Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Four and Twenty Tailors

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Four anÄ Twenty Tailors

Four and Twenty Tailors

     Four-an-twenty tailors
     Chasin at a snail,
     The snail shot oot its horns
     Like a hummil coo.
     "Ah," cried the foremost tailor,
     We're a' stickit noo."

     Five and twenty tailors,
     Ridin' on a snail,
     Says the foremost to the hindmost,
     We'll a' be owre the tail;

     The snail put oot her horns,
     Like ony hummil coo,
     Says the foremost to the hindmost,
     We'll a' be stickit noo!

     Fower-an'-twenty tailor lads
     Were fechtin' wi' a slug,
     `Hallo, sirs!' said ane o' them,
     `Just haud him by the lug!'
     But the beastie frae his shell cam' oot,
     An' shook his fearsome heid.
     `Rin, rin, my tailors bold
     Or we will a' be deid!'

     (1) Gregor (1881), 19; (ref. to Henderson, p. 26);
     Montgomerie SNR (1946), 116 (no. 147) (Fower-and-twenty
     Hielandmen). Hummil really means "hornless" (SND).
     (2) Rymour Club Misc. I (1906-11), 53 (in 4 lines).
     (3) Gullen Trad. Number Rhymes (1950), 106 (no. 342).
This occurs as part of the "Lying Song", q.v.  ODNR 401
(no. 496), earliest ref. Gammer Gurton's Garland, 1784.

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