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Sing Me a Song

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Animal Songs

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Animal Fair This is a traditional American song that was sung by sailors more than 100 years ago.

I went to the animal fair, The birds and the beasts were there, The great baboon, by the light of the moon, Was combing his auburn hair. The monkey fell out of his bunk*, And slid down the elephant’s trunk. The elephant sneezed and fell on his knees And what became of the monkey monkey monkey monk‌

* bunk (n.): a type of bed.

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The Rooster Here’s an old Irish folk song about a rooster (you could also call it a cockrel or a cock). We had some chickens, no eggs would they lay* We had some chickens, no eggs would they lay My wife said, “Honey, this sure ain’t funny We’re losing money, no eggs will they lay.” One day a rooster came into our yard And caught them chickens right off their guard They’re laying eggs now like they never used to Ever since that rooster came into our yard. We had some milk cows, no milk would they give We had some milk cows, no milk would they give My wife said, “Honey, this sure ain’t funny We’re losing money, no milk will they give.” One day a rooster came into our yard And caught them milk cows right off their guard They’re giving yoghurt like they never used to Ever since that rooster came into our yard. We had some elephants, no tusks would they grow We had some elephants, no tusks would they grow My wife said, “Honey, this sure ain’t funny We’re losing money, no tusks will they grow.” One day a rooster came into our yard And caught those elephants right off their guard They’re laying eggs now of solid ivory Ever since that rooster came into our yard. * lay an egg (vb.): to produce an egg.

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The Fox This well-known song about a fox’s adventures began as a poem, written in the 15th century. You can try reading the poem in Old English in the British Museum in London.

The fox went out one chilly* night, He prayed to the Moon to give him light, For he’d many a mile to go that night Before he reached the town-o, town-o, town-o. He’d many a mile to go that night Before he reached the town-o. He ran till he came to a great big pen Where the ducks and the geese were kept therein. “A couple of you will grease my chin Before I leave this town-o, town-o, town-o. A couple of you will grease my chin Before I leave this town-o.” He grabbed the grey goose by the neck, Threw a duck across his back; He didn’t mind their quack, quack, quack, Or their legs all a-dangling down-o, down-o, down-o. He didn’t mind their quack, quack, quack, Or their legs all a-dangling down-o.

* chilly (adj.): very cold, or quite cold, depending on how uncomfortable you are.

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The Hippopotamus Song (Mud, Glorious Mud) This song was written by two British comedians, Flanders and Swann, who met at school in London in the 1930s and wrote more than one hundred funny songs together. A bold hippopotamus was standing one day On the banks of the cool Shalimar. He gazed at the bottom as he peacefully lay By the light of the evening star. Away on the hilltop sat combing her hair His fair hippopotami maid. The hippopotamus was no ignoramus And sang her this sweet serenade‌ Mud*, mud, glorious mud Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. So follow me follow, down to the hollow And there let me wallow in glorious mud. The fair hippopotama he aimed to entice From her seat on that hilltop above. As she hadn’t got a ma to give her advice Came tiptoeing down to her love. Like thunder the forest re-echoed the sound Of the song that they sang when they met. His inamorata adjusted her garter** And lifted her voice in duet. * mud (n.): earth mixed with water. ** garter (n.): a band made of elastic and sometimes lace used to keep ladies’ stockings in place.

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Mud, mud, glorious mud Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. So follow me follow, down to the hollow And there let us wallow in glorious mud. Now more hippopotami began to convene On the banks of that river so wide. I wonder now what am I to say of the scene That ensued by the Shalimar side. They dived all at once with an ear-splitting splosh Then rose to the surface again. A regular army of hippopotami All singing this haunting refrain‌ Mud, mud, glorious mud Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood. So follow me follow, down to the hollow And there let me wallow in glorious mud.

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Sing a Song of Sixpence This children’s rhyme was first published in the 18th century and was mentioned in William Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night. The pie was a joke using the name of the Poet Laureate* Henry James Pye (which is pronounced in the same way as “pie”). There also was a famous feast for the wedding of Henry IV of France where birds flew out of the guests’ napkins* when they sat down to eat. Sing a Song of Sixpence, A pocket full of Rye, Four and twenty blackbirds, Baked in a pie. Four and twenty blackbirds, Baked in a pie. When the pie was opened, The birds began to sing; Wasn’t that a dainty dish To set before the king? The king was in his counting house, Counting out his money; The queen was in the parlour, Eating bread and honey. The maid was in the garden, Hanging out the clothes, When down came a blackbird And pecked off her nose.

* Poet Laureate (n.): the person chosen to write poems for the king or queen. ** napkins (n. pl. napkin): a piece of cloth you use to clean your mouth and fingers when you are eating.

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Sing me a Song. Edelvives