Tuesday, 21 April 2015

R is for Rhythm and Rhyme …




A riddle and devilish rhyme as a light-hearted post for R: rhythm and rhyme …


As I was going to St Ives,

I met a man with seven wives,
Each wife had seven sacks,
Each cat had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits:
Kits, cats, sacks, and wives,
How many were there going to St Ives?

Answers on a postcard please!!!


This a traditional English-language nursery rhyme in the form of a riddle.  Its Roud Folk Song index number is 19772.  I wrote about the Roud data base and the unknown Royal babe at that time on 22nd July 2013 – the index is not Cornish, but that baby will be anon, but it’s interesting information (well I think so!).



Part of the Rhind Papyrus - now in the British Museum

A similar problem to this riddle is found in the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus (problem 79) dated to around 1650BC.  I shall stop here ... and let you wander over to Wikipedia to check out the answers to the Roud, Rhind, Riddle …





Looking east towards Plymouth, Devon
from Torpoint
Now we take on the devil … he who dared cross the Tamar, the river boundary between Devon and Cornwall, rapaciously rambling towards Launceston … who but rapidly turned on his heel back to Devon for fear of ending up as pasty filling?!



Depiction of the Devil as seen
in the Codex Gigas: The Devil's
Bible (13th C Bohemia)
The poor devil having sweated to get down to Cornwall found that the Tamar was a damp and miserable barrier – and to his horror … that various kinds of pie were customary; he feared that devilly pie might be up next on the Cornish menus.



He was also dumbfounded to come across another blogger in this confounded A-Z Challenge, those 21st century bods write about, in that April Fool of a month ... and that is Annalisa Crawford, who would have goaded the devil on, as he hot-footed it past her town of Essa (Saltash), with the devilly encouraging words of we need new blood ... 


The legend is set to music in the traditional Cornish folk song:




Fish and Tin and Copper

Old Nick, as he was wont to do
Was Wand’ring up and down
To see what mischief he could brew,
And made for Launceston-town.

Chorus:

For ‘tis fish and tin and copper, boys
And Tre and Pol and Pen,
And one and all we may rejoice
That we are Cornishmen.

Across the Tamar he had come
Though you might think it strange,
And having left his Devon home
Tried Cornwall for a change.

Chorus:...

Now when to Launceston he grew near,
A-skipping o’er the sod,
He spied a rustic cottage there
With windows all abroad.

Chorus: ...

And in the kitchen might be seen
A dame with knife in hand,
Who cut and slashed and chopped, I ween
To make a pasty grand.

Chorus: ...

“Good Mornin’, Missus, what is that?”
“Of all sorts, is a daub.
‘Tis beef and mutton, pork and fat,
Potatoes, leeks and squab.”

Chorus: ...

“A Cornish pasty, sure”, says she,
“And if thou doesn’t mind,
I soon shall start to cut up thee
And put ye in, you’ll find!”

Chorus: ...

In fear he turned and straight did flee
Across the Tamar green
And since that day in Cornwall
He has never more been seen!

Chorus: …


c/o Tin Fish, California
That is R for Rhythm and Rhyme with a Riddle for Rhind, mathematical Rumblers, all recorded in the Roud Index … from Aspects of British Cornish …


Roud Index – my post: “PuppyDog’s Tails or Sugar and Spice” … and the next one will be born soon … Sugar or Spice?

Wikipedia – “As I wasgoing to St Ives …



Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

45 comments:

Empty Nest Insider said...

Riddles, rhythm and rhymes...remarkable! There is something for everyone here! I'm still sorting out the "mathmatical rumblers!" The Cornish folk song was an enjoyable romp! Do you ever have a moment's rest, Hilary?!


Julie

Nilanjana Bose said...

Rhyme and rhythm I know, will have to find out about the rumblers. I have read that St Ives rhyme somewhere in my dim past :)

Natasha Duncan-Drake said...

I love the fact Old Nick lived in Devon ;) I've known that rhyme since I was small - we had it in a nursery rhyme book and there was a very silly illustration ::g::
Tasha
Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

Rosie Amber said...

Great riddles, my answer is 1

Bob Scotney said...

Delightful poat, Hilary.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Thanks for the shout out, Hilary. I've never known all the verses for that song (or possibly anyone) but I've always joined in the rousing "That we are Cornishmen". I used to drink in a pub where it was sung on a semi-regular basis :-)

Annalisa, writing A-Z vignettes, at Wake Up, Eat, Write, Sleep

Out on the prairie said...

I am still safe as you can see, I think she did put him in a tasty pastie.

Jo said...

Of course I know the answer to the riddle. Didn't know that poem although for some reason I had heard the chorus before. Can't imagine devilly pie. Cornish pasties or oggies,I love.

Jennifer Hawes said...

I love rhymes and riddles. Thanks for sharing!

Susan Scott said...

Refreshing thank you Hilary! I'm worried that Rosie said 1 were going to St. Ives. Please put me out of my
misery. I would have said 22 ..
I love Cornish pasties, and am unsurprised Nick hot footed away from Launceston-town.

River Fairchild said...

Rapaciously rambling...I love that! I think I need more coffee for the brain teasers. :)
River Fairchild – A to Z April Challenge
Untethered Realms

Deborah Weber said...

What a fabulously delightful post Hilary! Here I am, before finishing my first cup of java already smiling at the idea of devilly pie and intrigued by a papyrus that purports to be an "accurate reckoning for inquiring into things, and the knowledge of all things, mysteries...all secrets." How does it get better than that?

Chrys Fey said...

I'm never good at riddles. I love rhymes though and enjoyed reading both the riddle and the Cornish folk song. :)

Crystal Collier said...

I've always found nursery rhymes interesting because of their origins. So many are gruesome, the political satire of the day. I hadn't heard either of these though. Very interesting.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Julie – I just enjoyed putting this particular post together .. especially when I sort of realised the route I was going in! So thank you ..

@ Nila – I think the poems are quite well known … but it’s just a light post for a change ..

@ Tasha – thanks .. and yes I’m glad Old Nick stayed in Devon. I’m not sure when I first heard the tale …

@ Rosie – well we shall see .. I’m waiting for your postcard!!

@ Bob – thanks ..

@ Annalisa – pleasure re the shout out. I had to type out the verses … just gives pleasure if people want to read them out to others .. and I can believe the pub ribaldic songs …

@ OOTP – that’s good … but perhaps if old devilly was put in a tasty pie that explains why I like my pasties home-made!

@ Jo – well that’s good you know the riddle’s answer. I think probably the chorus is used often … nor can I imagine devilly pie (though some I’ve had .. have been close I think?!) .. home made pasties preferably ..

@ Jennifer – so glad you enjoyed these poems and riddles

@ Susan – postcard waited for – though I know the post is terrible from South Africa! Glad you enjoyed the post .. and yes thank goodness Old Nick hot-footed it away ..

@ River – that’s fine .. coffee allowed for the brain teasers .. just happy to see you enjoyed the rapacious rambling ..

@ Deborah – that’s great to read .. always happy to have a very happy reader early in their day. It was a fun post .. full of puzzlement and devilment ..

@ Chrys – I’m not good at riddles either .. but I thoroughly enjoyed writing these out and being able to share them here …

@ Crystal – thanks for coming over Mrs New Mother! Perhaps you’ll remember these … I agree some are so gruesome … and as you say the political satire of the day ..

Cheers to you all .. so pleased the rhythm, rhyme and puzzle pleases thee all .. Hilary

Michael Di Gesu said...

Hi, Hilary,

Love your Rhythm and Rhymes.... As writers we ALL love a good challenge and to write with Riddles and Rhyme is quite another Challenge...

Well done!

loverofwords said...

Fun to read your blog today. Lighthearted and interesting. Haven't heard riddles for ages.

Bish Denham said...

Of course I know the answer to that riddle. The song is too funny. In our house there was a running joke about not messing with the person with the knife, which was usually my mother cooking in the kitchen.

Kristin said...

You managed to fit an amazing number of R words in this post :)

Carole Anne Carr said...

Fascinating information, especially about the devil, the antagonist in my next book for grown ups. I'm sure you enjoy this research as much as I do reading it.

Sara C. Snider said...

That song is absolutely delightful. Old Nick, just making conversation... but the woman's not having it, and he just no-thank-yous right on out of there. ;)

cleemckenzie said...

Riddles and Rhymes today! The dates you've discussed I'll have to research at my leisure. So interesting, but then I didn't expect anything less. :-)

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Great choice for your R day. I love rhymes! I can still sit for hours and read my books of poetry by Longfellow or Tennyson.

Joanne said...

I knew the St.Ives one as a kid. Had no idea it was from Cornwall. Very cool.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

So the devil if afraid to traipse across Cornwall. Way too much math in that first bit.

Lynn said...

I think I know the answer - at first I was doing the math and then the answer dawned on me. :)

Sophie Duncan said...

Even though I knew the answer to that riddle, I aways used to try to work it out anyway :)

Who knew a pasty could scare the devil! ;P

Sophie
Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles
FB3X
Wittegen Press

Nick Wilford said...

What a diverse, playful post. Never knew the mathematical history to that rhyme. Nice to see Annalisa pop up, and I prefer being called St Nick to Old Nick!

Jeffrey Scott said...

Great post. Love rhythm and rhyme. Looking forward to the answer, I have my own guess, of course it depends on whether kits and cats are included in the 'many'. :)

samantha mozart said...

These rhythms, rhymes and riddles remind of the many nursery rhymes I read, and were read to me, as a child.

To the riddle answer, only I was going to St. Ives = one. (Unless the man and his wives, etc., were going in the same direction....)

Thank you, Hilary. Such fun.

Samantha Mozart
http://thescheherazadechronicles.org

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Funny poem! How to bake a devil pie.

Lisa said...

Oh boy this was fun! I've heard the Going to St. Ives one, but not the devil in Cornwall. That "Tin Fish" is awesome. Lisa, co-host AtoZ 2015, @ http://www.lisabuiecollard.com

Paula Kaye said...

I love all the rhymes. The sillier the better!

Fil said...

I love the song Hilary :) The Roud index gets talked about a lot in traditional singing circles but I've never really investigated it much.
However Cornish pasties are another thing - yum :) :)
Fil
Fil’s Place - Old songs and Memories

Sharon Marie Himsl said...

What a great post for the letter R, Hilary. That last rhyme made my stomach grumble. Time to learn how to make a pasty!

Margie said...

So fun ... I love rhymes ..
Thanks Hilary

Silvia Villalobos said...

Love the way of the British riddle, so distinctly sounding. You R post was rightly appropriate, I might say.

Marcy said...

Quite the tongue twisters for Riddles and Rhymes. I remember my Dad and Mom telling me the first one when I was growing up. I think that our younger generation doesn't get enough exposure to Riddles and Rhymes.

J Lenni Dorner said...

One was going.
I know that rhyme ... oddly enough, from Die Hard 3.

I think I've seen that fish up close at the New England Aquarium in Boston. They have a dark "of the deep" exhibit.

Stephanie Bird said...

Its touching what a tender language and cultural caretaker you are. I really enjoyed the Youtube video and audio. I'm sending it to my husband. He's originally from England and will greatly appreciate it. Many thanks!

Deniz Bevan said...

Such a fun post, Hilary! I'm off to Wikipedia, as you suggested, to hunt Cornish riddles...

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Michael - so pleased you got to read this Rhythm and Rhymes post .. and yes I certainly couldn't have written any riddles to go with this post - they're too good.

@ Nat - so pleased you enjoyed the lighthearted and interesting take on this post ... it's good to be reminded of the riddles ..

@ Bish - that's good you know the answer to the riddle - I'd probably have got it wrong! How funny that the knife scenario applies to your family ... I imagine it's appropriate for many of us ...

@ Kristin - the R words rattled out! Glad you enjoyed them though ...

@ Carole Anne - the devil story is rather a good one isn't it .. A good antagonist for your next book. I enjoy the ways that my mind takes me off as I research ...

@ Sara - so pleased you enjoyed the song ... when they're good they are good aren't they. And yes Old Nick trying to be nice .. before being seen off - hastening back to Devon!

@ Lee - Riddles and Rhymes - this was a fun post to write up - so I hope you'll enjoy checking out the links ... thanks for your comment ...

@ Teresa - I wish I was more knowledgeable about poetry - something to address in the times ahead. I'd love to know more about the poets and their works ...

@ Joanne - I'm sure the St Ives one is a standard around the world ... but we do spread 'riddly wisdom'!!!

@ Susan - yup the devil was seen off ... well the Rhind Mathematical Papyrus is a bit much isn't it!

@ Lynn - well done .. I think I was just completely bamboozled by it - yet as you say it's so simple.

@ Sophie - I think we all try to work out puzzles - and so often miss the obvious answer ...

Perhaps we should all keep a pasty in our homes - to scare of that old devilly devil ...


Cheers everyone - thanks so much ... I'm so glad this post made everyone happy .. Hilary

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick - so pleased you happily read the post. The maths always interests me ... not so good at, but ... I agree St Nick and not old Nick .. I'll remember that!

@ Jeffrey - do you know I don't think I've answered that riddle! I'd better do something about it ...

@ Samantha - nursery rhymes are wonderful things aren't they ... and they still ring so happily true to our ears.

Ah ha ... we will have to see if they were all going in the same direction won't we ... delighted you enjoyed it ..

@ Alex - so please you enjoyed the poem and that devilly pie - which fortunately wasn't needed in Cornwall!

@ Lisa - glad you enjoyed the post ... it was fun to write up and include all the snippets - also you noticed "the fish" ... loved it too ..

@ Paula - yes sometimes the sillier the better for rhymes ..

@ Fil - I thought you'd know about the song - as any true folk singer would. The Roud Index sounds like an amazing record - we're lucky to have had it compiled. I keep coming across it - and so am aware of the Index. Cornish pasties - delicious if properly made!

@ Sharon - thanks .. I'm glad I got lighthearted for this post ... the poem is a good one and advises us how to concoct that pasty - I hope you give it a go ...

@ Margie - so pleased it was fun ...

@ Silvia - I guess they have 'a voice' of their own - different nations' with different ways of writing. Thanks re thinking my R post was rightly appropriate!

@ Marcy - I guess we were always hearing or listening to the English rhymes and so just absorbed them ... so like you I'm sure we said them at home too ...

You're probably right the younger generation doesn't have enough general 'home values' given to them ...

@ J - from Die Hard 3 - crumbs ... I'd have never have thought it'd appear in the film. Interesting...

I don't know where the fish was exhibited - it just satisfied my fish, tin, copper photo - it's lovely though ..

@ Stephanie - thanks so much re your comment - I'm honoured ... and I do hope your husband enjoyed the video and audio ..

@ Deniz - yes we need some light relief sometimes ... that's great - I hope you found some more Cornish riddles ..

Cheers everyone - thanks so much ...just makes me happy to read your comments - Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

That rhyme about the man with 7 wives could easily be converted into a limerick!
It actually reminds me of a limerick.
I'll write it and send it to you on a postcard. LOL
Hopefully, you'll get the card soon. I have to warn you that a book parcel was posted to me from USA in January 2014 and I only got it in January 2015. Well, our postal service was on strike for most of 2014.
I'll lurk some more tomorrow.
Cheers Hilary!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Michelle - thanks for lurking through my posts! It might even have been a limerick ... it just totally suited rhythm and rhyme. I know re the post - I've two sick friends in Jhb - and I can't write to them ... one does do email, the other doesn't do anything techie ... so we phone occasionally. I'd like to write though - I gather the Aussie post is also on a rocky boat.

Cheers Hilary