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Wiltshire Community History

Folk Song Information

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Book TitleAuthorDateNotes
Song TitleMice and the crumbs
Roud No.21196
Collected FromMills, William
LocationAblington
CountyGloucestershire
Collected ByWilliams, Alfred
Alternative Title
Tune
Date
Source PrimaryWSRO: 2598/36 Packet 2 - Gloucestershire: Williams, A: MS collection No Gl 31
Source SecondaryWilts and Gloucestershire Standard, 13th May, 1916, p 3, Part 30, No. 2
Recording
 
Song Lyrics
Verse 1

A little old woman once lived in a house,
In a garret so monstrously high,
Each cupboard was lined, well stored was each shelf,
And in a sly pocket was plenty of pelf.
And a drop of good liquor when dry;
But the rats and the mice, through the holes,
Came into the cupboard in shoals,
So freely exercising their gums,
On cheese parings, candle ends and crumbs;
A curious thing it may seem,
But they dipped their brown tails on the cream,
Which was very bad manners you'll say,
Alas and alack a day!
A curious moral I'll make,
So, listen, both great and small -
You'd better have crumbs for the mice to eat,
Than to have no crumbs at all.

Verse 2

Now this little old woman, plagued out of her life,
Collected of cats fifteen,
And went to bed with them all in her view;
There was black, white, tabby and tortoiseshell, too,
But the candle was scarcely out,
When they made such a confounded rout,
Seizing the victuals, and tearing,
Clawing, spitting and swearing,
Broke cups, plates, and dishes, all her store,
Lapped the cream up, and cried out for more,
Which was shocking bad manners you'll say:
Alas and alack a day!
A curious moral I'll make,
So, listen both great and small -
You'd better have crumbs for the mice to eat,
Than to have no crumbs at all.

Verse 3

Now this little old woman she awoke with a fright,
Not dreaming the cause of the din,
She groped out the tinderbox, and she struck a light,
And the very first object that came into her sight,
Was her bottle broke and spilt all her gin;
She looked in the cupboard in despair,
But the d---l of anything was there,
Except plates and dishes broken small,
Cream jugs, saucers, cups and all;
Each cat looked as savage as a cur,
As if he could easily swallow her,
Which was shocking bad manners you'll say:
Alas and alack a day!
A curious moral I'll make,
So, listen, both great and small -
You'd better have crumbs for the mice to eat,
Than to have no crumbs at all.
 
Print Song Lyrics
 
Notes
Williams, Alfred: Ms / WGS: 'Obtained of W Mills, Ablington. The song was a favourite of his grandmother's.'

Transcribed and edited by Chris Wildridge, 2010.

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