SA 1971/265/Al Recorded from John Dass, Burray, Orkney by Alan Bruford on 17th Sept. ,1971.

Mr Dass heard the song from William Sinclair (Billy o Stane) as a boy in South Ronaldsay. The custom of "hunting the wren" about Christmas-time, known in Ireland, Northern England and the Isle of Man, seems to have been almost unknown in Scotland, but the associated song has survived as a nonsense song for children in several regions including the Northern Isles: other versions have been recorded recently from Flotta and Shetland. The end with the wren's bones causing shipwrecks seems to be a local addition. The tune is a variant of "Kenmure's on and awa. "


  1. "Come to the wood," says Tozie Mozie,
    "Come to the wood," says Johnnie Red-hosie,
    "Come to the wood," says brithers and three,
    "Come to the wood," says Wise Willee.

  2. "What to do there?" says Tozie Mozie,
    "What to do there?" says Johnnie-Red-hosie, (etc.)

  3. "Shoot the wren," says Tozie Mozie. . .

  4. "What'll we bring him home in?" says Tozie Mozie. . .

  5. "Cazes* and creels, " says Tozie Mozie. . . *Straw baskets

  6. "What'll we cook him in?" says Tozie Mozie. . .

  7. "Pit on the muckle pot," says Tozie Mozie. . .

  8. "What'll we do wi his feathers?" says Tozie Mozie. . .

  9. "Fill bolsters and pillows," says Tozie Mozie. . .

  10. "What'll we do wi his bones?" says Tozie Mozie.

  11. "Fling them ower the rocks," says Tozie Mozie. .

  12. "That'll brak ships," says Tozie Mozie. . .

  13. "That'll mak fatherless bairns," says Tozie Mozie
    "That'll mak fatherless bairns," says Johnnie Red-hosie,
    "That'll mak fatherless bairns," says brithers and three,
    "That'll mak fatherless bairns," says Wise Willee.


© 1996 The School of Scottish Studies