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The Wood Pigeon


Source: Welsh Folk-lore

The thrice repeated notes of five sounds, with an abrupt note at the end,
of which the cooing of the wood pigeon consists, have been construed into
words, and these words differ in different places, according to the state
of the country, and the prevailing sentiments of the people. Of course,
the language of the wood pigeon is always the language of the people
amongst whom he lives. He always speaks Welsh in Wales, and English in
England, but in these days this bird is so far Anglicised that it blurts
out English all along the borders of Wales.

In the cold spring days, when food is scarce and the wood pigeon cold, it
forms good resolutions, and says:--

Yn yr haf
Ty a wnaf;

In the summer
I'll make a house;
I will.

However, when the summer has come with flower, and warmth, the wood
pigeon ridicules its former resolution and changes its song, for in June
it forgets January, and now it asks:--

Yn yr ha'
Ty pwy wna'?

In the summer
Who'll make a house?

For then a house is quite unnecessary, and the trouble to erect one
great. The above ditty was told me by the Rev. John Williams, Rector of
Newtown, a native of Flintshire.

In the English counties bordering upon Wales, such as Herefordshire, the
wood pigeon encouraged Welshmen to drive off Englishmen's cattle to their
homes, by saying:--

Take two cows, Taffy,
Take two cows, Taffy,
Take two.

and ever since those days the same song is used; but another version

Take two cows Davy,
Take two cows Davy,

The late Rev. R. Williams, Rector of Llanfyllin, supplied me with the
above, and he stated that he obtained it from Herefordshire.

In the uplands of Denbighshire the poor wood pigeon has a hard time of it
in the winter, and, to make provision for the cold winter days, he, when
he sees the farmer sowing spring seeds, says:--

Dyn du, dyn da,
Hau pys, hau ffa,
Hau ffacbys i ni

which rendered into English is:--

Black man, good man,
Sow peas, sow beans,
Sow vetches for us
To eat.

Mr. Hugh Jones, Pentre Llyn Cymmer, a farmer in Llanfihangel Glyn Myfyr,
a descendant of the bard Robert Davies, Nantglyn, supplied me with the
preceding ditty.

Next: The Magpie Teaching A Wood Pigeon How To Make A Nest

Previous: The Wren

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