The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #16362   Message #289538
Posted By: Joe Offer
01-Sep-00 - 05:42 PM
Thread Name: Twelve Days of Christmas-for teaching catechism?
Subject: RE: Twelve Days of Christmas
Transferred from another thread.
-Joe Offer-
Joe Offer
Date: 21-Dec-99 - 06:34 PM

I'm frustrated.
I've been trying to research "12 Days of Christmas," and I'm not finding much information that sounds authoritative. I found a nice little story in a book by Alan Lomax, but that's all I ever find in Lomax - nice little stories and very few facts. I'm looking for books that have good scholarship and solid information about the stories behind the folk songs we love. What can you recommend?
-Joe Offer-

Date: 22-Dec-99 - 05:10 PM


As it is a Christian Song based on the catechism, check out the Christian Sights - I have seen it this year on a Holiday based sight.


Date: 29-Aug-00 - 12:15 AM

Well, I pulled out "Oxford Book of Carols" and didn't even find 12 Days of Christmas, but there's a version in Ruth Crawford Seeger's "American Folk Songs for Christmas" and the notes refer you to "Folksongs of Florida" by Alton C. Morris, Univ. of Florida Press, p.416; Archive of American Folk Song, Folklore Section, Library of Congress 989 A1; and game directions from "Folk Songs of Old New England" Eloise H. Linscott, copyright 1939, Macmillan, p.52

The song has a section explaining that 12 days of Christmas was used as a "forfeit" song, where each person has to sing it alone correctly or pay a forfeit.

Does that help at all?


Date: 29-Aug-00 - 05:51 PM

I started a new thread not knowing this one existed; how do I kill the one I started?

Back to the 12 days of Christmas: have you looked at the notes in the Oxford book of carols? I can't recall off the top of my head exactly what is said, but for most of the carols in the book, the notes take up nearly as much room as the words and music, so I imagine they will have something to say about it.



Date: 30-Aug-00 - 12:07 PM

The thread is immortal and now so are you. Welcome! The best version of the Twelve days Of Christmas I ever saw was in Playboy back in the 70s. it starts with the usual and ends up with a lawsuit. My favorite line "The lords are leaping all over those slutty milk maids while the cows are shitting all over my carpets!" Anybody have a copy of it? Sorry for the wander.


Date: 30-Aug-00 - 05:51 PM

Shop: GOLDEN RING , NEIGHBORS , O Death , Turtle Dove

I got this one. Don't know the source. LANGUAGE WARNING - not for delicate ears (or eyes or whatever).

The TRUE Story of the 12 days of Christmas

December 25, 1972

My Dearest Darling John: Who ever in the whole wide world would dream of getting a real partridge perched beautifully in a lovely pear tree for Christmas? How can I ever express my pleasure? Thank you a hundred times for thinking of me this way.

My Love Always, Agnes


December 26, 1972

Dearest John: Today the postman brought your very sweet gift. Just imagine: two turtle doves. I'm just delighted at your very thoughtful gift. They are just adorable.

All My Love, Agnes


December 27, 1972

Dear John: Oh! Aren't you the extravagant one! Now I must protest. I don't deserve such generosity. Three French hens! They are just darling, but I must insist, you've been too kind.

All my love, Agnes


December 28, 1972

Dear John: Today the postman delivered four calling birds. Now really, they are beautiful, but don't you think enough is enough? You are being too romantic.

Affectionately, Agnes


December 29, 1972

Dearest John: What a surprise!!! Today the postman delivered five golden rings - one for every finger! You're just impossible, but I love it. Frankly, all those birds squawking were beginning to get on my nerves.

All my love, Agnes


December 30, 1972

Dear John: When I opened the door today there were actually six geese laying on my front steps. So you're back to the birds again, huh? These geese are huge. Where will I ever keep them? The neighbors are complaining and I can't sleep through the racket. Please stop.

Cordially, Agnes


December 31, 1972

John: What's with you and these freaking birds? Seven swimming swans? What kind of damn joke is this? There's bird poop all over the house and the noise never stops. I can't sleep at night and I'm a nervous wreck. It's not funny. Stop with the friggin birds.

Sincerely, Agnes


January 1, 1973

OK Buster: I think I prefer the birds. What the hell am I going to do with 8 milking maids? It's not enough with all those birds and 8 friggin milking maids, but they had to bring their damn cows. There is manure all over the lawn and I can't move in my own house. Just lay off me smartass.



January 2, 1973

Hey Shithead: What are you, some kind of sadist? Now there's nine pipers playing. And Christ do they play. They haven't stopped chasing those maids since they got here yesterday morning. The cows are getting upset and they're stepping all over those screeching birds. What the hell am I supposed to do? The neighbors have started a petition to evict me.

You'll get yours. Agnes


January 3, 1973

You rotten prick: Now I've got 10 ladies dancing in my living room. I don't know why I call those sluts ladies. They've been balling those pipers all night long. Now the cows can't sleep and they've all got diarrhea. My living room is a river of shit. The Commissioner if Buildings has subpeonaed me to give cause why the building shouldn't be condemned. I'm calling the police on you!



January 4, 1973

Listen Fuckhead: What is wrong with you??? ELEVEN lords? They're leaping all over the milking maids and the slut ladies. Some of those broads will never walk again. Those pipers ran through the maids and have been committing sodomy with the cows. All twenty-three of the birds are dead. They've been trampled and/or squashed to death in the orgy. They smell of decaying poulty hangs in the air and all my furniture is covered in feathers. I hope you're satisfied you rotten vicious swine.

Your sworn enemy, Agnes


January 5, 1973

This is to acknowledge your latest gift of twelve fiddlers fiddling which you have seen fit to inflict on our client Miss Agnes McHolstein. The destruction, of course, was total. All correspondence should come to our attention. If you should attempt to reach Miss McHolstein at Happy Dale Sanitarium, the attendants have been instructed to shoot you on sight. With this letter please find attached a warrant for your arrest.

Law Offices of Badger, Bender, & Chole