Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
When I Was a Wee Thing(2)

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When I Was a Wee Thing (2)

When I Was a Wee Thing (2)

     When I was a wee thing,
       'Bout six or seven year auld,
     I had no worth a petticoat,
       To keep me frae the cauld.

     Then I went to Edinburgh,
       To bonnie burrows town,
     And there I coft a petticoat,
       A kirtle, and a gown.

     As I cam hame again,
       I thought I wad build a kirk,
     And a' the fowls o' the air
       Wad help me to work.

     The heron, wi' her lang neb,
       She moupit me the stanes;
     The doo, wi' her rough legs,
       She led me them hame.

     The gled he was a wily thief,
       He rackled up the wa';
     The pyat was a curst thief,
       She dang down a'.

     The hare came hirpling owre the knowe,
       To ring the morning bell;
     The hurcheon she came after,
       And said she wad do't hersel.

     The herring was the high priest,
       The salmon was the clerk,
     The howlet read the order--
       They held a bonnie wark.

     As I was walking through the wud
     I begood a-biggin' a kirk;
     An' a' the beasties in the wud
     Helpit me to work.
     The beastie wi' the ae horn
     Howkit a' the stanes;
     The beast wi the rough fit
     Trailed them a' hame.
     Hairie hippit thro' the kirk,
     An' rang the mornin' bell;
     Hymen was the high priest,
     An' Choral was the clerk;
     An' bonnie sang the mavis;
     An' that's a merry wark.

     When I was a little laddie
     Of nine or ten years auld,
     I hadna a petticoat
     To keep me frae the cauld.
     I went away to Edinburgh,
     That bonnie burgh toun,
     And there I got a petticoat,
     A mantle, and a goun.
     I gaed awa to Holyrood Ha',
     And there I built a kirk,
     And a' the birds o' the air
     They helpit me to work:
     The whaup wi' her lang legs
     She dug up the stane,
     The dove wi' her reid legs
     She brocht them hame;
     The pyet was a wiley bird,
     And she bug up the wa';
     But the craw was a dirty beast,
     And she pu'd down a'.

     (1) Chambers PRS (1847), 184; (1870), 27; Montgomerie
     SNR (1946), 117 (no. 148).  Variant, with music, in Moffat
     50 TSNR (1933), 17 [st. 3 And as I hameward wandered/
     birdies; 4-6 omitted; 7.3-4 The bullfinch played the
     organ/ All in my bonnie kirk!] Air, Lennox Love to
     (2) Greig FSNE xxii.2. Ultimately from Strichen.
     (3) Rymour Club Misc. II (1912-19), 42, from Hawick.
     [Bug = biggit, "built".]
     ODNR 189 (no. 187), English version from Halliwell, 1853.
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III