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~ By Courtesy of Others ~

 

The Tollund Man Pub Song

Chorus:
Ho, ro, the Tollund bog,
The bog down in the valley-o,
Rare bog, the Tollund bog,
The bog down in the valley-o!

Now in that bog there was a tree,
A rare tree, a Tollund tree,
Tree in the bog, and the bog down in the valley-o!
Chorus

And on that tree there was a branch,
A rare branch, a Tollund branch,
Branch on the tree, and the tree in the bog,
and the bog down in the valley-o!
Chorus

And on that branch there was a limb,
A rare limb, a Tollund limb,
Limb on the branch, and the branch on the tree,
and the tree in the bog, and the bog down in the valley-o!
Chorus

And on that limb there was a noose,
A rare noose, a Tollund noose,
Noose on the limb, and the limb on the branch, and the branch on the tree,
and the tree in the bog, and the bog down in the valley-o!
Chorus

And in that noose there was a man,
A rare man, a Tollund Man,
Man in the noose, and the noose on the limb, and the limb on the branch,
and the branch on the tree, and the tree in the bog, and the bog down in the valley-o!
Chorus

And in that man there was a heart,
A rare heart, a Tollund heart,
Heart in the man, ...
Chorus

And in that heart there was a spear,
A rare spear, a Tollund spear,
Spear in the heart, ...
Chorus

And on that spear there was a point,
A rare point, a Tollund point,
Point on the spear, ...
Chorus

And on that point there was a raven,
A rare raven, a Tollund raven,
Raven on the point, ...
Chorus

And on that raven there was a beak,
A rare beak, a Tollund beak,
Beak on the raven, ...
Chorus

And in that beak there was an eye,
A rare eye, a Tollund eye,
Eye in the beak, ...
Chorus

© Ben Waggoner

Ben Waggoner has translated numerous Old Norse Sagas. His books on Lulu.

Author's notes:

     Have you ever noticed that there aren’t many drinking songs about human sacrifices in early Iron Age Denmark? I’ve decided to step forward to fill this yawning gap in the corpus of global folk music, with this Heathenized version of a classic Irish pub song.

     The original is known as “The Bog Down in the Valley-O” or “The Rattlin’ Bog”—it’s another one of those “pileup songs” in which every verse adds one thing to the previous verse. (It’s a close cousin of “There’s a Hole in the Bottom of the Sea”, which may be more familiar to some readers.) I learned the song from the album “Across the Water” by The Irish Descendants—but there are dozens of recordings out there, with many slightly different versions of the lyrics and tune.

     My lyrics don’t give a very accurate description of the real Tollund Man, who was garroted but not hanged (see P. V. Gløb’s book The Bog People for the details). All the same, I hope I’ve caught the proper Heathen spirit.

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