Baby Rhymes

The Wood Pigeon

★ The Wood Pigeon Story :

An Isle of Wight legend respecting this bird tells us that, soon after the creation of the world, all the birds were assembled for the purpose of learning to build their nests, and the magpie, being very sagacious and cunning, was chosen to teach them. Those birds that were most industrious, such as the wren and the long-tailed-capon, or pie-finch, he instructed to make whole nests in the shape of a cocoa-nut, with a small hole on one side; others, not so diligent, he taught to make half-nests, shaped something like a teacup.

Having thus instructed a great variety of birds according to their capacity, it came to the turn of the wood-pigeon, who, being a careless and lazy bird, was very indifferent about the matter, and while the magpie was directing him how to place the little twigs, &c., he kept exclaiming, “What, athurt and across! what zoo! what zoo!–athurt and across! what zoo! what zoo!” At length the magpie was so irritated with his stupidity and indolence, that he flew away, and the wood-pigeon, having had no more instruction, to this day builds the worst nest of any of the feathered tribe, consisting merely of layers of cross-twigs.

Montagu gives a Suffolk version of the tale, which differs considerably from the above. “The magpie, it is said, once undertook to teach the pigeon how to build a more substantial and commodious dwelling; but, instead of being a docile pupil, the pigeon kept on her old cry of ‘Take two, Taffy! take two!’ The magpie insisted that this was a very unworkmanlike manner of proceeding, one stick at a time being as much as could be managed to advantage; but the pigeon reiterated her ‘two, take two,’ till Mag, in a violent passion, gave up the task, exclaiming, ‘I say that one at a time’s enough; and, if you think otherwise, you may set about the work yourself, for I will have no more to do with it!’ Since that time, the wood-pigeon has built her slight platform of sticks, which certainly suffers much in comparison with the strong substantial structure of the magpie.” The cooing of the wood-pigeon produces, it is said-

Take two-o coo, Taffy! Take two-o coo, Taffy!

Alluding, says Mr. Chambers, to a story of a Welshman, who thus interpreted the note, and acted upon the recommendation by stealing two of his neighbour’s cows.

★ Checkout this story aswell :
The Lady Of Gollerus

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