Four and Twenty Tailors 1. Four-an-twenty tailors Chasin at a snail, The snail shot oot its horns Like a hummil coo. "Ah," cried the foremost tailor, We're a' stickit noo." 2. Five and twenty tailors, Ridin' on a snail, Says the foremost to the hindmost, We'll a' be owre the tail; The snail put oot her horns, Like ony hummil coo, Says the foremost to the hindmost, We'll a' be stickit noo! 3. Fower-an'-twenty tailor lads Were fechtin' wi' a slug, `Hallo, sirs!' said ane o' them, `Just haud him by the lug!' But the beastie frae his shell cam' oot, An' shook his fearsome heid. `Rin, rin, my tailors bold Or we will a' be deid!' ________________________________________________________ (1) Gregor (1881), 19; (ref. to Henderson, p. 26); Montgomerie SNR (1946), 116 (no. 147) (Fower-and-twenty Hielandmen). Hummil really means "hornless" (SND). (2) Rymour Club Misc. I (1906-11), 53 (in 4 lines). (3) Gullen Trad. Number Rhymes (1950), 106 (no. 342). This occurs as part of the "Lying Song", q.v. ODNR 401 (no. 496), earliest ref. Gammer Gurton's Garland, 1784. MS oct96
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