I can't take credit for creating this song, which has been sung in various forms since at least the
1970s, and which an SCA oldtimer claims actually predates the 1966 beginning of the SCA (that
claim is debated--keep reading).

By whatever name, it's sung to the tune of '"The Volga Boatmen"  (Check the video below to hear
the tune).  The "UHH!" can be described as the sound someone makes when lifting a very heavy
weight--basically a quick grunt.

After being a mystery for many years, it may finally be known who created the lyrics (see link at
top left).  But many people have added to it through the years and kingdoms.  It's funny, open to
improvised lyrics, and easy to sing.  For those reasons it's quite popular in the SCA, and may be
sung more often at Society events than any other song, although usually not at court.

While it's sung with various verses, I've usually heard it end with the happy birthday refrain
immediately after the "save the sheep" part.  Personally, I prefer it when it ends quickly.

In the version below, I've selected and arranged verses so the song more or less ties together
and could be sung for almost anyone (at least anyone who's not on his or her death bed).  To
see a more comprehensive version and links to other versions and variations, click
see an earlier version and a history of the song done from memory, see
As far as I know, the lyrics are copyrighted by
no one.  The tune is a traditional Russian
song, and also not copyrighted.  The video
posted by Leslie Slape carried no copyright
notice.  The wallpaper was created by The
Loveshade Family, and is released into the
public domain.
(Sung to the tune of "The Volga Boatmen")
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)

Death, destruction and despair,
People dying everywhere,
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)

Now that you're the age you are
Your demise cannot be far,
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)

For another year has passed,
Don't look now they're gaining fast!
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)         

Just be glad the friends you've got
Haven't found out you-know-what,
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)       
One more birthday but don't fear,
You'll be dead this time next year,
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)                   
May the candles on your cake
Burn like pyres at your wake,
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)                
Hear the women wail and weep,
Kill them all but SAVE THE SHEEP!
Happy Birthday! (UHH!) Happy Birthday! (UHH!)
Short, singable version
See what is
possibly the
Earliest Known
Version and
Longer, more complete version and links to other versions HERE and an early version
with history and lyricists
The Mongolian Birthday Song
(aka the SCA Birthday Song)

by various authors
See the Longer,
More Complete
Video of a different version
Short, singable version
Short, singable version
Short, singable version
"LeslieSlape — November 28, 2008 — A traditional happy birthday
song presented by the Slape family quartet.

"We learned it in the Society for Creative Anachronism, but its
existence predates the SCA (founded in 1966). According to the
Kingdom of Caid's Wiki site, it was created by Harald of Breakstone
and Steven MacEanruig for Don Segundo Sombre de Muerte
Christiano before the SCA was founded. It was introduced by James
Greyhelm to Martin the Temperate and Robear du Bois who promptly
added their unique touch. It went viral even before the Internet was
available as a vehicle to do so. One of the attractions is the open
ended nature of the song, inviting people to write their own verses for

"It was published in The Elf Hill Times Songbook (Kingdom of An Tir) in
1983 and had 19 verses by then, many of which were contributed by
members of Clan o'Gordon."

Video and notes from