Who gave me all of this crap?

Have you ever wondered about those gifts from the song “The 12 Days of Christmas”?

And since the lines repeat, does that mean that on Day 1, the lover gave a Partridge in a Pear Tree, and on Day 2, gave Two Turtle Doves and yet another Partridge in a Pear Tree, etc, etc, ad infinitum on down the line?

And I know I’ve seen some humorous thing regarding this – about getting sick of all the birds, the extra people around the house, the noise, the mess, etc. And filing a restraining order.

But, since I am not the type to leave well enough alone – I simply had to take my own twisted look at that lovely song. Most of us have probably heard or read some version of that parody/humor/whatever piece, and I decided it was time to look not at the gifts themselves, but at the aftermath of the gifts. Assuming that the gifts do, indeed repeat, here is my own take of “After the 12 Days of Christmas”. And so without further ado, here it is, my look at the sheer numbers represented.

The basic math:

The gift from Day one was received 12 times, and the gift from Day 12 was received only one time. So, the formula:

Number of times the gift was received X the number of items listed as the gift = Total items.

1 x 12 = 12 Drummers Drumming

2 x 11 = 22 Pipers Piping

3 x 10 = 30 Lords a-leaping

4 x 9 = 36 Ladies Dancing

5 x 8 = 40 Maids a-Milking

6 x 7 = 42 Swans a-Swimming

7 x 6 = 42 Geese a-Laying

8 x 5 = 40 Golden Rings

9 x 4 = 36 Calling Birds

10 x 3 = 30 French Hens

11 x 2 = 22 Turtle Doves

12 x 1 = 12 Partridges in Pear Trees


And the counts:

140 people (12+22+30+36+40)

184 Birds (42+42+36+30+22+12)

40 Golden Rings (40)

40 Cows or Goats (40 Maids a-Milking have to be milking something)

294 Goose Eggs (42 Geese a-Laying are laying at least one egg each per day for 7 days of the song – this number would obviously increase over time – unless you cook the geese, always a smart option.)

Unknown quantity of Pears (after all, 12 pear trees have to be producing SOME amount of fruit – but I am not familiar with how much a single pear tree would produce in a given amount of time.)

Unknown quantities of milk (those cows or goats being milked by the maids are producing some sort of product, right?)

This is of course not taking into account the 22 pipes being played, 12 drums being drummed, the lake, pond or tub for all those swimming swans and all of the cages or pens for the various bird life, not to mention the activity of the leaping lords and dancing ladies.

It is also not taking into account the amorous activities of any of the various bird life, and their potential offspring. Though we know there won’t be any geese or cows/goats, since they’re all girls (Since male geese do not lay eggs, last time I checked.) That still leaves the potential swans, calling birds, French hens, turtle doves and perhaps partridges. Please note, I said nothing of the critters being milked, since once again, they must all be of the female variety.

Oh yes, I’ve overlooked one gift item. The 40 golden rings, which had better be very large and weighty indeed in order to offset the cost of dealing with all the other junk.

So, what does one do with such an abundance of wealth?

You could argue that you could cook the birds to feed the people, though with 184 birds and 140 people, this would not work for long. You could cook the cows or goats, but again – that will only last for so long (and since, like the geese, they are not reproducing, they are not a renewable resource.)

The smart recipient would therefore:

~Promptly dismiss all of the people from service – ridding themselves of the need to support 140 hungry mouths, only 40 of which are really employed in any productive activity (I realize that piping and drumming are jobs, but…)

~Sell all but two of the cows or goats, keeping one to be butchered and one to be milked. (OK, you might retain one of those Maids a-Milking for this purpose.)

~Prepare and freeze about half of the edible poultry, if you like goose eggs, keep a couple for laying, and sell the remaining poultry.

~Plant a pear tree or two and sell the rest.

~Keep the gold rings you like and sell the remainder

Did I forget anything?

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