Location: Stanford-in-the-Vale, Berkshire, England (SU3493)
Year: Perf. Until 1900
Time of Occurrence: Christmas
Collective Name: Mummers


Stuart Piggott
Collectanea. Mummers' Plays from Berkshire, Derbyshire, Cumberland, and Isle of Man.
Folk-Lore, 1929, Vol.40, No.3, pp.262-264



{Enter Father Christmas.}


"Here comes I, Father Christmas,
Welcome or welcome not,
I hope old Father Christmas
Will never be forgot.
A room, a room I do presume,
Pray give me room to rhyme,
For we have come to show activity
This merry Christmas time.
Acting youth or acting age
Was never seen before
Or acted on the stage.
If any man can do more than me,
Walk in King George and clear the way."

{Enter King George.}


"Here comes I, King George, the valiant man,
With naked sword and spear in hand.
I fought the fiery dragon and brought him to slaughter,
And by these means I won the King of Egypt's daughter.
And what mortal man dare to stand
Before me with my sword in hand?
I'll slay him and cut him as small as flies,
And send him to Jamaica to make mince pies."


"Come in Bold Slasher."

{Enter Bold Slasher.}


"In comes I, this Turkish Knight,
With thee, King George, I mean to fight.
I'll fight thee, thou man with courage bold,
If thy blood's hot, I'll make it cold."


"Wo Ho, my little fellow, thou talk'st very bold!
Pull out thy sword and fight, or pull out thy purse and pay :
I'll have satisfaction with thee afore thou go'st away."

{They fight, and King George falls.}


"Come in Doctor.
Doctor, doctor, where bist thee?
King George is wounded in the knee.
Five pound or ten pound I'll freely lay down
If there's a noble doctor to be found."

{Enter Doctor.-}


"In walks the noble Doctor, -
travels much in this country, more at home nor I do abroad.
I ain't like these little quee-quack doctors,
and goes about for the good of the country."


"What diseases can'st thee cure, Doctor?"


"All diseases,
Just which my box of pills pleases.
Itch, Stitch, Palsy, and the Gout,
All pains within and pains without."


"Do'st think thee can'st cure this man, Doctor?"


"What's the matter with your man?"


"I think he's got toothache."

Doctor {To Mary} .-

"Bring me my spectacles and pliers and
my box of pills and a little medicine."


"Oh yes, sir."
{Doctor draws tooth after much by-play.}
"He's got him going rolling like a wheel-barrow,
round and round like a grindstone."


"In my box I carry my pills
And in my bottle I carry my smills.
Hand by hand there's no restrain,
Rise up King George and fight again."

K.G. {rising} .-

"Here am I, King George with shining armour bright,
Famous champion, also a worthy knight.
Seven long years in close cave I was kept,
Out of that into prison I leapt.
From out of that into a rock of stones,
There I laid down my grievous bones.
Many a giant did I subdue
WHen I ran the fiery dragon through.
I fought the man at Tollatree, [Note 1]
And still I gained the victory.
First I fought in France,
Second I fought in Spain,
Third I came to Tetbury [Note 2] to fight the Turk again."


"Come in, Molly."

Molly Tinker.-

"My name is not Molly Tinker,
My name is Mary Tinker,
Small-beer drinker.
I told the landlord to his face
The chimbley corner was his place. [Note 3]
My head's so big, my wit's so small,
I've brought my fiddle to please 'ee all.
Ladies and gentlemen my story is ended,
The money-box is well recommended.
Five or six shillings will do us no harm ;
Silver or copper or a drop of beer if we can."


Piggott's notes:

"Dictated to my father by William Kitchener, 1930. Performed up to about 1900. The Mummers wore the usual "dress" of strips of coloured paper etc. over their ordinary clothes, but did not black their faces. The fiddle brought in at the end was a cigar box with a piece of wood stuck on and a string of whipcord. (Compare the 'humpenscrump' from Sapperton, Glos., and 'fiddle' from Kempsford, Glos., noted by R.J.E.Tiddy in The Mummers' Play.)"

Piggott's footnotes:

Note 1: "'You can say what you like, but we always said Tollatree.' WILLIAM KITCHENER."
Note 2: "In Gloucestershire. ? Original source of this version."
Note 3: "Adapted from the folk-song 'When Joan's Ale was New.' Cf. play from Lockinge printed in Folk-Lore, vol.xxxix (1928), pp.271-3."

File History:

2002-02-16 - Scanned & coded by Peter Millington
2021-01-15 - TEI-encoded by Peter Millington
2024-01-15 - Grid Reference corrected by Peter Millington


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