Little John Abegging
...beggar,' he sayes,
`With none such fellows as thee.'
`I am not in iest,' said Litle Iohn,
`I sweare all by the roode;
Change wiirth mee,' said Little Iohn,
`And I will giue thee some boote.'
But he has gotten on this old mans gowne,
It reacht not to his wrist;
`Christ's curse on's hart,' said Litle Iohn,
`That thinkes my gowne amisse.'
But he has gotten on this old mans shoes,
Are clouted nine fold about;
`Beshrew his hart,' said Litle Iohn,
`That bryer or thorne does doubt.
`Wilt teach me some phrase of thy begging?' says Iohn;
`I pray thee, tell it mee,
How I may be as beggar-like
As any in my companie.'
`Thou must goe two foote on a staffe,
The third upon a tree;
Full loud that thou must cry and fare,
When nothing ayleth thee.'
But Iohn he walket the hills soe high,
Soe did he the hills soe browne;
The ready way that he could take
Was towards Nottingham towne.
But as he was on the hills soe high,
He mett wiirth palmers three;
Sayes, God you saue, my brethren all,
Now God you saue and see!
This seuen yeere I haue you sought;
Before I cold neuer you see!
Said they, Wee had leuer such a cankred carle
Were neuer in our companie.
But one of them tooke Litle Iohn on his head,
The blood ran over his eye;
Little Iohn turned him twise about
. . . .
`If I . . . .
As I haue beene but one day,
I shold haue purcchased three of the best churches
That stands by any highway.'
Version A in Child