I'll Tell Ma
I'll tell ma when I go home,
The boys won't let my curls alone,
Pull my hair and break my comb,
And that's the way that they go on.
My mither says that I must go
With my daddy's dinner, oh.
Chappit tatties, beef and steak,
Twa reed herrin' and a bawbee bake.
I cam' til a river and I couldna get across,
So I paid five bob for an auld blind horse.
I jamp on his back; its banes gae a crack.
And I played on my fiddle til the boatie cam' back.
Rodger Lang Strang (1948), 16. Lines 5-8 in Rymour Club
Misc. I (1906), 221, from Kirriemuir, [father's], whence
probably SC (1948), 129 (no. 219); (line 2 "Tae fetch ma
deddy's denner, O."). [Jean Redpath, Frae My Ain
Countrie (gramophone disc, 1973), quoting also an "older
version", = 1-2, var. girls, has 8 lines only, approx.
5-12 of above; main var.: father's/that I couldnae/ ten
shillin's for an auld done horse./ Jumped on its . . .
gied/ So, I . . . the fiddle.]
Ritchie Golden City (1965), 126, has 5-12; main differs:
My mother cried me up to go/ faither's/ Champit/ Three
red herrins and a hapnie cake.// I paid ten shillings/ I
jumped on its back and its bones went crack/ We all
played the fiddle. . . boat/ [+ 2 other lines:] The boat
came back, we all jumped in/ The boat capsized and we
all fell in. Among variants (p. 127) is "I on his back
and away with a crack/ And told my mither I'd never come
back!" Ritchie also has (127) a version of lines 1-4:
My mother said I never should
Play with the gipsies in the wood
They tugged my hair and broke my comb
I'll tell my mother when I get home.
R. notes that in the Trinity district the last 2 lines
used to be "With an alpaca bodice and a white lace
shawl/ A pea-green bonnet and a pink parasol."