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Tom the piper's son

Posted by Victoria S Dennis on April 11, 2006

In Reply to: Tom the piper's son posted by Smokey Stover on April 11, 2006

: : : Can you please tell me the origin of the pub name "Pig and Whistle"

: : "Tom, Tom the Piper's Son
: : Stole a pig and away did run"

: : a whistle is a woodwind instrument - as in "penny-whistle" - a pig is just a pig, unless it gets the chop and then it is bacon.

: : L

: No doubt this is completely irrelevant, but here's more about Tom, this time a song.

: Oh, Tom he was a piper's son,
: He learned to play when he was young,
: But all the tune that he could play
: Was "Over the hills and far away."
: Over the hills and a long way off,
: The wind will blow your top-knot off.
: SS
There are two plausible explanations. One is that it derives from the phrase "pigs and whistles", meaning "fragments or trivialities, and the related "to go to pigs and whistles" which in the 17th century meant "to fall apart, to go to rack and ruin". Another is that it derives from the very old slang term "whistle" meaning the throat (as in "wet your whistle") and "pig" meaning an earthenware drinking vessel.