First You Take a Sheep

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by Eilidh Swann, written for the Occasion of Apprenticing to Mistress Tonwen ferch Gruffudd Aur

Winter's come, the days are short
The nights are getting longer
Your shirt is bare, Your shoes are thin
And you keep feeling colder
Wouldn’t it be nice to wrap up in a warm and wooly cloak?
Well, what are ya going to do?
Well, first you take a sheep

And you
Shear it and you skirt it
And you scour it and you comb it
Then you spin it, dye it, weave it
And you full it, and you sew it
Now you’ve got yourself a fine and fuzzy woolen cloak
And how did you get your cloak?
Well, first you take a sheep

So, you’re a squire and your knight has signed you up to play in a Pa’ [Pas d’Armes]
But you need some fancy pageantry and a great big crested helm
But your helm is kinda rusty, kinda dented, kinda dismal
So what are ya going to do?
Well, first you take a sheep

And you
Slaughter it, and you strip the hide
And cure it in some brine
Then you scud the hair right off it
And you tan it, dye it, oil it
Then you cut it, trim it, mold it, shape it,
And sew it into a helm
And how did you get your helm?
Well, first you take a sheep

So that Lord or Lady has caught your eye
And you’d like to impress them
Maybe take them on a walk and a romantic picnic serve them
Well, you’ve got your bread, you’ve got your wine
But your meal looks kinda boring
Well, what are ya going to do?
Well, first you take a sheep

And you
Milk it, and ferment it
Then you add the rennet to it
Then you separate the curds from whey
And salt it, press it, cure it
When you take them on a picnic
You can serve a lovely cheese
And how did you get your cheese?
Well, first you take a sheep

So your head is kinda fluffy
And you could use some more book learnin’
You’ve been struggling with your figures
And you really should learn some Latin
You haven’t got a library but you’ve got a neighboring scribe
Well, what are ya going to do?
Well, first you take a sheep

And you
Slaughter it and you skin it
And you scrape the hair right off it
Then you pumice it and you stretch it, scrape it, dry it into parchment
Then you trim it, fold it, cut it, sew it, and present the book to the scribe
And how did you get your book?
Well, first you take a sheep

So the Baron down the road would like to visit you at your castle
And you need to serve a fancy feast for him and all his vassals
But your cupboard and your pantry
Well, they’re looking kinda bare
So what are ya going to do?
Well, first you take a sheep

And you
Slaughter it, and you drain it
And you strip the hide right off it
Then you cut and trim the choicest meats
And take them to the kitchen
Where you’ll roast it, spice it, slice it, and then serve it to the Baron
And how did you get your feast?
Well, first you take a sheep

Now the Baron’s gone home and the castle is clean
And you’re feeling rather mighty
The lamb was good, the cheese was great, and your helm looked really spiffy
With your book and woolen cloak in hand
You’ve been feeling rather lonely
So what are ya going to do? (pause)

Well I suggest you take a consort,
And you leave the sheep alone!

Notes

First, my undying thanks for Tonwen and the "Whole Hog of Damocles." The song was truly inspired by our long chats and silly dinners. Second, thanks to Lord Dylan of Kairdiff, for helping me memorized lyrics on the trip to Coronation. Thanks to (then Their Majesties) Drogo and Ithuna, for being there at my apprenticing: You really made the day extra special. Of course, Ithuna, I finally got the lyrics posted online because of your Royal Request. Finally, thanks to my apprentice brother and apprentice cousins, for making this journey even more like a family. Auntie Medb Renata, thanks for the yummy dinners. My peerage Grandpa's, for "buying me loud toys then sending me home to Mom" and "hyping me up on sugar and sending me home to Mom."

And remember kids: (a) the plural of anecdote is not "data" (thank you Baron Thomas) and (b) Wikipedia does not Research Make. (It is for entertainment purposes only... even if it did supply a vast number of verbs in these lyrics!)

Sheet music, Recordings