"The Whistler" as written by and Ian Anderson....
I'll buy you six bay mares to put in your stable
Six golden apples bought with my pay.
I am the first piper who calls the sweet tune,
But I must be gone by the seventh day.

So come on, I'm the whistler.
I have a fife and a drum to play.
Get ready for the whistler.
I whistle along on the seventh day
Whistle along on the seventh day.

All kinds of sadness I've left behind me.
Many's the day when I have done wrong.
But I'll be yours for ever and ever.
Climb in the saddle and whistle along.

So come on, I'm the whistler.
I have a fife and a drum to play.
Get ready for the whistler.
I whistle along on the seventh day
Whistle along on the seventh day.

Deep red are the sun-sets in mystical places.
Black are the nights on summer-day sands.
We'll find the speck of truth in each riddle.
Hold the first grain of love in our hands.


Lyrics submitted by thewallbreaker67

"The Whistler" as written by Ian Anderson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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The Whistler song meanings
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  • 0
    General Commentmy favorite tull song from my favorite tull album
    the_madcap_laughson November 27, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis truly is a great song. Its about a traveling musician who falls in love with a girl at one of the towns he is visiting. This story obviously takes place during midievil times, hence the mares and golden apples as gifts for the girl. This song is also one of the best flute solos i have ever heard. Ian Anderson has so much talent its sad that he's not as appreciated as he should be.

    Also, I think there's a problem with the lyrics. I'm pretty sure it's: "I have a fife, and I've come to play", rather than "I have a fife, and a drum to play."

    I dunno, could be wrong, but thats what i hear.
    toolmusikon December 19, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am getting a very religion creation story from this song. The first four lines give me that impretion.

    "I'll buy you six bay mares to put in your stable
    six golden apples bought with my pay.
    I am the first piper who calls the sweet tune,
    but I must be gone by the seventh day. "

    -God gave us animals
    -God gave us the land (vegetation and such)
    -God was the beginning, the creator.
    -On the seventh day he rested.

    Also these next lines can be attributed to God.

    "All kinds of sadness I've left behind me.
    Many's the day when I have done wrong.
    But I'll be yours for ever and ever. "

    -In the Old Testament, God casted plagues, wiped out the world with flood, and helped the israelites battle foes.
    -Also he calls the Hebrews his chosen people so the woman could be the people of israel whom he will give himself too.

    Well those last lines im not really seeing any connection. He could be talking about heaven and how all will be revealed when you pass on. Who knows. There is my two cents. Use it as you will.

    P.S And yea I hear, "I have fife, and Ive come to play" too.
    Prog_Rockeron December 21, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI hear "drum". The coolest thing I like about this song is the 2nd & 4th line in the verses start before the previous one fades out - meaning Ian had to dub them in. Awesome effect.
    Brad_Son January 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhen i was young i remember hearing this song and many other Jethro Tull songs......Ian Anderson's music just seems larger than life
    dasquien!on April 30, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commenteverytime i heard the song i thought he said "and i've come to play" however after paying a little more attention i noticed after he says "iv'e got a fife" you hear the high whistle and then after "and a drum to play" you here the drums kick in.
    Quaidon February 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt's clearly "and a drum to play," since the line is immediately followed by a drum riff.

    Anyway, a truly great song.

    youtube.com/…
    Krendall2006on January 17, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentomfg this song is not about god!
    You all should know that Ian Anderson isn't christian. He is a panthiest for gods sake!
    He doesn't believe in the creation MYTH.

    This delightful song is about a whistler falling in love with a girl, and how he convinced her to come and travel with him in love. It is my favorite Tull song. It's so sweet
    Johnationon August 06, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentFrom what I hear Ian Anderson describes himself as "somewhere between Deist and Pantheist". Reguardless of his own beliefs, if the other songs on this album are any signifier, it seems very unlikely this song is based in any Judeo-Christian symbolism. It seems like, as with the other songs of this album like Ring Out Solstice Bells, Jack in the Green, and Cup of Wonder being as rich with old pagan symbolism, this is much the same in its use of symbolism. Given, a lot of Judeo-Christian traditions and stories have a base in old Pagan mythology simply out of old traditions dying hard or some compromise made to convince folks to convert.

    That being said, as for interpreting the meaning of the song itself, I'm not sure, but it seems to present the idea of the classical bard. Personally, I mostly like it for the energy of the instrumental bits, especially during the chorus.
    Slightly_Shinobion May 05, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song, much like this whole album, has a theme of returning to the beauty of nature and the countryside of the British Isles and making a kind of mystical, spiritual inner connection. Finding "the speck of truth in each riddle" and holding "the first grain of love in our hands" is mystical poetry. It means connecting to God in a pantheistic way, through the present energy of what is right in front of us. Music and nature have a clear value and role to play in this experience. The ultimate nature of the experience is a kind of transcendence.
    JT1968on February 14, 2018   Link

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