The Cuckoo Trap *

River Tamar,Calstock

* Suitable for a bedtime story

It was the end of the strawberry season and the folk in the Tamar valley were trying to find ways of keeping the growing season going. The land got too boggy in the winter and was no use.  A meeting was therefore held, but after a long discussion the only way they could see out of the difficulty was to hold on to summer when it turned up and  so get rid of winter altogether!

This, they discovered later, was easier said than done, so another conference was held at which an old ancient exclaimed that he had got a solution. “Good folks,” said he, “if you want to hold on to summer there’s only one way, and that it is to hedge the ‘gookoo’: when the old bird do go, summer do go after him.”

Upon this point they all agreed and thought if they could keep the ‘gookoo’ summer was sure to stay. So they found out the bird and gathered round it with hurdles and sticks and a whole gallery of things to fence him in with.

The cuckoo watched the strange proceedings with much interest, but, at last, growing tired, took wing and flew away.   They all dropped their tools and looked at one another open-mouthed with wonder. “Co!” they said, “what a pity! A voot higher an’ we should ha’ had ‘en!”


retold by Liz Berg

  • Calstock