Of course, I turned to Wikipedia for answers and, to my shock/horror, it IS "colly" birds - originally. A colly bird is another name for a blackbird, apparently. But nowadays most people sing the "calling" bird version.
It got me wondering... perhaps the traditional English version was innocently corrupted by a misheard lyric. I bet it was. It happens all the time.
- I know the lyrics of Rocket Man by Elton John are "Rocket man, burning out his fuse up here alone" but I still sing it the way I misheard it as a kid: "Rocket man, burning up the streets of Babylon!"
- Also, somehow, I thought Michael Jackson was singing "Annie are you Walking?" instead of Annie are you OK?
- I always thought that fabulous driving song by Golden Earring, Radar Love, was actually "Red Hot Love".
- And I never got the big fuss about the Prodigy song, Smack My B**** Up because I always thought they were just saying, "Snap My Picture!"
For years I've happily sung my own special version of hundreds of songs. But my misunderstandings are by no means limited to music. There are plenty of words and phrases I've botched over the years as well:
- Wheel"barrel" instead of wheelbarrow
- "Wreck" and ruin instead of rack and ruin
- "Acrosst" instead of across (I still accidentally say this one sometimes, to Edward's delight)
- Death "nail" instead of death knell (I thought it had to do with a coffin nail or something!)
- Common "old" garden instead of common-or-garden
- "Mis-cheev-i-ous" instead of pronouncing it how it's spelled; mischievous (Edward loves this one too)
- For all "intensive" purposes instead of for all intents and purposes
- "Chester" drawers instead of chest of drawers
- I always thought my dad was saying "hoppy darn" when he said I'll be darned
And here are a few that people have said to me:
- "Corky" instead of quirky
- "Week" hours of the morning instead of wee hours of the morning
- Call a "truths" instead of call a truce
- "Rod" iron instead of wrought iron
- Why Eliza Doolittle wanted to get it together with Professor Higgins! He was so horrible and old! I seriously remember being SHOCKED when my older sister told me that Eliza actually loved Rex. HOW?!! But now I LOVE Rex!
- Why Ichabod Crane never ended up with Katrina in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. I refused to believe that she married Brom Bones!
- How the Smurfs would go on without becoming extinct since there was only one girl to have all the babies!
I was a very confused child. And I wish I could say it stopped there.