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Tinker Tanner” is an immensely popular drinking song known all over The Four Corners of Civilization.


Tinker Tanner is an extremely old song and is hyperbolized as a song "that is older than God.” It is a simple song with many verses that people often feel encouraged to invent new ones to, especially obscene ones in their inebriated states.

In the Chronicle

The song is sang by many characters in the Kingkiller Chronicle including:

  • Kote: In the beginning of The Name of the Wind just before he meets The Chronicler.
  • Seth: A farmer that gives Kvothe a ride to Tarbean after Kvothe's troupe is killed.
  • Josn: On Roent's caravan that Kvothe takes to reach The University.
  • Wilem and Simmon: On the night that Kvothe was trying out for his talent pipes at the Eolian.
  • Kvothe: When Denna visits Anker's and Kvothe is determined to leave early to spend the night in her company. He encourages the people at the inn to make up their own verses so that the music will still be going on long after he leaves.
  • Kvothe: At the Eolian while he was drunk in celebration of his victory over Ambrose. He sang many verses including some obscene ones.
  • Kvothe: To Felurian during his long stay at the Fae with her.
  • A young boy that was part of a traveling troupe: He sang a new verse to Kvothe who was on his way back to Severen from the Pennysworth Inn.
Young boy's verse:

I once saw a fair farmer's daughter
On the riverbank far from all men
She was taking a bath when I saw her
Said she didn't feel right
If a man caught a sight
So she soaped herself slowly all over again.

Kvothe's version of the verse:

I once saw a fair farmer's daughter
On the riverbank far from all men.
She confessed to me once when I caught her
That she didn't feel clean
If her bathing was seen
So she washed herself over again.


THE Name of the Wind

  • ====Chapter 3, Wood and Word====

Then, when the time for songs came and everyone had sung their favorites and still wanted more, Kote led them from behind the bar, clapping to keep a beat. With the fire shining in his hair, he sang “Tinker Tanner,” more verses than anyone had heard before, and no one minded in the least.

  • ====Chapter 19, Fingers and Strings====

He (Seth) started to sing “Tinker Tanner,” a drinking song that is older than God. After a second his son joined in, and their rough voices made a simple harmony that set something inside me aching as I remembered other wagons, different songs, a half-forgotten home.

  • ====Chapter 34, Yet to Learn====

He (Josn) had a fair tenor and reasonably clever fingers. He played a ballad, then a light, quick drinking song, then a slow, sad melody in a language that I didn’t recognize but suspected might be Yllish. Lastly he played “Tinker Tanner,” and everyone came in on the chorus. Everyone but me.

  • ====Chapter 54, A Place to Burn====

They (Simmon and Wilem) settled down an appreciable amount, and began inventing obscene verses to “Tinker Tanner.”

  • ====Chapter 62, Leaves====

   I moved to the front of the room and clapped my hands for the room’s attention. Once the room was moderately quiet I began to play. By the time I struck the third chord everyone knew what it was: “Tinker Tanner.” The oldest song in the world. I took my hands from the lute and began to clap. Soon everyone was pounding out the rhythm in unison, feet against the floor, mugs on tabletops.
   The sound was almost overwhelming, but it faded appropriately when I sang the first verse. Then I led the room in the chorus with everyone singing along, some with their own words, some in their own keys. I moved to a nearby table as I finished my second verse and led the room in the chorus again.
    Then I gestured expectantly toward the table to sing a verse of their own. It took a couple of seconds for them to realize what I wanted, but the expectation of the whole room was enough to encourage one of the more tipsy students to shout out a verse of his own. It gained him thunderous applause and cheers. Then, as everyone sang the chorus again, I moved to another table and did the same thing.
   Before too long folk were taking initiative to sing out their own verses when the chorus was over.

  • ====Chapter 88, Interlude-Looking====

He (Three-finger Tom) explained that with four grains of denner resin, a man could have his foot amputated without a twinge of pain. With eight grains he’d saw through the bone himself. With twelve grains he’d go for a jog afterward, laughing and singing “Tinker Tanner.”

The Wise Man's Fear

  • ==== Chapter 36, All This Knowing====

A flash of memory came to me. “Merciful Tehlu,” I said, suddenly aghast. “Did I sing ‘Tinker Tanner’ at the Eolian tonight?”
“You did,” Simmon said. “I didn’t know it had so many verses.”
I wrinkled my forehead, trying desperately to remember. “Did I sing the verse about the Tehlin and the sheep?” It was not a good verse for polite company.
“Nia,” Wilem said.
“Thank God,” I said.
“It was a goat,” Wilem managed seriously before he bubbled up into laughter.
“‘. . . in the Tehlin’s cassock!’ ” Simmon sang, then joined Wilem in laughter.

  • ====Chapter 36, All This Knowing====

“You said your mom made your dad sleep under the wagon for singing the verse about the sheep. Did she really?” (Simmon talking)
“It’s mostly a figure of speech,” I said. “But once she really did.”
   I didn’t often think of my early life in my troupe, back when my parents were alive. I avoided the subject the same way a cripple learns to keep the weight off an injured leg. But Sim’s question brought a memory bubbling to the surface of my mind.
“It wasn’t for singing ‘Tinker Tanner,’” I found myself saying. “It was a song he’d written about her. . . .”

  • ====Chapter 73, Blood and Ink====

“True?” She (Denna) looked at me incredulously. “This is just someold folk story. None of the places are real. None of the peopleare real. You might as well get offended at me for coming upwith a new verse for ‘Tinker Tanner.’ ”

  • ====Chapter 96, The Fire Iteself====

I played her “Tinker Tanner.” Let me tell you, the image of Felurian, her quiet, fluting voice singing the chorus of my favorite drinking song is something that will never, never leave me. Not until I die.

  • ====Chapter 108, Quick====

   The young boy piped up, “I made up a verse to ‘Tinker Tanner.’ ”
The others tried to hush him, but I smiled. “I’d love to hear it.”
    The boy puffed himself up and sang out in a piping voice:
I once saw a fair farmer’s daughter
 On the riverbank far from all men
 She was taking a bath when I saw herSaid she didn’t feel right
 If a man caught a sight
 So she soaped herself slowly all over again.

   I laughed. “That’s good,” I complimented him, “But how about this?
I once saw a fair farmer’s daughter
 On the riverbank far from all men.
 She confessed to me once when I caught her
 That she didn’t feel clean
 If her bathing was seen
 So she washed herself over again.

    The boy thought about it. “I like mine better,” he said after amoment’s consideration.
I patted him on the back. “It’s a good man that sticks to his own verse.” I turned back to the leader of the little troupe.