More about this song
Burns did not show much interest toward popular children's verse, but the Wee Willie Gray fragment is a variation to the tune of a nursery-song called 'Wee Totum Fogg':
Wee Totum Fogg
Sits upon a creepie;
Half an ell o' gray
Wad be his coat and breekie
The original verse depicts the homely figure of Totum Fogg, sitting on a low stool (creepie) with a length of cheap cloth for his clothing; Burns' version clothes Willie Grey almost in a faerie guise, with the provisions of nature - willow, rose, lily-flower, and feathers.
As the lyrics are in fragment, not much is known of Burns' intention for them, but they present an easy-going, lively snapshot.