On the Fourth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me
definitely not calling birds. Because they don’t exist, now or ever.
Rather, the Middle Ages had collie or colly birds, or blackbirds—as in black like coal, since colliery meant coal mine (Nugent 2016).
The English actually used both names, “blackbird” and “collie/colly,” but eventually, only “blackbird” was commonly used in America and Australia. The song in these countries then morphed “collie” into “calling,” even though Calling Birds were never a real thing.
But in the spirit of blackbirds on this fourth day, savor a classic black tea.
Here I have English Westminster, one of my go-to’s when I want a solid black tea.
A mix of Assam, Java, and Ceylon, it is strong without being bitter, and makes an ideal breakfast tea.
By the way, if you are wondering why anyone would be gifted with a blackbird, think about the nursery rhyme, Sing a Song of Sixpence, with its “four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie.”
Like the partridge and French hens, this commonly found bird may have been a gift of food; as Nugent (2016) explains:
In times past in Great Britain, pies were a convenient way to serve and eat a meal with the meat, potatoes and any vegetables all cooked together in an easy to handle crust (forks not having been invented at that time, table utensils consisted of knives, spoons and one’s fingers).
Gifts of food remain embedded in our culture—but a terrific black tea will certainly be preferred over those collie birds!
English Westminster tea is available from TeaHaus.
Read earlier posts:
On the Fourth Day of Christmas My True Love Gave to Me . . .
Four calling birds
Three French hens
Two turtle doves
and a Partridge in a pear tree
Source: Nugent, C. “On the fourth day of Christmas,” Hub Pages, December 23, 2016.
Filed under: Musings Tagged: black tea