Hello, everyone, and happy (belated) St. Stephen’s Day!
Isn’t this a beautiful picture? I discovered it just now on flickr (William Dalton took it) and it immediately reminded me of an old Irish tradition for St. Stephen’s day. In the west of Ireland, kids walk from house to house on this day with a wren in a jar and recite a verse that goes like this:
The wren, the wren, the king of all birds
St. Stephen’s day was caught in the furze.
Although he was small, his family was great.
Rise up! good woman, and give us a treat.
That’s the version I know — but there are others, and some are much longer. When I was a little girl, staying in Connemara over Christmas, I happened to open the door on St. Stephen’s day to a little boy with a wren like this one in a jar, and he recited an entire epic about the wren, (well, a very long poem, anyway), all in Irish. It was very startling! (the wren looked a bit startled, too!) So I think about wrens, this day of the year — especially that little fellow I saw in a jar that day. I can’t for the life of me figure out how the kids catch them without hurting them! But he looked quite well, and very pretty, sitting on a twig in a little jar! I hope he raised a large family for himself later!!