I'm Not a Pheasant Plucker - an origin story
Nestled in the heart of English folklore lies a quaint, yet bustling village known as Letworth. This village, dating back to the 18th century, is not just any ordinary village; it is the birthplace of one of the most beloved and challenging tongue twisters - the "Pheasant Plucker."
The Original Tongue Twister
I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's son, But I'll keep on plucking pheasants 'Till the pheasant plucker comes.
This rhyme, a playful challenge of verbal dexterity, has its roots intertwined with the story of Tom Fletcher, fondly known as "Fletcher the Pheasant Plucker." Tom, a gamekeeper by profession, was renowned throughout Letworth for his exceptional speed and skill in plucking pheasants.
It was during one of the village's grand pheasant festivals that a wandering bard, Elias, captivated by Tom's rhythmic plucking, composed this catchy rhyme. The locals, enamored by this wordplay, found it to be a source of endless amusement, especially in the taverns after a pint or two.
The Extended Version
I'm not a pheasant plucker, I'm a pheasant plucker's mate, And I'm only plucking pheasants 'cause the pheasant plucker's late. Plucking pheasants is a pleasure when the pheasant plucker's near, But when pheasants pluck at pheasants, then the plucking's rather queer. So, if I'm plucking pheasants, where the pleasant pheasants roam, I'll pluck enough for supper till the pheasant plucker's home. And when the pheasant plucker comes, we'll pluck them side by side, Through pleasant plains and pheasant fields where pheasants love to hide.
These additional lines not only add to the complexity but also paint a vivid picture of the pheasant-plucking tradition that supposedly inspired the original verse.
As with many elements of folklore, the truth behind the origin of the "Pheasant Plucker" tongue twister is shrouded in mystery. However, the story of Tom Fletcher and the Letworth village festival offers a charming and plausible backdrop to this linguistic challenge. It's a tale of skill, a poet's whimsy, and the vibrant culture of a small English village that has transcended time and geography, tickling the tongues of generations worldwide.
Whether you're a seasoned linguist or a casual wordsmith, the "Pheasant Plucker" tongue twister is sure to provide a delightful challenge. So, the next time you find yourself amidst friends and family, try reciting this tongue twister. Who knows, you might just find yourself transported to the lively taverns of Letworth, sharing in the same mirth and merriment that birthed this classic wordplay.