APF Chapter 5: Thoughts and Themes [Prev Page] [Index] [Next Page]


The one song that all Discworld fans will be familiar with, is of course Nanny Ogg's favourite ballad: 'The Hedgehog Can Never Be Buggered At All' (see also the annotation for p. 36 of Wyrd Sisters ).

I will start this section with the complete text to the song that might have been the prototype for the hedgehog-song -- except that it wasn't. It can be found in Michael Green's book Why Was He Born So Beautiful and Other Rugby Songs (1967, Sphere UK), it is called 'The Sexual Life of the Camel', it probably dates back to the 1920s/30s, and it goes:

The carnal desires of the camel
Are stranger than anyone thinks,
For this passionate but perverted mammal
has designs on the hole of the Sphinx,
But this deep and alluring depression
Is oft clogged by the sands of the Nile,
Which accounts for the camel's expression
And the Sphinx's inscrutable smile.

In the process of Syphilization
From the anthropoid ape down to man
It is generally held that the Navy
Has buggered whatever it can.
Yet recent extensive researches
By Darwin and Huxley and Ball
Conclusively prove that the hedgehog
Has never been buggered at all.

And further researches at Oxford
Have incontrovertibly shown
That comparative safety on shipboard
Is enjoyed by the hedgehog alone.
But, why haven't they done it at Spithead,
As they've done it at Harvard and Yale
And also at Oxford and Cambridge
By shaving the spines off its tail!

The annoying thing about the hedgehog song is of course that Terry only leaks us bits and pieces of it, but certainly never enough material to deduce a complete text from. So alt.fan.pratchett readers decided to write their own version of the song, which is available on the L-space Web.

The first version of the song was written and posted by Matthew Crosby (who tried to incorporate all the lines mentioned in the Discworld novels), after which the text was streamlined and many verses were added by other readers of the newsgroup. Currently we have thirteen verses, which makes the song a bit too long to include here in its entirety.

Nevertheless, I thought it would be fun to show what we've come up with, so I have compromised and chosen to reproduce just my own favourite verses:

Bestiality sure is a fun thing to do
But I have to say this as a warning to you:
With almost all animals, you can have ball
But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.

The spines on his back are too sharp for a man
They'll give you a pain in the worst place they can
The result I think you'll find will appall:
The hedgehog can never be buggered at all!

Mounting a horse can often be fun
An elephant too; though he weighs half a ton
Even a mouse (though his hole is quite small)
But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.

A fish is refreshing, although a bit wet
And a cat or a dog can be more than a pet
Even a giraffe (despite being so tall)
But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.

You can ravish a sloth but it would take all night
With a shark it is faster, but the darned beast might bite
We already mentioned the horse, you may recall
But the hedgehog can never be buggered at all.

Finally, we come to the old drinking song mentioned in the annotation for p. 82 of Eric : 'The Ball of Kerrymuir'. This song can, coincidentally enough, also be found in Michael Green's Why Was He Born So Beautiful and Other Rugby Songs. That version appears to have the dirty words replaced by rows of asterisks -- a rather useless form of editorial restraint, since in this particular case it means the song now contains more asterisks than normal alphabetic characters. Enter alt.fan.pratchett correspondent Tony D'Arcy, who was kind enough to fax me an uncensored copy of the song. 'The Ball of Kerrymuir' has 43 verses, a small subset of which I now reproduce for your reading pleasure, just to give you a feel for the song. From here on down this section of the APF is rated X.

Oh the Ball, the Ball of Kerrymuir,
Where your wife and my wife,
Were a-doing on the floor.

Balls to your partner,
Arse against the wall.
If you never get fucked on a Saturday night
You'll never be fucked at all.

There was fucking in the kitchen
And fucking in the halls
You couldn't hear the music for
The clanging of the balls.

Now Farmer Giles was there,
His sickle in his hand,
And every time he swung around
He circumcised the band.

Jock McVenning he was there
A-looking for a fuck,
But every cunt was occupied
And he was out of luck.

The village doctor he was there
He had his bag of tricks,
And in between the dances,
He was sterilising pricks.

And when the ball was over,
Everyone confessed:
They all enjoyed the dancing,
but the fucking was the best.

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