The old saying quoted herein about "whistling girls and crowing hens" is real, and used to discourage girls from behavior that is perceived as masculine. It exists in assorted versions. Heh ... so I made a new one, in the end, with a different message.
Mothers cluck and grandmothers frown –
“Hush up your mouth! Let that skirt down!
Whistling girls and crowing hens
Will always come to some bad ends.”
Still they come on the market day,
Rowdy girls of a wild way,
Rucking up skirts to free their legs,
Swinging their baskets full of eggs.
Says Joan, “I’ve saved to buy a sword.”
“I’ll just rescue a handsome lord,”
Brit says, winking, her cheeks aglow.
Marian grins and strings her bow.
The years roll on, and not one weds,
Though sisters go to marriage beds.
Their mothers wail and cry, “What for?”
Then, hark – the distant horns of war!
Joan grabs her sword and steals a horse
To change the battle’s bitter course.
The men she leads are full of heart.
They slay the foe. Joan does her part.
Brit finds the kidnapped prince’s cell –
Six hens distract the guard dogs well.
She sets him free and off they fly.
He swears to wed her, by and by.
Wedding bells ring for King and Queen
As Mark and Brit walk up the green.
A traitor tries to steal the crown –
Marian’s there to shoot him down.
Joan weds a scout; Marian, too,
Chooses a soldier, brave and true.
Joan wears her sword upon the day;
Marian’s crowned with thorns of May.
Daughters come to them each in time,
Greeted in turn with this new rhyme:
“Whistling girls and crowing hens
Do more good than anyone kens!”