The Wood Pigeon

: 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
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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.