Folk Songs from the Southern Highlands - online songbook

Southern Appalachians songs with lyrics, commentary & some sheet music.

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Ballads and Songs
B
"The Miller's Will." The song was recorded in the Cumberland Mountains by Miss Onelee Brooks, a student in Lincoln Memorial University. Miss Brooks appended the following note: "From The Miller's Will we find that it was usually the custom to give the, house or the mill to the youngest son. I asked the person that related this ballad to me why they usually willed it to the youngest instead of the oldest, and the reply was that the older was usually more able to take care of himself than the younger. But still I could not understand why the will was not equally divided. The children were usually called to the side of the death bed and each was given his share."
i. An old miller lay on his dying bed; He called for his sons and to them he said: "Sons, O sons, my life is 'most gone; Tell me the toll you mean to take."
2. He called up his eldest son; He called up his eldest son: "Son, O son, my life's 'most gone; Tell me the toll you mean to take."
3. "Father, you know my name is Heck, Father, you know my name is Heck, Father, you know my name is Heck, And out of a bushel I'll take a peck."
4. "Just such a toll a man can't live, Just such a toll a man can't live, Just such a toll a man can't live,
And to you I'll not will my little old mill."
5. He called up his second son; He called up his second son: "Son, O son, my life's 'most gone; Tell me the toll you mean to take."
6. "Father, you know my name is Ralph; Father, you know my name is Ralph; Father, you know my name is Ralph, Out of a bushel I'll take a half."
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E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III