My siblings and I enjoy an occasional impromptu session of folk song and dance. In fact, Littlest Brother and I have made time to do some folk singing as a part of his regular lessons. Our “school” repertoire currently includes “Charming Billy,” “A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go” (and the American counterpart “Mr. Frog Went a-Courting”), and most lately “The Chivalrous Shark.” Each of these songs is great fun to sing, with multiple opportunities for dramatic gestures and amusing accents. They’re wonderful for quieting rambunctious youngsters who quit their wrangling to bounce into your lap so they can hear their favorite parts and contribute their singing and sound effects. (And you can hardly hope to sing the song through only once.)

This is “Charming Billy,” the first installment in a hopeful series on the folk songs and dances our family most enjoys. Take time to sing, to dance, to laugh with your family!