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King of the Birds

[Eliza Carthy]

Eliza Carthy and Jon Boden sang Eliza’s song King of the Birds in 2023 on their Hudson album Glad Christmas Comes. Eliza Carthy noted:

I was commissioned to write this, or more accurately put it together from various floating verses, by the venerable Taffy Thomas, Storyteller of my childhood, and his wife Chrissy. I grew up with them both and with their three children on the folk scene in the UK and cherish their kinship. The tune is Tuesday Morning, as I managed to forget the original tune I wrote for their festival in the Lakes!


Eliza Carthy and Jon Boden sing King os the Birds

The wren, the wren, the king of the birds
On St Stephen’s Day he was caught in the furze
Though he is little his family is great
Rise up, Mrs Thomas, and give us a treat

Chorus (after each verse):
Hello, hello, hello boys
Hello, hello hello

Between the finger and the thumb
Oh there was a blister as big as a plum
As big as an apple, as plum as a cherry
Oh give us all something to make us all merry

Mr Thomas, a worthy old man
Oh he’s come on home and he’s brought us a wren
Brought us a wren, lads, to sing us a tune
So we can be happy on Old Christmas Morn