Ballads & Songs of Southern Michigan-songbook

A Collection of 200+ traditional songs & variations with commentaries including Lyrics & Sheet music

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For references and an almost identical version see Cox, pp. 455-456, text A. For a Scottish "John Grumlie," the subject of which, according to Ritson as cited in the headnote, dates before 1567, and of which the American song is a variant, see Child, English and Scottish Ballads, VIII (1856), 116-121, and a note by G. L. Kittredge, pp. 364-365 of the article by Louise Pound, "Traditional Ballads in Nebraska," JAFL, XXVI. See also Flanders and Brown, pp. 104-105, Hudson, JAFL, XXXIX, 156-157; Owens, JAFL, XLIX, 237-238; and Sharp, II, 265-267.
The present version was communicated by Mrs. William Durfee, Ypsilanti, who as a child had learned the song from her mother in Hillsdale.
1    There was an old man who lived in the woods, As you can plainly see;
He said he could do more work in a day Than his wife could do in three.
2   "By my life*" said the good old wife, "Since this you do allow,
You may do the work in the house, And I'll go follow the plow.
3   "But you must milk the tiny cow For fear she will go dry;
And you must feed the little pigs That are within the sty.
4   "And you must watch the speckled hen Lest she should go astray;
And don't forget the ball of yarn That I spin every day."
5   So the old woman took the stick in her hand And went to follow the plow;
The old man took the pail on his head And went to milk the cow.
6   But Tiny she winked, and Tiny she blinked, And Tiny curled up her nose;
She gave the old man such a kick on his shin That the blood streamed down to his toes.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III