Friday, July 11, 2014


Our mom sang. She sang at weddings and funerals. She sang when she was doing chores on the farm. She sang to entertain us on trips in the car. She sang while doing housework. Most of the time we enjoyed the sound of her sweet voice, even when she used music to tease us.

As a result I have a whole library of old melodies, tunes and songs lodged deep in my brain. Occasionally one will fly out and circle in my mind like a moth from an old closet.

Some songs 

my mom, Blanche Collings; learned from

her mom, Nellie Hunt; who learned them from

her mom, Emily Casto; who probably learned them from her mom,

Hannah Moon of Denby, Derbshire England.

Thanks to the wonders of the internet and ProjectGuntenberg I was almost immediately able to find the lyrics and the music of my musical ghost.

A little book called THE BABY’S BOUQUÊT a Fresh Bunch of Old Rhymes and Tunes” published in the 1870’s had been scanned in and made available free of charge as an ebook.

There was the song, “The Little Disaster,” illustrated in color, music included, on page 15.

Once there lived a little man,

Where a little river ran,
And he had a little farm and little dairy O!
And he had a little plough,
And a little dappled cow,
Which he often called his pretty little Fairy O! 

2And his dog he called Fidelle,
For he loved his master well;
And he had a little pony for his pleasure O!
In a sty not very big
He’d a frisky little pig,
Which he often called his little piggy treasure O! 

3 Once his little maiden, Ann,
With her pretty little can,
Went a-milking when the morning sun was beaming O!
When she fell, I don’t know how,
But she stumbled o’er the plough,
And the cow was quite astonished at her screaming O! 

4Little maid cried out in vain,
While the milk ran o’er the plain,
Little pig ran grunting after it so gaily O!
While the little dog behind,
For a share was much inclined,
So he pulled back squeaking piggy by the taily O! 

5Such a clatter now began
As alarmed the little man,
Who came capering from out his little stable O!
Pony trod on doggy’s toes,
Doggy snapped at piggy’s nose,
Piggy made as great a noise as he was able O! 

6Then to make the story short,
Little pony with a snort
Lifted up his little heels so very clever O!
And the man he tumbled down,
And he nearly cracked his crown,
And this only made the matter worse than ever O!

A lot of negative things can be said about the internet but at times like these what a blessing to be connected so easily to the music of my grandmothers.


Val said...

What? No video of you singing it?

Leenie said...

Val: Alas, I wasn't as diligent about sharing my music heritage as my mom and grandmother. Radio, television, and now the internet seem to supercede nursery rhymes and silly songs by mom.

Geo. said...

My mom had many songs of the Great South in her head which I learned as a child. However, sometimes she would fling her elbows out and dance the Turkey Trot in the kitchen. This would invariably cause me to run out in terror and hide in the bushes.

Joanne Noragon said...

I'm sure singing while they worked was exactly like listening to the radio or the headphones these days. My mom sang about the house, too, popular songs. "If I knew you were coming, I'd 'a baked a cake," or "Slow down, there's a rocky road ahead," or anything else that was popular.

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful treasure you have in those old pictures.

Florida Farm Girl said...

Oh, you are so fortunate to have pictures of all those ancestors!!! Yeah, I don't sing or hum like I used to.

Buttons Thoughts said...

Oh Leenie I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post my Mom also sandg and all those tunes are stuck in my head to this day. You are so lucky to have generations of songs stuck you are so so very lucky. LOVE that song never heard it before. Oh look at the beautiful line of woman I am sure it carried on with you too. LOVE this post. Hope your singing I know I am now:):) Hug B

susan m hinckley said...

Oh, lovely lovely lovely!
I'm so glad you're in the world. Thanks for making my day once again, Leenie.

Alica said...

What a great heritage you have! Do you or any of your kids sing these songs?
In answer to your question about where the manure goes...we spread it every day!

Linda said...

I have those same types of songs that suddenly float into my mind. I decided that it was momma trying to talk to me.


rebecca said...

I just wanted to let you know that I did a Google search for this song and it's origin, and you blog was one of the first things in my results. Go figure.