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The first day after Christmas My true love and I had a fight And so I chopped the pear tree down And burnt it, just for spite

Then with a single cartridge I shot that blasted partridge

My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me.

The second day after Christmas I pulled on the old rubber gloves And very gently wrung the necks Of both the turtle doves

My true love, my true love, my true love gave to me.

On the third day after Christmas My mother caught the croup I had to use the three French hens To make some chicken soup

The four calling birds were a big mistake For their language was obscene The five golden rings were completely fake and turned my fingers green.

The sixth day after Christmas The six laying geese wouldn't lay So I sent the whole darn gaggle to the A.S.P.C.A.

On the seventh day, what a mess I found The seven swans-a-swimming all had drowned (I think there's a "my true love gave to me" in here somewhere)

The eighth day after Christmas Before they could suspect I bundled up the Eight maids-a-milking Nine ladies dancing Ten lords-a-leaping Eleven pipers piping Twelve drummers drumming - well, actually I kept one of the drummers - And sent them back collect

I wrote my true love "We are through, love!" And I said in so many words "Furthermore your Christmas gifts were for the (Soprani) Birds!"

(Everyone else) Four calling birds, Three french hens, Two turtle doves And a partridge in a pear tree!"

*** From: (Joanne Handwerger)


My dearest darling Edward, Dec 25

  What a wonderful surprise has just greeted me!  That

sweet partridge, in that lovely little pear-tree; what an enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you, and thank you.

                   Your deeply loving

Beloved Edward, Dec 26

  The two turtle-doves arrived this morning, and are cooing

away in the pear-tree as I write. I'm so touched and grateful!

                   With undying love, as always,

My darling Edward, Dec 27

  You do think of the most original presents!  Who ever

thought of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all the way from France? It's a pity we have no chicken coops, but I expect we'll find some. Anyway, thankyou so much; they're lovely.

                   Your devoted Emily.

Dearest Edward, Dec 28

  What a surprise!  Four calling birds arrived this morning.

They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly - they make telephoning almost impossible - but I expect they'll calm down when they get used to their new home. Anyway, I'm very grateful, of course I am.

                   Love from Emily.

Dearest Edward, Dec 29

  The mailman has just delivered five most beautiful gold

rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly! A really lovely present! Lovelier, in a way, than birds, which do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I'm afraid none of us got much sleep last night. Mother says she wants to use the rings to "wring" their necks. Mother has such a sense of humor. This time she's only joking, I think, but I do know what she means. Still, I love the rings.

                   Bless you,

Dear Edward, Dec 30

  Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door

this morning, it certainly wasn't six socking great geese laying eggs all over the porch. Frankly, I rather hoped that you had stopped sending me birds. We have no room for them, and they've already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant well, but let's call a halt, shall we?


Edward, Dec 31

  I thought I said NO MORE BIRDS.  This morning I woke

up to find no more than seven swans, all trying to get into our tiny goldfish pond. I'd rather not think what's happened to the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds, to say nothing of what they leave behind them, so please, please, stop!

                   Your Emily.

Jan 1

  Frankly, I prefer the birds.  What am I to do with eight

milkmaids? And their cows! Is this some kind of a joke? If so, I'm afraid I don't find it very amusing.


Look here, Edward, Jan 2

  This has gone far enough.  You say you're sending me

nine ladies dancing. All I can say is, judging from the way they dance, they're certainly not ladies. The village just isn't accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless viragos, with nothing on but their lipstick, cavorting round the green, and it's Mother and I who get the blame. If you value our friendship, which I do (less and less), kindly stop this ridiculous behavior at once!


Jan 3

  As I write this letter, ten disgusting old men are

prancing up and down all over what used to be the garden, before the geese and the swans and the cows got at it. And several of them, I have just noticed, are taking inexcusable liberties with the milkmaids. Meanwhile the neighbors are trying to have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again.


Jan 4

  This is the last straw!  You know I detest bagpipes!

The place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse, and a man from the council has just declared it unfit for habitation. At least Mother has been spared this last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an ambulance. I hope you're satisfied.

Sir, Jan 5

  Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to

inform you that with the arrival on her premises at 7:30 this morning of the entire percussion section of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and several of their friends, she has no course left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent you importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the return of much assorted livestock.

                   I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
                        G. Creep
                        Attorney at law.

Author unknown.

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