I’m innocently watching NCIS, working on the baby blanket for my cousin, when all of a sudden they start singing a song about a goat. And I about fall over.
Now, I’m looking through the archives and I see I have never told you about The Old Woman and the Pig. Grandma Avis used to sing us this song when we were little. An old woman is sweeping her floor and she finds two gold coins and she decides, in her fortune, to go to the market and buy a pig, which she does. She heads for home and she gets to the style and the pig won’t cross it. No matter what she does.
So, she goes a little way and she finds a dog and she says (and this part you sing), “Dog, dog, bite that pig, pig won’t go. And I see by the moonlight, it’s almost midnight, time pig and I were home an hour and a half ago.” But the dog would not, so she went a little farther.
And so on. Until the hammer begins to break the knife, which begins to cut the rope, which begins to hang the Butcher, who begins to kill the ox, who begins to drink the water, who begins to quench the fire, that beings to burn the stick, which begins to beat the dog, which finally bites the pig, which begins to go and the old woman gets home.
You can see a variation of it here.
I cannot stress enough how this is the foundational text of my young life. My mom even made my grandma a needlepoint thingy commemorating this song.
I also should mention that this is the side of the family who claims to have been secretly Jewish.
So, I ask you, America, can you even begin to guess how I about fell over while watching NCIS, then, when they began to discuss the song “Chad Gadya,” which is, coincidentally, a song about a guy who buys a goat with two coins and the goat gets bit by a dog, who gets hit by a stick, which gets burnt by a fire and so on. There’s even a butcher who kills an ox.
How can those not be two versions of the same song?
So, clearly, this begs two questions. 1.) Did my family learn this as an English folksong or is this proof of the secretly English Jews story? 2.) And holy shit! Is this not proof that we should teach our kids everything we want passed down for generations in the form of a catchy song?
I’m working on one right now–Give your Aunt Betsy chocolate cake; it’s easy to make, chocolate cake. Give your Aunt Betsy apple pie and chocolate cake; it’s easy to make, chocolate cake. Give your Aunt Betsy great big hugs and apple pie and chocolate cake; it’s easy to make, chocolate cake.” etc. etc.
People won’t know who the hell I was in 300 years, but they’ll remember that I liked chocolate cake. Maybe they’ll make chocolate cake for their aunts. Aunts around the world will cheer in memory of me, the woman who made chocolate cake and being an aunt synonymous.
Anyway, I am tickled.