Yan Tan Tethera or Counting Sheep


There are approximately 1000 different sheep breeds throughout the world.

Shepherds have various ways of counting their flock of sheep. I could see how counting your flock twice a day could be monotonous enough to put you to sleep.

Yan Tan Tethera is a rhyme used by shepherds to count sheep in many parts of England and in southern Scotland. Until the Industrial Revolution, the use of traditional number systems was common among shepherds. The Yan Tan Tethera system was also used for counting stitches in knitting.

Yan tan tethera pethera pimp
nothing to waste but nothing to skimp.
Lambs and gimmers and wethers and ewes
what do you want with political views?
Keep the glass in your windows clear
where nothing whatever’s bitter but beer.

Yan, tan, tethera, pethera, pimp, are the numbers from one to five in the old sheep-counting sequence of northern England. The language is of celtic origin.


One Response

  1. I always learn something from your posts – they’re great!

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