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On the Fourth day of Christmas, my Normy gave to me…

…four colly birds

I know what you’re thinking – is that a misprint – isn’t it 4 calling birds? Well, here’s the newsflash – 4 calling birds is wrong! And thank goodness for Normy, whose dedicated research uncovered this now largely unknown mistake!

Yes, persevering in his hunt of the gifts fabled to be given to a loved one in the carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, Normy was researching online to find out where on earth he would find 4 calling birds to give to his dear Normette…only to discover that actually he should be giving her 4 colly birds. Various theories exist online as to why the colly of the 16th century verse gradually became mixed up and morphed into calling birds. But now that the mistake has firmly taken hold in the consciousness of so many, we at The Daily Norm thought it was about time the record was put straight. And not only that. Normy was adamant that he would give Normette a present representing the correct version of the carol.

However, despite his efforts, poor Normy got carried away with his internet research. Having discovered that the word colly derives from colliery, (which is a coal mine) and that a colly is actually another word for a blackbird, this nickname being given because of the blackbird’s coal-like black feathers, Normy then started researching where he could buy blackbirds. Sure enough, he came across that other popular verse, Sing a song of sixpence, A pocket full of rye. Four and twenty blackbirds, Baked in a pie, and quite forgetting which lyrics he was meant to be emulating, ordered 4 blackbirds baked in a pie! Imagine then the shock Normette experienced when she sat down to a Christmas feast with her friends and family only to break into a pie full of live blackbirds! I’m not sure she will ever get over the shock!

On the 4th day of Christmas my Normy gave to me 4 colly birds (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

On the 4th day of Christmas my Normy gave to me 4 colly birds (2012 © Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, pen on paper)

Let’s hope Normy does better on the fifth day of Christmas…

© Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm, 2001-2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of the material, whether written work, photography or artwork, included within The Daily Norm without express and written permission from The Daily Norm’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Nicholas de Lacy-Brown and The Daily Norm with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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