April 22, 2006

Ladybird Ladybird...

Ladybird Ladybird...
Originally uploaded by Cathy G.
In Medieval England farmers would set torches to the old hop (used in flavouring beer) vines after the harvest in order to clear the fields for the next planting.

This poem was sung as a warning to the ladybirds that were still crawling on the vines in search of aphids. The ladybirds' children (larvae) could get away from the flames, but the pupae, referred to as "Nan" in some versions, were fastened to the plants and thus could not escape.

Pupae are the larvae when they have formed a cocoon and are changing into adults. "Nan" was originally an affectionate form of the name "Ann" (but it is now generally used as a short form of "Nancy").

Ladybird, ladybird fly away home,
Your house is on fire and your children are gone,
All except one,
And her name is Ann,
And she hid under the frying pan.

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