The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123801   Message #2734486
Posted By: Reinhard
29-Sep-09 - 05:20 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
Subject: RE: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
Ian Spring quotes the SSS version in his article:

By a' the plagues that's on the earth,
And ever Man Befall,
Hunger and a scolding wife,
They are the worst of all.
In our town there lived
A man of mean degree,
And these two plagues him troubled much,
The worst of luck had he.

As he was in the forestonce,
Betwixt hope and despair
The devil he started from a bush,
And stood before him there.
O what's the matter, the diel he said,
Ye look sae discontent,
Sure ye want money to buy some bread,
Or pay some landlord's rent?

Deed, kind sir, ye read me right,
The Cause of my disease;
Tell me your name, kind sir, said he,
O tell me't if you please.
My name is Duncan, said the diel,
I unto thee do tell;
Although that I be wanderinghere,
My dwelling is in hell.

What will ye gie, the diel he said,
I'll end all you debate,
Ye shall hae meal an' cattle eneuch,
And never want of meat.
I've naething to gie, the poor man said,
Nae thing under my hand,
But any thing that I can do,
Shall be at your command.

I'll make a bargain with you then,
A bargain sure to stand,
Ye'll bring me a beast at seven year's end,
I cannot tell its name.
But if the beast I name aright,
(Mark well what I you tell)
Then ye must go with me, he said
Directly down to hell.

The poor man then went home again,
Turn'drich in each degree,
And all his neighbours wonder's much,
Sae poor's he used to be.
When seven years were come and gane,
And all full gone and spent,
The poor man full of sorrow grew,
And sorely did Lament.

0 what's the matter? his wife did say,
Ye look sae discontent,
Sure ye hae got some whore wi' bairn,
And seems for to repent.
Indeed, kind wife, ye wrong me much,
It's not so, I declare,
I've made a bargain wi' the diel,
I t puts me in despair.

I've made a bargain with him then,
A bargain sure to stand,
To bring him a beast at seven year's end,
He cannot tell its name.
And if he name the beast aright,
(Mark well what I do tell),
Then I must go with him, forthwith,
Directly down to hell.

Never mind it husband now, she says,
You cattle feed and keep,
For women's wit is very good,
Sometimes in present need.
Get me bird lime here, she says,
Lay it upon the floor,
Stark naked I will strip mysell,
Anoint my body o'er.

Then get to me a tub of feathers,
And set them me beside,
And I will tumble o'er in it,
Till not a spot be freed.
When she had tumbled o'er in it,
Frae her neck unto heel,
Then merry said he, ye're a strange beast,
You look just like the diel.

Then tie a string about me neck,
And lead me to that place,
And I will keep you frae the diel,
If I am granted grace.
When in the sight o' the diel he came,
He looked brazen bold,
Merry, quoth he, strange is your beast,
Your bargain seems to hold.

How many more hae ye o' them?
How many o' this kind?
I hae seven more o' these beasts,
That in this world do run.
If ye've seven more o' these beasts,
That in this world ye tell,
Ye fairly hae defeat me now,
And a' the diels in hell.

(I don't know if I am allowed to reproduce Ian Spring's full paper here but if you want to get the PDF document, drop me a note with your mail address.)