Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

QUERY: Whistle-making rhymes

J.B. Smith seeks information on rhymes recited by children when making whistles.

In his Glossary of Words and Phrases of Furness (North Lancashire), 1869, J.P. Morris recorded:

After the small branches [of willow, Salix] are cut into proper form the the bark is notched round with a knife, it is then beat on the knee with the knife haft, and the following lines are repeated:
Sip sap, sip sap,
Willie, Willie, Whitecap.

Versions of similar rhymes would be greatly appreciated.

I’m not sure if this is relevant, but in January 1999 I received a note from Horley, Surrey:
‘My reminiscences from the war years, 1939-46, when I would have been aged 7-13 and being cared for by my grandparents in Aberdeen … The pastime which was a favourite in the region was to make whistles in the manner made famous in the poem ‘He cut a sappy sooker frae a muckle rodden tree’ … Although the poem refers to the rowan [Sorbus aucuparia], as I recall it was possible to make whistles from other straight-stemmed trees while the sap was rising, particularly elder [Sambucus nigra].’ [RV, 13 December 2011].

Image: goat willow, Salix caprea; C.A.M. Lindman (1856-1928).

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