… Five golden rings
The Five Golden Rings on The Fifth Day Also Refer to Birds
Given the changing customs and changing word meanings over the centuries it is not surprising that our interpretation of the song has also changed.
Just as the four collie birds in the fourth stanza of the song have morphed into the more understandable, but non-existent, four calling birds, in newer English speaking nations, the five golden rings in the fifth stanza have also changed.
While the fifth day’s gift remains five golden rings, the image in modern peoples minds and in most illustrations accompanying the lyrics is of five gold rings for one’s fingers. However, the five rings referred to five ring necked pheasants. Again, food was not as plentiful and as easily available as it is today so gifts of food were more common.
Golden Roast Pheasant
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/4 ts Paprika
3 Sprigs parsley
3 Slices bacon
1/2 c Golden raisins
1/2 ts Dried sage
3 Garlic cloves
4 tb Butter, room temp
1 c Dry white wine
Preheat oven 350 degrees F Squeeze juice of 1/2 the orange into cavity and over skin of bird. Rub bird inside and out with blend of next 3 items. Cut remaining orange in half and place in cavity with garlic and parsley. Spread butter over breast of bird and place, breast side up, in shallow pan. Place bacon over breast. Cover with foil and bake 45 min. Heat wine to boiling over high heat. Add raisins, remove from heat and let stand for 45 min. Remove foil and pour wine mixture over pheasant. Bake uncovered, basting frequently, until juice runs clear when a thigh is pierced (about 45min) Remove pheasant with bacon to platter. Spoon some raisin sauce over top and pour remainder into sauce boat. Serve immediately.
You may want to watch the raisins in here, but there are not too many. I could see this served with some roasted root veggeis and some rich pumpernickel bread with orange butter.
I have only seen one live pheasant in my life. I have never eaten one. How about you? Any hunters in the family that still can bag a beautiful bird like this one?
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