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382 Ballads and Songs of Michigan
JOHN SOLD THE COW WELL
(Secondary form, Child, No. 283)
The Child texts concern a crafty farmer who, going to pay his rent, outwits a highwayman For British texts se&JFSS, II, 174-176; Logan, p 131; C. J Sharp, Folk Songs from the Eastern Counties (London, 1908), pp. 42-43; an(* Wl*-liams, pp. 253-255. Michigan A is so similar to Barry, Eckstorm, and Smyth, pp. 406-408, text A, as to indicate that they had a common source. For additional versions and references see Greenleaf and Mansfield, pp. 44-46, Henry, JAFL, XLV, 30-34; and Sandburg, pp. 118-119
Version A was communicated in 1931 by Miss Mabel Tuggle, Detroit, who obtained the song from Mr. Jason Taylor, of English descent; he had learned it in Canada.
In London there lived a blacksmith by trade;
He had for his servants a man and a maid;
A Yorkshire boy he had for his man,
And for to do his business, his name it was John.
Early one morning he called up his man John; John heard his master and quickly did come down; "John, take the cow and drive her to the fair, For she is in good order; it is all we have to spare."
John took the cow out of the barn And drove her to the fair as we do learn; While on the highway he met three men To whom he sold the cow for a six pound ten.
He went into the tavern for to get a drink,
And there the old landlord soon paid him down the chink;
And then to the landlady he did say,
"What shall I do with my money, I pray?"
"In the lining of your coat sew it up," said she, "For fear on the highway that robbed you might be." A highwayman sitting behind him drinking of his wine, Says he to himself, "That money is mine."
John took his leave home for to go, The highwayman following after also;