Did the Rum do and What Will You do When the Kettle Boils Over?

Play recording: Did the Rum do and What Will You do When the Kettle Boils Over?

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  • Teideal (Title): Did the Rum do and What Will You do When the Kettle Boils Over?
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 855203.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 3051.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Warren Fahey.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 1976.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): Sydney Opera House, Australia.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): concert.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

This man had three daughters. Their mother was dead. They were the apples of his eye, and he was the apple of their eye. And they always looked after him as a daughter should look after a father. And one night he came home, feeling awful bad. And the daughters put their three heads together and said, ‘Daddy doesn’t feel well today. What are we going to do with him?’ So the decided the best thing to do, to make him a glass of punch, and put him into bed. So they got the biggest glass they could find in the house, and they filled up to there with rum. A spoon of sugar, and a spoon of boiling water, and they topped it off with — rum. And they gave it to him in the bed. And the following morning he was jumping on the top of the stair. And the oldest daughter came up to him and said, ‘Did the rum do?’ — that means, did the rum do the job? Did the rum do. And the second daughter came up and she said, ‘Did the rum do, Da?’ And the youngest girl came up and she said, ‘Did the rum do, Daddy?’ And he started tapping his feet, like that:

Ditherum-doo, ditherum-doo, ditherum-doo-dah-dee
Ditherum-doo, ditherum-doo, ditherum-doo-dah-dee
[continues lilting]

What will you when the kettle boils over?
What will you but fill it again!
What will you when you marry a soldier?
What would you do but follow his gun.
What will you do when he dies on the ocean?
What will you do but marry again.
What will you do when the cow eats the clover?
What would you do but set it again.


D’imigh an sioc1 and the frost is all over
Kitty move over, lie next to the wall!


God bless you again, and good night!


1. ‘The frost went’; that is, ‘the frost is gone’. This couplet has nothing to do with ‘what will you do…?’ but everything to do with the jig-tune to which it is sung.

This is an excellent performance of a standard item from Joe’s concert repertoire. On many occasions, he added the remark that the story explained how tunes were often composed. As here, he often used it to end a programme.

The jigs lilted are The Dingle Regatta and The Frost Is All Over.

We are grateful to Warren Fahey, who promoted and recorded the concert from which this entry was taken, for allowing us to use this recording. The concert can be heard in its entirety on his website.