Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Cottleston Pie, A Illustrated Poem (and singable, too!)

Posted on: August 22, 2010

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COTTLESTON PIE book sbwe cover only

COTTLESTON PIE
Poem by A. A. Milne
Music by Harold Fraser-Simson

Sing-along, here:

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Pooh sings “Cottleston Pie” in Chapter 6 (In Which Eeyore Has a Birthday and Gets Two Presents) of WINNIE-the-POOH.  Pooh has just met up with Eeyore who greets him with a confounding conversation, so Pooh decides to sit down and sing:

Cottleson Pie
Poem by  A. A. Milne
Set to Music by Harold Fraser-Simson

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fish can’t whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie
.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken? I don’t know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

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COTTLESTON PIE IN WINNIE THE POOH

From my copy of WINNIE THE POOH, the subject of Pooh’s song COTTLESTON PIE arises from a conversation Pooh has with Eyore, who is depressed, as usual, when Pooh comes across him in the wood:

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Pooh Cottleston Pie book 1

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Pooh Cottleston Pie book 2

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COTTLESTON PIE is one of my very favorite songs.
Adding to the charm, the sheet music is wonderfully introduced by A. A. Milne:

I love how A. A. Milne  sets the song up in THE POOH SONGBOOK, suggesting what would inspire Pooh to sing COTTLESTON PIE:

This is a song which you sing when anybody says anything which you don’t quite understand.  You could say “What?” or “I beg your pardon,” but Pooh always used to sing COTTLESTON PIE, which is a song he made up for singing when his brain felt fluffy.

I also love that when Rolf sings the song on The Muppet Show, he uses some of A. A. Milne’s set-up in his own set-up.  Very charming.

In fact, Rowlf is actually doing just as A. A. Milne asked in the  tremendously charming 1930 introduction A. A. Milne wrote for the book, “The Hums of Pooh.”  Mr. Milne requests, “…perhaps it would be as well if you too, when you sing these songs in public, were first to read aloud these little explantions…”

He ends his introduction to “The Pooh Songbook,” and “Hums of Pooh,” by writing,

And, finally, to those same dear friends…may I say, “Thank you for having loved [Pooh].”  He will be very proud if you sing his songs, and so keep him for ever in your memory.

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Rowlf the Dog sings COTTLESTON PIE on THE MUPPET SHOW

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Rowlf the Dog sings “Cottleston Pie” (poem by A. A. Milne)  The Muppet Show, Season One, Episode 7 , with guest star Florence Henderson.

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Here is a link to a synopsis/guide of The Muppet Show, Season 1, Episode 7 (including information about Rowlf the Dog singing “Cottleston Pie”):
http://www.muppetcentral.com/guides/episodes/tms/season1/7_henderson.shtml

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When I was a kid, I loved singing this song along with Rowlf the Dog on the Muppet Show Cast Album.

Cottleston Pie” is the 6th song on the Original Muppet Show Album.

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COTTLESTON PIE pops up in Pooh books and compilations of Children’s Poetry,

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Winnie-the-Pooh
Written by A. A. Milne
Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard

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The Everyman Book of Nonsense Verse
Poems by Various Artists
Illustrated by Various Artists
(“Cottleston Pie” by A. A. Milne is printed on p. 212)

The music for “Cottleston Pie” is printed in,

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The Pooh Songbook
Words by A. A. Milne
Music by H. Fraser-Simson
Illustrated by E. H. Shepard

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The Hums of Pooh
Poems by A. A. Milne
Music by Harold Fraser-Simson
Illustrated by E. H. Shepard

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Addendum, November 29, 2012

COTTLESTON PIE
Poem by A. A. Milne
Music by H. Fraser-Simson
Sung by Emily with an extra little happy birthday verse at the end
In honor of James Fitzpatrick’s birthday (to whom I still owe a rendition of “James James Morrison Morrison”)
Click here to sing-along with Emily:
http://soundcloud.com/singbookswithemily/cottleston-pie-with-bday-wish

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fly can’t bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fish can’t whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken? I don’t know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Today is your birthday and I will try
To wish you a happy one by and by
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

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Addendum, March 21, 2013

It is fun to have little songs in one’s pocket for singing when one might be feeling a little blue (or when, like Pooh, your brain feels fuzzy).  It’s also fun to have these songs when a little interlude between longer more expansive songs. So, I decided it was high time to make a poster for singing one of my favorite little songs:

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COTTLESTON PIE little song sheet sbwe
COTTLESTON PIE
Poem by A. A. Milne
Music by Harold Fraser-Simson
To view or print this sheet, click here:
COTTLESTON PIE little song sheet sbwe

Sing-along, here:

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Addendum, 6/1/2015

I’ve been a collector of inspirational quotes for as long as I can remember.  For a time in high school, I took over a room in our family basement and filled an old blackboard with quotes.  Later, I created and sold notebooks filled the rainbow colored papers that were printed with quotes to inspire journal writing.  Recently, started collecting up quotes on one of my blogs for the purpose of fulfilling my hope to inspire and enrich my children to be marvelous citizens of the world:

LISTEN UP: WORDS OF WISDOM, QUOTES OF NOTE, GOOD ADVICE
https://smartthinkingfromsmartpeople.wordpress.com/2015/05/24/listen-up-words-of-wisdom-quotes-of-note-good-advice/

I also keep a Pinterest Page of Memes with quotes that I like:

THOUGHTFUL INSPIRATIONS
https://www.pinterest.com/singbooksemily/thoughtful-inspirations/

It was one of the memes that got me thinking this morning:
genius fish tree meme edit
http://zenpencils.com/comic/albert-einstein-everybody-is-a-genius/

Everybody is a genius.  But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Many memes attribute this quote to Albert Einstein and I wondered if it was true.  Googling for info, one finds that the Quote Investigator site looked into it and found that there is no evidence that Albert Einstein said it.
http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/04/06/fish-climb/

Quote investigator, however, does a very nice job analyzing the quote.  The quote is a good and useful one and the author being mis-attributed does not detract from the quality of the idea behind it.

This is what lead me to think about COTTLESTON PIE.  Pooh sings, “a fish can’t whistle and neither can I…”  Pooh is saying very much what the genius quote says, a fish doesn’t need to be able to whistle to be a genius at swimming.  Pooh doesn’t need to have certain abilities (that could be used compare or rate worth, value or validity of one to another) in order to be a genius at the things at which Pooh is a genius.  In other words, Pooh is perfect, valid and marvelous exactly the way he is.  And so am I.  And so are you.  We rate and compare ourselves to others when what we should really do is spend our time becoming the best that we can possibly be, nurturing and cultivating the brilliant talents that are uniquely ours (which reminds me of the Martha Graham quote, #2 on my LISTEN UP list).

I was once in a class when the fantastic cabaret composer, arranger, singer, songwriter, performer and pianist Rick Jensen said, “Each person has something special to bring to a song that no one else can bring.”  This means to me that each person, regardless of technical ability, has something wonderful, valuable, priceless, important and brilliant to share in the context of the story they are sharing through a song.

I think Pooh is saying this in COTTLESTON PIE, also.  Every being is a genius.  We should respect that within ourselves and about others, too.

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Plus a little something I made to help me sing the song to the kids:

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COTTLESTON PIE book sbwe cover only

COTTLESTON PIE
Poem by A. A. Milne
Music by Harold Fraser-Simson

Sing-along, here:

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COTTLESTON PIE, What on earth does it mean?

Eloise wanted to know, What is COTTLESTON PIE supposed to mean?

So I went looking around a little…and stumbled on the book, THE TAO OF POOH (by Benjamin Hoff), which I had read and enjoyed many years ago.  THE TAO OF POOH has a whole chapter devoted to COTTLESTON PIE and it is worth a read for a sweetly deep interpretation of the song.

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Urban Dictionary summarizes ideas from TAO OF POOH (by Benjamin Hoff) that Cottleston Pie is one’s Inner Nature
http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Cottlestone%20Pie

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Related Posts

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A. A. MILNE

Almost all Pooh and Poetry by A. A. Milne and Illustrated by E. H. Shepard is Singable!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/05/04/a-few-favorite-singable-books-the-world-of-a-a-milne/

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POETRY SINGABLE POETRY IN COMPILATIONS

An list of  singable poems from compilations of poetry for children
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/17/singable-poetry-a-list-of-poems-that-can-be-sung-from-illustrated-compilations-of-poetry-and-singable-picture-books/

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POETRY, SINGABLE POETRY IN INDIVIDUALLY ILLUSTRATED SINGABLE PICTURE BOOKS
A list of individually illustrated poems that have been set to music and can be sung
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/04/20/poems-individually-illustrated-spb/

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EDUCATIONAL CONTENT

A list of SPBs with fun and sneakily educational content.  The kids won’t even know they’re learning!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/08/15/singable-picture-books-with-sneaky-educational-content/

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Cottleston Pie (with extra happy birthday verse for a friend)
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2012/12/01/cottleston-pie-with-extra-happy-birthday-verse-for-a-friend/

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COTTLESTON PIE, A SINGABLE ILLUSTRATED POEM
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2010/08/22/cottleston-pie-a-illustrated-poem-and-singable-too/

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SING-ALONG RESOURCES AND PRINTABLE MATERIALS
This is the place to find Print Materials Created by Emily, Service Providers, Vendors, Audio and Video to help you SING-ALONG!
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/sing-along-resources-2/

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A Singable Poster for One of My Favorite Little Songs: Cottleston Pie
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2013/03/22/a-singable-poster-for-one-of-my-favorite-little-songs-cottleston-pie/

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Cottleston Pie Update, May 2014

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MUPPETS
ILLUSTRATED SONGS OF THE MUPPETS
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2014/11/04/illustrated-songs-of-the-muppets/

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Cottleston Pie and the quote about the fish climbing a tree…
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/cottleston-pie-and-the-quote-about-the-fish-climbing-a-tree/

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