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Wee Willie Winkie (Mother Goose Club)
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A traditional Scottish nursery rhyme for children. In time, Wee Willie Winkie became the personification of sleep, making sure little children go to bed at the right time. The original "ten o'clock" time was later considered much too late for children to go to bed, so it is often changed to eight.

Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
Upstairs and downstairs, in his nightgown;
Rapping at the window,
crying through the lock,
"Are the children in their beds?
Now it's eight o'clock."

WEE= (Scottish English) Little, small.

NIGHTGOWN= An old-fashioned long dress used for sleeping (see picture).

RAPPING= To knock repeatedly.

LOCK= The keyhole


The original poem was written by William Miller in 1841, in Scottish English, and it was like this:

    Wee Willie Winkie rins through the toon,
    Up stairs an' doon stairs in his nicht-gown,
    Tirlin' at the window, crying at the lock,
    "Are the weans in their bed, for it's now ten o'clock?"

    "Hey, Willie Winkie, are ye comin' ben?
    The cat's singin grey thrums to the sleepin hen,
    The dog's speldert on the floor and disna gie a cheep,
    But here's a waukrife laddie, that wunna fa' asleep."

    Onything but sleep, you rogue, glow'ring like the moon,
    Rattlin' in an airn jug wi' an airn spoon,
    Rumblin', tumblin' roon about, crawin' like a cock,
    Skirlin like a kenna-what, waukenin' sleepin' fock.

    "Hey Willie Winkie, the wean's in a creel,
    Wamblin' aff a bodie's knee like a verra eel,
    Ruggin' at the cat's lug and raveling a' her thrums-
    Hey Willie Winkie – see there he comes."

    Wearit is the mither that has a stoorie wean,
    A wee, stumpie, stousie, that canna rin his lane,
    That has a battle aye wi' sleep afore he'll close an e'e-
    But a kiss frae aff his rosy lips gies strength anew to me.

But soon a standard English version appeared:

    Wee Willie Winkie runs through the town,
    Up stairs and down stairs in his night-gown,
    Tapping at the window, crying at the lock,
    Are the children in their bed, for it's past ten o'clock?

    Hey, Willie Winkie, are you coming in?
    The cat is singing purring sounds to the sleeping hen,
    The dog's spread out on the floor, and doesn't give a cheep,
    But here's a wakeful little boy who will not fall asleep!

    Anything but sleep, you rogue! glowering like the moon,'
    Rattling in an iron jug with an iron spoon,
    Rumbling, tumbling round about, crowing like a cock,
    Shrieking like I don't know what, waking sleeping folk.

    Hey, Willie Winkie – the child's in a creel!
    Wriggling from everyone's knee like an eel,
    Tugging at the cat's ear, and confusing all her thrums
    Hey, Willie Winkie – see, there he comes!"

    Weary is the mother who has a dusty child,
    A small short little child, who can't run on his own,
    Who always has a battle with sleep before he'll close an eye
    But a kiss from his rosy lips gives strength anew to me.


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