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Saturday, October 1, 2011

Number 274: Author unknown "Who Killed Cock Robin?"

Who Killed Cock Robin?

Who killed Cock Robin?
I, said the Sparrow,
With my bow and arrow,
I killed Cock Robin.

Who saw him die?
I, said the Fly,
With my little eye,
I saw him die.

Who caught his blood?
I, said the Fish,
With my little dish,
I caught his blood.

Who'll make the shroud?
I, said the Beetle,
With my thread and needle,
I'll make the shroud.

Who'll dig his grave?
I, said the Owl,
With my pick and shovel,
I'll dig his grave.

Who'll be the parson?
I, said the Rook,
With my little book,
I'll be the parson.

Who'll be the clerk?
I, said the Lark,
If it's not in the dark,
I'll be the clerk.

Who'll carry the link?
I, said the Linnet,
I'll fetch it in a minute,
I'll carry the link.

Who'll be chief mourner?
I, said the Dove,
I mourn for my love,
I'll be chief mourner.

Who'll carry the coffin?
I, said the Kite,
If it's not through the night,
I'll carry the coffin.

Who'll bear the pall?
We, said the Wren,
Both the cock and the hen,
We'll bear the pall.

Who'll sing a psalm?
I, said the Thrush,
As she sat on a bush,
I'll sing a psalm.

Who'll toll the bell?
I said the Bull,
Because I can pull,
I'll toll the bell.

All the birds of the air
Fell a-sighing and a-sobbing
When they heard the bell toll
For poor Cock Robin.

-- Author unknown

Hap Notes: While this famous set of nursery rhyme verses was first published in the 1700s, there are many scholars who believe it dates back to the 1500s. There are slight variations in the verses as they date back in time. I have selected one that is fairly easy to read. The "link" that the linnet is carrying is a torch. The "bull" is short for bullfinch.

What do the verses mean? Well, there are a lot of theories. One theory suggests that it is a mythological event like the death of the Norse God Baldr ( the God of summer sunlight and the life force, who had dreams of his death so his mom made everything on earth promise not to hurt him except she skipped mistletoe so Loki ( a mischievious God) made a spear or arrow out of mistletoe to kill Baldr. He gave the weapon to Baldr's brother , who didn't know about its danger and he kills him with it.... it's a much longer and weirder story than this- I'm paraphrasing.) So it could also be a metaphor for the end of the summer, the beginning of the fall and winter.

Another theory is that the poem is about about the death of William Rufus, King William II of England. Another theory says it is about the fall of the government of Robert Walpole in 1742 (which is sort of odd since the poem has its mirrors in countries all throughout Europe.) Yet another theory suggests that it is about Robin Hood.

Whatever actually inspired the poem, it has been adopted by many countries and added to their own literature.

It's Saturday! Yay! Here are the cartoons:

First off, the famous Disney cartoon based on the poem:

Here's a Harvey-toon takeoff on the poem starring Little Audrey "The Cockeyed Canary

I just love this cartoon featuring the drawings of James Thurber and a story from his Fables For Our Time. This is ""The Unicorn in the Garden":

Remember the Icebird? Here are two adds for it. Same film footage, different song:


Here's a "Fractured Fairytale" from Rocky and Bulwinkle. The Edward Everett Horton narration for these is one of the reasons they are so funny and clever:

Kookoo birds?

Of course we have to show the Angry Birds, the mega popular phone app and game:

And, finally, a touch of the 80s- the band Cock Robin with "Worlds Apart":

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