The Scottish Song “The Thirteen Days of Yule”

The 13 Days of Yule was sung in Scotland as far back as the early 1800’s, to the tune of The Twelve Days of Christmas.

“Yule” was originally a heathen feast that lasted for 12-13 days. Eventually it came to represent the midwinter season of December and January. Later it became synonymous with Christmas.

Illustration of a Papingoe

The Thirteen Days of Yule

The King sent his Lady on the first Yule day,
A papingoe*, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the second Yule day,
Two partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the third Yule day,
Three plovers**, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the fourth Yule day,
A goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the fifth Yule day,
Three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the sixth Yule day,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the seventh Yule day,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the eighth Yule day,
Three ducks a-merry laying, a bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the ninth Yule day,
Three swans a-merry swimming, three ducks a-merry laying,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the tenth Yule day,
An Arabian baboon,
Three swans a-merry swimming, three ducks a-merry laying,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the eleventh Yule day,
Three hinds a-merry hunting, an Arabian baboon,
Three swans a-merry swimming, three ducks a-merry laying,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the twelfth Yule day,
Three maids a-merry dancing, three hinds a-merry hunting,
An Arabian baboon,
Three swans a-merry swimming, three ducks a-merry laying,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

The King sent his lady on the thirteenth Yule day,
Three stalks o merry corn, three maids a-merry dancing,
Three hinds a-merry hunting, an Arabian baboon,
Three swans a-merry swimming, three ducks a-merry laying,
A bull that was brown,
Three goldspinks, three starlings, a goose that was grey,
Three plovers, three partridges and a papingoe, aye.
Who learns my carol and carries it away.

*papingoe = a parrot (though some people think it’s a peacock)
**a plover is a type of bird

The illustration can be found in The Sleeping Beauty Picture Book, illustrated by Walter Crane.

Come visit the Mama Lisa’s World UK Page for more Scottish Songs.

This article was posted on Wednesday, December 7th, 2005 at 10:57 pm and is filed under Christmas, Christmas Songs, Countries & Cultures, Holiday Songs, Holidays Around the World, Scotland, Scottish Children's Songs, Scottish Folk Songs, Songs by Theme, The Thirteen Days of Yule, The Thirteen Days of Yule. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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