In A Cottage In A Wood

I’ve heard it said, “If you can’t play with words you’ll never be able to work with words.” The same might be said of songs: “If you can’t play with songs you’ll never be able to work with songs.” In any case, on this song site we have done a lot work with a lot of very serious songs dealing with a lot of very important topics. Let’s play a little. Please give this song a sing-along listen, then we’ll talk seriously about having a little fun.

We risk being dull

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” Wikipedia says this saying “is a proverb that means that without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring. The exact origins of the phrase remain unclear, though it was recorded as early as 1659.”

Scottish author Samuel Smiles played with this and crafted this warning, “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. But all play and no work makes hims something worse.”

Well played!

American humorist Evan Esar sums it all up for us with this bright thought: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy — and Jill a rich widow.”

What is the point here? Feel free to discover that for yourself. I’m busy playing.

How well does your family play?

In her book “Strong Families Strong People” my wonderful wife shares a story about a time she and our brilliant oldest daughter were fussing with each other. Instead of laying down the law, it occurred to Mom that it had been too long since they just played together. Mom shifted gears, and the results were marvelous. Watch her tell the story:

A note about our song from Shakespeare

Wood or woods? Shouldn’t the cottage be in a “woods”? Why is the cottage in a “wood”? Paul Bunyan, the famous lumberjack whose blue ox, Babe, put Minnesota on the map, would no doubt say it should be “woods”. But we have Shakespeare in our corner. Shakespeare, in Macbeth, referred to a woods as a wood. If it was good enough for him, it is good enough for a little rabbit seeking shelter in a cottage. Further, I think this is good evidence to support my theory that our song was actually written by Shakespeare. (I can also report discovering that “wood” can refer to a specific area within a “woods”. So there you have it.)

While we are nitpicking words, let me jump all over another concern you might have before you bring it up yourself: shoot or shoots? On what English-speaking planet would we write “he shoot” and not get a red mark on our paper? Isn’t it supposed to be “he shoots”? Faithful readers who have read others of these song site pages will leap up and yell, “This is the subjunctive mood! Shoot it is!” I rest my case — the mood shall be subjunctive. Play with words, work with words. The circle is complete. The circle remains unbroken.

As a footnote (and, yes, I know someone who can play footnotes on a shoe horn) let me mention that our brilliant younger daughter, a teacher, introduced this song to her elementary students. Much to her chagrin, the boys loved this song because it hinted of violence and mayhem. Boys will be boys, and results vary. But I wish I had known then what I now am sure is true — that this song must certainly have been written by Shakespeare. Had my daughter known that, she might have steered the lads’ thinking to loftier literary heights by pointing out that — just as in Shakespeare’s play — it may truly be said of this song, “All’s Well That Ends Well”.

Looking for my Dad’s Jokes book and wishing you rest in your work and your play.

God bless you lots,
–Dale R.


Download this song sheet free from “The Music Box”

LYRICS: In A Cottage In A Wood

In a cottage in a wood
Little man by the window stood
Saw a rabbit hopping by
Knocking at the door
“Help me help me help!,” he said
“Ere the hunter shoot me dead”
Little rabbit come inside
Safely to abide.

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Please share your thoughts and ideas on finding rest in work and in play

2 Replies to “In A Cottage In A Wood”

  1. Julia M Witchard

    Good early morning Mr Dale, what an amazing thought. “All work and no play” ,can turn one’s world upside down, .. seems like u had no problem, playing with that song.. because it is so real, that’s what a lot of us do, work,work and more work,, tell me Mr Dale, who has time to play, after a hard day of work, it didn’t seem like u had a problem playing and that playful song ; u played it well,, and ms Cathy what an awesome topic…HOW WELL DOES FAMILIES PLAY TOGETHER,…. u are so right ms Cathy,…I will say, WELL SPOKEN, Ms Cathy, ….u and Dale, are so blessed to have each other, so love each other’s daily, and if u have a busy day ,….ms Cathy,… go back to this song ,Mr, Dale, played with, and your day will be, hilarious.. just saying, A FAMILY THAT PRAYS TOGETHER…STAYS TOGETHER… LOVE 💘 U BOTH…..

    Reply

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