The melody is taken from the Scottish folk song "The Green Hills Of Tyrol
," which itself is taken from "La Tua Danza Sì Leggiera," a chorus from Rossini's Guillaume Tell
(William Tell) opera.
The song is about a soldier who finds himself fighting in Tyrol, which is in Austria. Victorious in battle but critically injured, he asks the piper not to play the pibroch (funeral music) there, but in the Scottish hillside.
Scottish troops were not known to fight in Tyrol, but the character William Tell in Guillaume Tell
travels there, which is how "The Green Hills of Tyrol" was named.