Red Herring, The

DESCRIPTION: Song describes the uses made of various parts of the herring, e.g., "Herring's eyes, puddings and pies/Herring's head, loaves of bread."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1903 ("Cape Cod Dialect"); Palmer-ECS claims a manuscript version from 1831
KEYWORDS: fishing ritual cumulative nonballad humorous animal
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,North,South)) Canada(Newf) Ireland
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Williams-Thames, p. 167, "The Jolly Red Herring" (1 text) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 360)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 86-87, "The Red Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Circle 110, "The Red Herring" (1 text)
Kennedy 296, "The Herring Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 118, "The Jolly Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 79, "The Red Herring" (1 text)
Palmer-ECS, #138, "Herrings' Heads" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #109, "The Herring's Head" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-NEFolklr, pp. 578-579, "The Herring Song" (1 text)
Lehr/Best 50, "The Herring" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #128
RECORDINGS:
Johnny Doughty, "Herrings' Heads" (on Voice07)
Mikeen McCarthy, "The Herring" (on Voice14)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Sow Took the Measles"
cf. "The Mallard"
cf. "Alouette (I)"
cf. "The Farmer and the Crow"
cf. "The Derby Ram" (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
The Herring's Head
The Herring's Heid
The Jovial Herring
The Jolly Red Herring
NOTES: This is essentially the same song as the American "Sow Took the Measles" [and Roud lumps them - RBW]; "The Farmer and the Crow" (also American, but also found in Sweden) marries this song to "The Carrion Crow." -PJS
Kennedy declares his "Herring Song" and "The Red Herring" to be the same. I'm not sure I agree; while the theme is the same, the lyrics and stanza form are different. But he's seen more versions than I have; I tentatively follow his lead. The danger, of course, is that Kennedy will lump anything with anything. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: VWL086

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