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Gower animal head customs
HORTON: GEORGE TUCKER'S TEXT

(Recorded by Mick Tems at Horton, 1976)


"This is the song that was always sung outside of the door before you entered. You'd open the door a little bit and put a stick in, in case somebody shut the door on you, and then you'd sing.


Once I was a young horse
And in my stable gay,
I had the best of everything,
Of barley, oats and hay;
But now I'm getting an old horse,
My courage is getting small
I'm 'bliged to eat the sour grass
That grows beneath the wall.

Chorus: Poor old horse, let him die.
Poor old horse, let him die.

I've eaten all my oats and hay,
Devoured all my straw;
I can hardly move about
Nor can my carriage draw.
With these poor weary limbs of mine
I've travelled many a mile,
O'er hedges, bramble bushes,
Gates and narrow stiles.

Chorus: Poor old horse, let him die.
Poor old horse, let him die.


"There is a third verse, but I don't know it. I haven't got it here at the moment. But that was always the Horse's Head song. I don't know, but I don't think that anybody esle would know the tune, because I don't know of anybody else but me now that's left, that used to go round. There's only a few of us left at my age and most of them is women, I'm about the only man. The youngsters wouldn't know it, see.

"There'd be several horse's heads, and there'd be several groups with the mummers. Very often it would be the ones that would get in first. Some of the houses might have one or two or three the same night. The money wouldn't be much; it would only be a couple of pence in any case, you see. Some, of course, couldn't give you hardly anything at all, but it didn't matter. We knew that, you see. As a matter of fact, some of them would get the best singing.

"A certain parson here used to go round with the Horse's Head and the last call was always at Penrice Castle. The orders was that they were to go into the castle, they were to be entertained and they could have what they liked. Of course, there'd always be a big gang of them for that. They'd meet there, you see. But one of the boys, Arthur Bevan, his orders from the parson were that he wasn't to get drunk, under any condition at all because the parson wanted him to see him home, because the parson used to get drunk first.

"But on this particular night, Arthur and him got drunk and neither of them got home. They got into the marsh or something, into the bog there was the devil to pay. And of course, poor old Arthur was very nearly excommunicated from the church for that."



Gower animal head customs: Mumbles

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Last updated 08 March 2010. Copyright 1999 Celfyddydau Mari Arts.