Other Scottish Country Dances for this Day
Today's Musings, History & Folklore
"I think it must be very nice
To stroll about upon the ice,
Night and day, day and night,
Wearing only black and white,
Always in your Sunday best—
Black tailcoat and pearl-white vest.
To stroll about so pleasantly
Beside the cold and silent sea
Would really suit me to a T!
I think it must be very nice
To stroll with Penguins on the ice.
For those who like the Arctic air,
There also is the Polar Bear."
~ Penguin, William Jay Smith
The Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902–04, organized and led by William Speirs Bruce, natural scientist and former medical student from the University of Edinburgh, completed a full program of exploration and scientific work, including the establishment of a manned meteorological station in Antarctica. It was during this expedition, when the ship "Scotia" in the Weddell Sea, ran into a blizzard and became trapped by pack-ice. While stuck there, bagpiper, Gilbert Kerr (hired to maintain morale and as a laboratory assistant) lashed a penguin to his leg then played different styles of music to see how it affected the penguin. The penguin's comments were not recorded. However, this bagpiper-loving (or not) penguin immortalised in this Scottish Country Dance is not the only penguin touched by greatness. There’s a king penguin at Edinburgh Zoo that was knighted by the King of Norway in 2008. Sir Nils Olav holds the rank of Colonel-in-Chief in the Norwegian Guard! 🐧
The Piper and the Penguin
World Penguin Day is celebrated on April 25th! There are believed to be 17 penguin species, ranging from the Little Blue Penguin to the mighty Emperor Penguin.
The etymology of the word penguin is still debated. Some attribute it to the French word pingouin for "auk" although the word first appears in English or Dutch.
An alternative etymology links the word to Latin pinguis, which means "fat" or "oil".
The Scottish National Antarctic Expedition (SNAE), 1902–04, organized and led by William Speirs Bruce, a natural scientist and former medical student from the University of Edinburgh, completed a full program of exploration and scientific work, including the establishment of a manned meteorological station in Antarctica in 1906, is known for its association with a bagpiper and a penguin!
During the expedition, on 7 March 1904, when the ship "Scotia" was in the Weddell Sea, the expedition ran into a blizzard and the ship became trapped by pack-ice.
While they were stuck there, the crew passed the time investigating the effect of music on penguins!
A bagpiper, Gilbert Kerr (hired to maintain morale and as a laboratory assistant) lashed a penguin to his leg then played different styles of music to see if they affected the penguin differently!
By the 12th of March, a crack opened up in the ice, and the Scotia and her crew (and presumably, the penguin) were able to escape.
Click the picture for more on these Antarctic Expeditions.
And to see the video below of the Piper and the Penguin performed by the RSCDS Seattle Branch from October 2012.