“The Rattling Bog”


Cumulative song about the "great chain of being." Sample: "On this branch there was a twig/Rare twig, a rattling twig/Twig on the branch and the branch on the tree and the tree in the bog/Bog down in the valley-o." Most versions complete a circle


The Cornish words printed by Kennedy are by Talek, based on English texts with some Breton influence.

The "Rattling Bog" title is obviously rare, but I used it because it seemed the most popular pop folk title. I may have been wrong about that. - RBW

Cross references


  • Doney Hammontree, "The Tree in the Wood" (AFS; on LC12)
  • Mike Kent, "The Tree" (on NFMLeach)
  • Old King Cole, "And The Green Grass Grew All Around" (Edison 52310, 1928)
  • Premier Quartet, "And the Green Grass Grew All Around" (CYL: Edison [BA] 1808, n.d.)
  • Pete Seeger, "Green Grass Grows All Around" (on PeteSeeger20)
  • Uncle Don, "The Green Grass Grew All Around" (Conqueror 9013, 1938)


  1. Randolph 459, "The Green Grass Grew All Round" (1 text)
  2. BrownIII 133, "The Pretty Pair Tree" (1 text)
  3. Fuson, pp. 87-88, "The Green Grass Grew All Around" (1 text)
  4. SharpAp 206, "The Tree in the Wood" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
  5. Sharp-100E 98, "The Tree in the Wood" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Sharp/Karpeles-80E 58, "The Tree in the Wood" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Creighton/Senior, pp. 258-260, "The Tree in the Bog" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
  8. Creighton-NovaScotia 92, "On This Hill" (1 text, 1 tune)
  9. Leach-Labrador 107, "The Stump" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. Karpeles-Newfoundland 88, "The Tree in the Wood" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Gardner/Chickering 200, "The Tree in the Wood" (1 text)
  12. Kennedy 96, "An Wedhen War An Vre (The Tree on the Hill)" (1 Cornish text, 1 tune)
  13. Silber-FSWB, p. 391, "The Green Grass Grew All Around" (1 text)
  15. ADDITIONAL: Maud Karpeles, _Folk Songs of Europe_, Oak, 1956, 1964, p. 6, prints a Danish text, "Langt Udi Skoven," with a loose English translation, which is a similar cumulative song about a tree, but the idea is so simple that they might be independent
  16. Roud #129
  17. BI, ShH98


Alternate titles: “The Green Grass Growing All Around”; “The Endless Circle”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1877 (Miss M. H. Mason, _Nursery Rhymes and Country Songs_)
Found in: Britain(England(South),Scotland) Wales US(Ap,MW,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)