Ballads and Songs of Indiana - online book

A collection of 100 traditional folk songs with commentaries, historical info, lyrics & sheet music

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Brewster: Ballads and Songs of Indiana             97
14
THE WIFE OF USHER'S WELL (Child, No. 79)
This ballad seems to have been little known in Indiana, the seven-stanza fragment given below being the only variant recovered. It is perhaps closest to Child's North Carolina variant (Sargent and Kittredge D), though lacking the mother's prayer for the return of her children, and their departure at dawn.
For American texts, see Barry, Eckstorm, and Smyth, p. 449 (frag­ments); Belden, No. 77; Brown, p. 9; Campbell and Sharp, No. 19; Cox, No. 14; Hudson, No. 12; Hudson, Folksongs, p. 93; Journal, XIII, 119; XXIII, 429; XXX, 305; XXXII, 503; XXXIX, 96; XLIV, 63; Davis, p. 278; McGill, p. 5; Pound, Ballads, No. 7; Scarborough, Song Catcher, p. 168; Shearin and Combs, p. 9; Smith and Rufty, American Anthology, p. 23; Randolph, The Ozarks, pp. 180-81; Cambiaire, pp. 121-22; Henry, Folk-Songs from the Southern Highlands, p. 70.
British texts: Greig, Last Leaves, pp. 67-70; Leather, Folk-Lore of Herefordshire, p. 198.
jt\.
No title given. Communicated by Mr. Willis Swallow, of Oakland City, Indiana. Gibson County. Mr. Swallow, who is nearly eighty, learned this ballad almost seventy years ago from the singing of his mother, Mrs. Patsy Swallow. November 30, 1935.
1.     There was a lady in London Town
And she had children three; She sent them to the North Country To learn their historee.1
2.     They hadn't been gone six months or more
3. Along about the Christmas time,
When nights were long and cold, Between midnight and daylight
Those three little babes came home.
*This is an interesting change. The original is grammarye or gr&mmer**, a term meaning? learning or, sometimes, magic* Later singers confoaed it with grammar, and ben by a natural transition it has become h&a&orw.








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