I have seen the song in one of these, but can't find it at the moment - I'm afraid my library is a bit of a mess).


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 12 Nov 15 - 08:12 AM

And there you have it ably summarised in Anglo's post. It is obviously just a bit of nonsense based on the old carol. Pretty much in the tradition of 'Jingle Bells, Batman smells', 'We three Beatles', 'Good King Wenseless last fell out', etc.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Brian Peters
Date: 12 Nov 15 - 08:34 AM

I remember it from BBC radio too - stentorian voice with a rather clunky piano accompaniment.

There are only seven hits in Roud (one of which is a different song), and it looks like Mason is the source for both Broadwood / Maitland and Ritchie, i.e. the sole example of the song in tradition. Maybe a one-off parody as SG suggests - but though the tune is related to that of 'I Saw Three Ships', there are several differences, not least the recasting in the minor.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: Anglo
Date: 12 Nov 15 - 03:49 PM

Since I did just locate the "other" book, I'll post again. The song is in a small book, 'Come Let Us Sing', published 1974 by the Berea College Christmas School. The attribution is indeed to the first edition of 'Songs of All Time' so my guess there was correct. I certainly echo Brian in that all the examples of this song seem to derive from the Mason book.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 15 - 05:47 PM

My old band recorded this song twenty-some years ago. If anyone is interested, it can he heard here.

John


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: GUEST,Barb Childers
Date: 22 Sep 16 - 01:32 PM

No one has mentioned the charming children's book about this tune, so I will! On Christmas Day in the Morning: A Traditional Carol. John Langstaff (who included the song in his Christmas Revels) wrote the forward to the book which includes some history, and Melissa Sweet was the illustrator credited with authorship for this 1999 publication. My husband and I have used "There Was a Pig Went Out to Dig" for years in our holiday programs as a fun example of how animals were celebrated in more agrarian societies. Good for increasing vocabulary because the song as written here mentions a lot of farming terms unfamiliar to those living in an urban setting. The verses have a nice rhyming pattern that leads children and adults in a guessing game about the outcome: pig-dig, cow-plow, crow-sow, minnow-winnow, etc. Audiences may join in with appropriate animal noises. So much to love about this rollicking participatory tune! Here is a link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Day-Morning-Traditional-Carol/dp/0763610550 but seek it in public library collections, too.


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Subject: RE: Origins: There Was a Pig That Went out to Dig....
From: GUEST,Linda
Date: 29 Dec 16 - 02:36 PM

This song is one of a bunch handed down in my family (Elwell, my mother's side), who came to New England from Dorset in the late 1600's. Minor key, not I Saw Three Ships, but otherwise our tradition agrees to Ms Mason's statement referenced above.


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