Sosban Fach, literally meaning "little saucepan" is a short, traditional Welsh folk song but it has become one of the Wales’ most famous. Just like with another famous Welsh song, Calon Lan, it is almost always sung in the Welsh language, whatever the occasion.
Other Related Welsh Songs
Sosban Fach History
This Welsh folk song is based upon words written by Richard Davies, also known as Mynyddog, in 1873 as part of his song Rheolau yr Aelwyd ("Rules of the home"). Later in 1895 Talog Williams, an accountant from Dowlais (near to Merthyr Tydfil) in Glamorganshire, composed the song that we know today. Talog amended Mynyddog's original words and he added four new verses. The melody for the ‘new Sosban Fach lyrics’ was composed by the Reverend D.M. Davies. Altogether, and rather surprisingly, the song describes the troubles of a harassed housewife.
Sosban Fach Today
Sosban Fach has been adopted by Welsh people and is sung in schools, concert halls and other live music event but also by rugby fans. Although Sosban Fach is sung with fervour at Welsh Rugby internationals, its is most famously associated with Llanelli or the Scarlets rugby teams. Sosbans can be seen on the top of the goalposts at Stradey Park and more recently at Parc y Scarlets, the home stadium of the Llanelli teams.
Sosban Fach Lyrics
Sosban Fach - Cymraeg
Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi brifo, A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach. Mae’r baban yn y crud yn crio, A’r gath wedi sgrapo Joni bach.
Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân, Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr, A’r gath wedi sgrapo Joni bach.
Dai bach y sowldiwr, Dai bach y sowldiwr, Dai bach y sowldiwr, A gwt ei grys e mas.
Mae bys Meri-Ann wedi gwella, A Dafydd y gwas yn ei fedd; Mae’r baban yn y crud wedi tyfu, A’r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.
Sosban fach yn berwi ar y tân Sosban fawr yn berwi ar y llawr A’r gath wedi huno mewn hedd.
Sosban Fach – English
Mary-Ann has hurt her finger, And David the servant is not well. The baby in the cradle is crying, And the cat has scratched little Johnny.
A little saucepan is boiling on the fire, A big saucepan is boiling on the floor, And the cat has scratched little Johnny.
Little Dai the soldier, Little Dai the soldier, Little Dai the soldier, And his shirt tail is hanging out.
Mary-Ann’s finger has got better, And David the servant is in his grave; The baby in the cradle has grown up, And the cat is ‘asleep in peace’.
A little saucepan is boiling on the fire, A big saucepan is boiling on the floor, And the cat is ‘asleep in peace’.
Sosban Fach Original Verse by Mynyddog
Pan fyddo yr aelwyd yn oeri, A'r anwyd yn dyfod o'r gwaed; Pan fyddo y trwyn bron a rhewi A'r winrew ar fysedd y traed; Pan fo Catherine Ann wedi briwio A Dafydd y gwas ddim yn iach, A'r babi yn nadu a chrio A'r gath wedi crafu John Bach: Rhowch broc i'r tân, A chanwch gân I gadw'r cwerylon o'r aelwyd lân.
("When the hearth cools / And the blood runs cold; / When the nose is almost frozen / And the toes are freezing; / When Catherine Ann is hurt / And Dafydd the servant is not well, / And the baby is howling and crying / And the cat has scratched little John: / Put wood on the fire / And sing a song/ To keep quarrels away from the fair hearth")
Sosban Fach - Other Variations
Sosban Fach - Y Wladfa (Patagonia)
A verse was "uncovered" in Patagonia, sung by descendants of Welsh settlers and follows the second original verse:
Fe gladdwyd y gath mewn lle doniol, Mewn bocs lle'r oedd Nain yn cadw'r startsh, A dodwyd ei chorff mewn beddrod, A'r band yn chwarae y death-march Pan fyddo yr aelwyd yn oeri, A'r anwyd yn dyfod o'r gwaed.
("The cat was buried in a funny place / In a box where Granny kept starch / Her body was placed in a grave / And the band is playing the death march.")
Sosban Fach - Rugby Variations
There have been many new English variations of Sosban Fach sung at Llanelli RFC and subsequently by the Scarlets.
After Llanelli beat the New Zealand All Blacks on 31 October 1972, a new English chorus could be heard: