“The Cutty Wren”


Milder asks Malder questions ("Oh where are you going? says Milder to Malder"). Festle replies to Fose with a refusal to answer. John the Red Nose answers the questions. Most of the answers are extravagant ways of hunting the wren


Although widely popular in revival circles, "The Cutty Wren" has not been all that popular in tradition, being confined to places such as Wales, the Isle of Man, and northern England. The style (of distinct speakers carrying a conversation in order) is more common; see the cross-references.

Many have identified "Billy Barlow," "Cricketty Wee," or (especially) "Hunt the Wren" with "The Cutty Wren," but while the form is similar, and in the latter case even the subject is the same, the plot is distinct enough that the Index splits them.

For a little information, and a lot of speculation, on the history of wrenning, see the notes to "The Wren (The King)." - RBW

Opie-Oxford2 447, "We will go to the wood, says Robin to Bobbin" [also] gives background references about hunting the wren. - BS

Cross references


  1. Kennedy (78), "Helg yn Dreean/Hunt the Wren" (1 text, located in the notes)
  2. Greenway-AFP, pp. 110-111, "The Cutty Wren" (1 text)
  3. Darling-NAS, pp. 91-92, "The Cutty Wren" (1 text)
  4. Silber-FSWB, p. 347, "The Cutty Wren" (1 text)
  6. Roud #236
  7. BI, DTcutywr


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1908 (Mason's "Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs")
Found in: Wales Britain(England)