School: Carrigeencor (roll number 10826)

Carrigeencor, Co. Leitrim
Mrs Annie Gillmor

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Bird-Lore - The Wren

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The Schools’ Collection, Volume 0200, Page 053

Image and data © National Folklore Collection, UCD. See copyright details »

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The Wren - "Jenny" Wren is here every season, the tail is always erect, and eyes sparkling, very small brown bird with a "top" on head. She always gives forth a ringing note, and can be seen flitting about our hedgerows. Although so small the wren is the king of the birds the fable being - All the birds gathered together to consult which of them would be king. After much thought and worry they decided that the bird which flew highest would be king. The eagle was about to be proclaimed king, when the little wren who was on the eagle's back fluttered above them all, and thus was proclaimed king. The wren builts its nest in the thatch of houses, or in a white or black thorn bush. The nest is roofed like a little cottage. She builds several nests during the season probably to shield her in bad weather. She lays from 10 to 20 small blue eggs.
On St. Stephen's night the boys of the district collect together, and go from house to house and say the following rhyme at the door
"The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
Was caught in the firs on St Stephen's Day
Up with the kettle, and down with the pan
Give me a penny to bury the wren"
They then dance, and are given donations. They then "rise a dance"

Mrs Annie Gillmor