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The Birds

by on November 23, 2015

Ever have one of those days where it feels like the stars in their courses are fighting against you? Today was such a day. I did not get writing done.  I did, however, develop a relatively new theory about the Twelve Days of Christmas song, which I heard on a local radio station that has switched to an all-Christmas format. My theory is that the “true love” of the song is a crazed millionaire ornithologist.

First, consider how many gifts this guy offers. I am assuming that he isn’t just buying one set, i.e., one partridge, two turtledoves, etc. The song is quite clear in that the gifts are cumulative. He bought one tree-partridge the first day, another the second (this makes two), another the third (three), and so on. I found a website that did the math on all the gifts: 364. That’s quite a lot. And it’s quite expensive. Last year, according to the Christmas Price Index, the full cost of the gifts was $116,273.08. So we know our true lover is comfortably well off, at the very least.

But, then, consider the nature of these gifts. Consider how many of them are birds. Twelve partridges. Twenty-two turtledoves. And so on. I counted up myself how many total birds there are, from geese to French hens. I excluded the golden rings; while I’ve heard there’s a theory that suggests these are actually ring-necked pheasants, I prefer the obvious. So, in all, the true love gives … 184 birds. One hundred and eighty-four. That is quite a lot of birds. Not to mention 40 maids a-milking (presumably the cows are included, unless they’re milking the birds) and a marching band and ballet set. But still, almost two hundred birds. Birds of multiple species, no less. This guy knows his birds. He probably has some credentials in the area. Perhaps he owns an aviary.

Also, I think the guy’s a little nuts. Who gives their true love 184 birds? Why would you think that would help the relationship? Are all those birds housebroken? How do you feed that many? And, to quote Mr. Dawes from Mary Poppins, if you feed the birds, do you know what you get? FAT BIRDS.

I leave that problem to your imaginations. In closing, I would suggest that 184 birds is not a good Christmas present for anyone. You know what’s good? Gift cards. That’s a classic.


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  1. what about all the PEOPLE? what is the loved one supposed to do with them all? feed them? house them? @_@ That’s a lot of uninvited guests.

    • A lot of uninvited noisy guests, considering you’ve got 12 drummers and 22 pipers in the mix. Plus all the leaping lords. Are these British lords? Why are British lords leaping? Are we talking Prince Harry doing acrobatics here or what?

      • And are they leaping about CONTINUOUSLY? that seems a recipe for disaster–and spilled tea!

  2. I enjoyed this little pre-Christmas thought process

  3. This was funny! I’d say a gift card is way better than birds 🙂

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