To my son Tommy,
We have twelve days till your mom's surgery. That is twelve times going to sleep at night and, God willing, twelve mornings waking up. Your Bwama has started us using the Twelve Days of Christmas song for countdown purposes. The problem is, no one seemed to agree on the different days. Sure we all knew there were five rings (though some are gold and others golden) and two turtle doves and such, but what was twelve and is it four calling birds or four colly birds. So I turned to our ever present source of information and savior from arguments and misunderstandings, the Internet.
Turns out the Internet is far from definitive on the subject, though that doesn't stop people from claiming themselves correct and infallible. The differences abound and are even more abundant than I thought. Some have a mother sending gifts, others a true love giving gifts. Some have twelve drummers drumming while some have twelve lords leaping. Some had the colly birds and some the calling birds and some had canary birds or colour'd birds. Just for your information later, and to confuse you more, a colly bird is a small European blackbird that some actually think is a chimney thrush. I never heard the song with the version using tens cocks a crowing or nine bears a beating but sure enough it exists and not as a parody. Add in all the parodies, including my favorite Bob River's "Twelve Pains Of Christmas", and the actual lyrics are pretty much based upon your own version of the truth. Faced with all these variations, spanning the past two or three centuries, who was I supposed to trust? I turned to one of my most trusted sources, the Muppets!
Though the TV version and the album version differ in cast singing, the lyrics remain consistent through out the years. Thus the Muppets have solidified for me the true present day lyrics for the songs though knowing the evolution or etymology of the song might win you a Jeopardy contest. Here is the album version cast and the lyrics used...
John Denver -- "A partridge in a pear tree"What have we learned here? We learned that the Internet doesn't always help. We learned that people sing the same song dozens of different ways. We learned that your father is willing to accept the word of Rowlf and Kermit and Fozzy over some uppity professor who tells me that I should go back to using a colly bird. And most importantly, we learned that we are trying to find any way possible to make the next twelve days until your mother's surgery bearable.
Fozzie Bear -- "Two turtle doves"
Gonzo -- "Three French hens"
Robin the Frog -- "Four calling birds"
Miss Piggy -- "Five gold rings"
Scooter -- "Six geese a-laying"
Lew Zealand -- "Seven swans a-swimming"
Rowlf the Dog -- "Eight maids a-milking"
Dr. Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker - "Nine ladies dancing"
Statler and Waldorf -- "Ten lords a-leaping"
Beauregard -- "Eleven pipers piping"
Kermit -- "Twelve drummers drumming"
Sincerely with love from your dad,