Howc many Patridges in Pear Trees did his/her True Love get?

This one has bugged me for a long time, and it;s appropriate for the season.

Did His/her True Love just get one Partridge in a Pear Tree every single one of the Twelve Days of Christmas, or did they just get one the first day, and they just sang about it for twelve days? (They would’ve gotten 22 turtledoves, 30 French Hens, 36 Calling Birds, etc. Or, the other way, only 2, 3, and 4. Either way, it’s a lot of birds. It sounds like the kind of giving you’d do for someone who was really your True Hate.)

I say she got 12 partridges. It gets mentioned as being given to her each day of the 12.

I’ve always enjoyed this little gem of how the recipient really felt.

On the first day, one partridge in one pear tree.

On the second day, two turtle doves *and *one partridge in one pear tree.


My mother actually uses this as a busywork assignment for her sixth graders: how many gifts all together. The dumb ones start adding 1+1+2+1+2+3… the smart ones go (112) + (211) + (3*10)…

The really obnoxious ones, like me, add on another 12 for the trees and 40 for the cows that come with the maids-a-milking. :smiley:

I tend to interpret it the first way, i.e.:
On the second day of Christmas, my true love sent to me: Two turtle doves and [I still also have] a partridge in a pear tree…

But that’s probably just me.

well, that would actually be the second way, as it’s written in my OP.

But who’s counting?


Just the one, imho. She says in each verse what he gave her that day, and then reiterates the gifts she’s already gotten on previous days.

Maybe there were no cows; maybe the maids were just lactating.

In any case, I can see both interpretations, but I prefer to think that she got only one partridge + tree, two doves, three hens, etc, altogether. One kind of gift each day.

I don’t see the ambiguity. It’s very clear.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. She quite obviously got 12 partridges, 22 doves, 30 French hens, and so forth.

The really smart ones do half the calculations and double the result, realizing that after you get halfway through it starts duplicating (1x12 is the same as 12x1, 2x11 is the same as 11x2, and so forth).

Woah. I wonder if any of her students ever realized that? I’ll email her and ask.

The most of anything you get is 42. Don’t build an Earth to figure out why. :stuck_out_tongue:

There was a movie of this done once. The sight of the Victorian house filled with 42 geese, 40 maids milking, etc., was priceless.

12 partridges, one each of the days.

It’d be better with the correct dates. :slight_smile:

Do the 12 Days start on Christmas? I guess I always assumed that Christmas was Day 12.

And the really smart ones go (12 + 1)*6.

Christmas is day one. Day 12 is epiphany, also known as little christmas. That was the day we took down our tree.

Not quite. Day 13 would be Jan. 6, the Feast of the Epiphany.

Unfortunately, true love never lasts! :smiley:

Wouldn’t that suggest they were or had recently been pregnant, contradicting the “maid” label?

Unless it’s Mary and her seven virgin Messiah-bearing sisters, or something.

Kinda like what Karl Friedrich Gauss was alleged to have done as a tyke, when given a busy-work assignment: add all the integers from 1 to 1000.

He thought for a second, wrote down a formula, and turned in the right answer.

1 + 2 + 3…+ 1000 = x

1000 + 999 + 998…+1 = x

So, 2x = 1001 + 1001 + 1001 …(1000 times) = 1,001,000. x= 500,500.

x[sup]3[/sup] + 3x[sup]2[/sup] + 2x

That’s the formula.

The answer is 364