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The Aberdare mummers' play

(Passed on by Paul Tarrant. It was sent to him by Howard Godfrey, who obtained it from the Ordish collection of folk plays.)

The following was sent to Mr E H Binney enclosed in a letter from Mr George Thomas, 20 College Street, Aberdare, dated January 1, 1902 as the local version:


Master of Ceremonies
King George
Jack Ding-a-Ling, follower of Robin Hood

MASTER OF CEREMONIES opens the door and steps inside:
I open the door and enter in
And soon the battle will begin.
Stir up the fire and make it bright
For in this room will be a gallant fight.
If you don't believe the words I say,
Step in, King George, and clear the way.

KING GEORGE enters: Here step I;
King George is my name.
My father killed a thousand men
And I intend to do the same.

JACK DING-A-LING enters: Here step I, Jack Ding-a-Ling;
From the corner I did spring.
My blood is hot, my temper good,
I mean to fight for Robin Hood.
Pull out your purse and pay,
Pull out your sword and fight;
I'll have my satisfaction
Before I go away.

(King George and Jack Ding-a-Ling fight. One is wounded).

MASTER OF CEREMONIES: Is there any doctor to be found?

DOCTOR enters: Yes.

MASTER OF CEREMONIES: By what travels?

Italy, Sicily, France and Spain,
All over England and home again.

(Doctor dresses wounds. Enter Belzebubb).

BELZEBUBB: Here step I, Belzebubb
On my shoulder I carry my club.
In my hand the frying pan
Am I not a jolly old man?

(Collection: Exeunt all.)

Extract of letter from Mr George Thomas: "The parts are taken by a band of boys. They perform in public houses, sometimes in private houses. The play seems to me to be a corruption of something more elaborate."

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Last updated 08 March 2010 . Copyright 1999 Mari Arts.