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Origins: On his way back home again he met a hawk

GUEST,John Hawke 26 Feb 14 - 08:32 AM
Jim Dixon 26 Feb 14 - 04:21 PM
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Subject: Origins: On his way back home again he met a hawk
From: GUEST,John Hawke
Date: 26 Feb 14 - 08:32 AM

My father, and most of his generation in our family, used to quote a ditty which went:-
'And on his way back home again, he met a blooming hawk, who pluck-ed all his feather out, and said, "Now, you blighter, walk"'.

The expletives in the version known by the family were more extreme than those used above!

I am certain I have heard another verse at some time, but cannot remember it. Has anyone any idea where the lines come from? Is it from "There was a little sparrow", and if so what is the origin of that? Is any other information available on the lines?

The words have obviously stuck in our family because of our surname!


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Subject: RE: Origins: On his way back home again he met a hawk
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 26 Feb 14 - 04:21 PM

Here are some versions I picked up at various places on the internet. I never found more than 4 lines. None of the sources looked very old or authoritative.

There was once a little sparrow from the sunny land of Spain,
And when the autumn months returned, he flew back again
And on the way across the sea, he met a blooming hawk.
He pulled out all its feathers and said, "Now, you blighter, walk!"

- - -
An additional verse to "A Cuckoo Comes in April":

...and on his homeward journey, he met a flamin' hawk,
Who stripped him of his feathers and said, "Now, you blighter, walk!"

- - -
There was a little sparrow who flew to sunny Spain.
He didn't like the weather so he flew back home again.
On his way he met a great big hawk
Who pulled out all his feathers and said, "Now you'll have to walk."

- - -
[This version was posted right here at Mudcat in 1999:]

There was a little sparrow, flew all the way from Spain.
He landed in Karachi and started home again.
When halfway on his journey, he met a big black hawk
Who plucked out all his feathers and said, "Walk, you blighter, walk."

- - -
[The most interesting, and oldest version I found was this, from Woodworkers, Painters & Buildingworkers Journal, 1934, page 63:]

A Budding Poet

A teacher in a very poor London district wrote a verse on the blackboard and asked his boys to write a verse to follow it. The teacher's verse was:

There was a little swallow who in winter flew to Spain,
But with returning summer's warmth, flew quickly back again.

All the children failed in their attempt, with the exception of one young hopeful, who wrote:

On the journey back again he met a bloomin' 'awk,
Who pulled out all his feathers and said, "Now, you blighter, walk!"

- - -
[I found a similar story in The Manitoba Co-operator, Vol. 5, 1947, page 14, where the punch line is:]

An' on 'is 'omeward journey, 'e meets a ruddy 'awk,
'Oo pinches orf 'is fevvers, s'ying: "Nah, you blighter, walk!"


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