25 December 2011

12 Days of Christmas, part II

If for some reason, your mentally gifted wonder-of-the-world (at least in his/her own valuation) is bored, why not challenge the 8th wonder to find out just how much it would cost in today's currency to fulfill the terms of the carol "Twelve Days of Christmas".

So on Day 1, find the cost of one partridge and one pear tree.  Don't forget shipping costs and feed. If the partridge is alive, you might need to factor in the cost of a cage.  If you live in a cold climate, factor in a place to keep the pear tree.

Day 2: the cost of two turtle doves (with their cage - they only need one), and one partridge (with its cage), and one pear tree, plus shipping and feed.

Day 3: the cost of three French hens (Cajun hens from Louisiana might do in a pinch), with shipping and feed.  They won't need a cage, but if you don't have suitable accommodations for them, add the cost of renting part of a farm-yard. And everything from Day 2.

Day 4: the cost of four blackbirds (colley birds), plus a cage for them, shipping and feed.  Shipping might be moot if you have a well-attended bird feeder in your yard and are capable of capturing the free-loaders.  Add everything from Day 3.

Day 5: the cost of five ring-necked pheasants (five gold rings), although since most people think the verse refers to jewelry, you can substitute rings instead.  Make sure they are gold.  And of course, everything from Day 4, again.

Day 6: up to now, I don't know that it matters much if the birds are alive or merely look it (if they merely look it, then cages are moot), but here the rules change.  The cost of six geese a-laying (remember your biology, they're females, and if they are a-laying, they are probably short-tempered), plus nesting boxes for them to be a-laying in, plus everything from Day 5.  Need to rent more farm-yard?

Day 7: more fowl.  The cost of seven swans a-swimming, and since they are a-swimming, factor in the cost of something they can a-swim in (possibly the farm-yard has a pond).  Plus everything from Day 6.

Day 8: the cost of eight maids a-milking.  Plus eight cows to milk.  Up until now, the feed has been for the birds.  Factor in the cost of hay for the cows along with shipping, and travel expenses, accommodations and meals for the maids for 5 days.  And everything again from Day 7.

Day 9: the cost of nine ladies dancing.  Depending on how you view your female acquaintance (do they merit the title 'lady'?), you might be able to fill this one at little cost.  Otherwise, travel expenses, accommodations, and meals for 4 days.  Also, the cost of renting a hall or ballroom where they can dance.  And everything from Day 8 (this set of milkmaids will only need 4 days worth of expenses.)

Day 10: the cost of ten lords capable of leaping.  This will be a bit harder, unless you number the younger members of the aristocracy among your friends.  Otherwise, travel, accommodations, and meals for 3 days.  And everything from Day 9 (the ladies and milkmaids will need only 3 days worth of expenses).  The lords can leap in the ballroom, which will be a savings.

Day 11: the cost of eleven pipers piping.  These can be fife pipes, or pan-pipes, or bag-pipes.  Make friends with the Black Watch and the local Philharmonic.  Travel, accommodations, and meals for 2 days.  Factor in a large field or concert hall where they can play, their hourly rate, and rental of instruments if needed.  And everything from Day 10 (the milkmaids, ladies, and lords will need only 2 days worth of expenses)

Day 12: the cost of twelve drummers drumming.  Marching bands are your friends here.  Check with the local high schools.  You may only need to feed them, if they are local enough, plus transportation to and from their schools. Send them out on the field with the pipers.  Add in everything from Day 11. Adjust expenses for the other people accordingly.

By the time you are finished, you will have:
12 drummers
22 pipers
30 lords
36 ladies
40 milkmaids
42 swans
42 geese
either 40 pheasants or 40 rings
36 blackbirds
30 French hens
22 turtle doves
12 partridges, and
12 pear trees.

Good luck.