I can tell you how the world begun (3),
Nine tailors make a man.
The tailor were sat at work (3),
Picked a louse off his shirt.
With his needle he made a sword (3),
Stabbed the louse on the board.
With his bodkin he made a gun (3),
Shot the louse as he run.
With his scissors he made some shears (3),
Snipped off the louse's ears.
With his thimble he made a bell (3),
Run the louse into hell.
abc | midi | pdf
Source: Palmer, Roy, 1998, A Book of British Ballads, Llanerch
Roy Palmer wrote:
This high-spirited, mock-heroic squib hits a common mark in folklore, the tailor. One wonders, however, whether it is also legitimate to read it as a satire on militarism. The ballad is rare: only one full version exists, apart from the one, which comes from Sam Bennet (1865-1951) of Ilmington, Warwickshire. However, it is very close to the better-known 'Tailor and Louse'.
The song comes from the Carpenter Collection.
Roud: 16577 (Search Roud index at VWML) Take Six