Saturday, December 11, 2010

12 Days-Correspondence

I first heard this in the car radio from the local classical music station. It was one eof those recordings I had to hear the end of. Mrs. T was giving me "are you coming in" warnings, yet still I sat. The recording became so popular that to stop the phone calls, those remembering pre FM rock and roll may recall their stations doing this, the station would announce we are replaying this Friday at 4pm.

My station changed owners and formats this year so I have missed my fix, and have been unable to source the original. The recording of course is The 12 Days of Christmas, Correspondence". I have a copy of what may be the original essays by JJ Norwich, but frankly I have found so many variations, I am unsure of the original author, so for now I'll go with Norwich.

The story is thus:

My dearest darling Edward, Dec 25

What a wonderful surprise has just greeted me! That sweet

partridge, in that lovely little pear-tree; what an enchanting, romantic, poetic present! Bless you, and thank


Your deeply loving Emily.

Beloved Edward, Dec 26

The two turtle-doves arrived this morning, and are cooing

away in the pear-tree as I write. I'm so touched and


With undying love, as always, Emily.

My darling Edward, Dec 27

You do think of the most original presents! Who ever thought

of sending anybody three French hens? Do they really come all

the way from France? It's a pity we have no chicken coops,

but I expect we'll find some. Anyway, thank you so much;

they're lovely.

Your devoted Emily.

Dearest Edward, Dec 28

What a surprise! Four calling birds arrived this morning.

They are very sweet, even if they do call rather loudly --

they make telephoning almost impossible -- but I expect

they'll calm down when they get used to their new home.

Anyway, I'm very grateful, of course I am.

Love from Emily.

Dearest Edward, Dec 29

The mailman has just delivered five most beautiful gold

rings, one for each finger, and all fitting perfectly! A

really lovely present! Lovelier, in a way, than birds, which

do take rather a lot of looking after. The four that arrived

yesterday are still making a terrible row, and I'm afraid

none of us got much sleep last night. Mother says she wants

to use the rings to "wring" their necks. Mother has such a

sense of humor. This time she's only joking, I think, but I

do know what she means. Still, I love the rings.

Bless you, Emily.

Dear Edward, Dec 30

Whatever I expected to find when I opened the front door

this morning, it certainly wasn't six socking great geese

laying eggs all over the porch. Frankly, I rather hoped that

you had stopped sending me birds. We have no room for them,

and they've already ruined the croquet lawn. I know you meant

well, but let's call a halt, shall we?

Love, Emily.

Edward, Dec 31

I thought I said NO MORE BIRDS. This morning I woke up to

find no more than seven swans, all trying to get into our

tiny goldfish pond. I'd rather not think what's happened to

the goldfish. The whole house seems to be full of birds, to

say nothing of what they leave behind them, so please,

please, stop!

Your Emily.

Jan 1

Frankly, I prefer the birds. What am I to do with eight

milkmaids? And their cows! Is this some kind of a joke? If

so, I'm afraid I don't find it very amusing.


Jan 2

Look here, Edward,

This has gone far enough. You say you're sending me nine

ladies dancing. All I can say is, judging from the way they

dance, they're certainly not ladies. The village just isn't

accustomed to seeing a regiment of shameless viragos, with

nothing on but their lipstick, cavorting round the green, and

it's Mother and I who get the blame. If you value our

friendship, which I do (less and less), kindly stop this

ridiculous behavior at once!


Jan 3

As I write this letter, 10 disgusting old men are prancing

up and down all over what used to be the garden, before the

geese and the swans and the cows got at it. And several of

them, I have just noticed, are taking inexcusable liberties

with the milkmaids. Meanwhile, the neighbors are trying to

have us evicted. I shall never speak to you again.


Jan 4

This is the last straw! You know I detest bagpipes! The

place has now become something between a menagerie and a madhouse, and a man from the council has just declared it

unfit for habitation. At least Mother has been spared this

last outrage; they took her away yesterday afternoon in an

ambulance. I hope you're satisfied.

Jan 5


Our client, Miss Emily Wilbraham, instructs me to inform you

that with the arrival on her premises at 7:30 this morning of

the entire percussion section of the Boston Symphony

Orchestra, and several of their friends, she has no course

left open to her but to seek an injunction to prevent you

importuning her further. I am making arrangements for the

return of much assorted livestock.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

G. Creep Attorney at law.

Another variation was penned by Irish essayist Hugh Leonard and is read by celebrated Irish actor Frank Kelly. This is for #1 Son. I think he will prefer the Irish version.



Town and Country Mom said...

Quite a hoot! I only just yesterday read that this carol originated so that English Catholics could teach their children the catechism. I'm not sure there's any truth to this, but it does help explain such an odd assortment of gifts. Poor Edward, if only he'd gone to Harrod's.

sue in mexico mo said...

LOL Thanks

James said...

Thank you for the Holiday smile.

dovecote Decor said...

I am so lame. Saturday night at 10:00 p.m. I am loving your post, and lilting Irish humor. Do you live so far from North Carolina? Thanks for the smile.

Toad said...

Liz, NC is a state of mind. One may live there without ever setting foot in it. I physically live in eastern Missouri, distance is relative, so maybe it's not far. Is it snowing there?

Easy and Elegant Life said...

Thank you for a much needed laugh today!

Merry Christmas, Toad.