The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123801   Message #2735046
Posted By: Mick Pearce (MCP)
30-Sep-09 - 11:58 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
Subject: RE: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
That's OK Jim. I saw Bert most weeks during the 70s at the Cellar, Dingles and the other central/north London clubs, but didn't know him more than to say hello. At the time I was probably too much in awe of him - not that he was in any way stand-offish, far from it - to discuss songs with him; I think maybe once I asked him something about a song. (I don't think I could forget that he was the man who wrote FSE - the best introduction to the world of English song then and, IMHO, still).

Anyway, back to The Devil and The Feathery Wife. Here's a comparison of the verses from the Carthy/Lloyd version with the Buchan version, where the verses have a lot in common. I've numbered the Carthy version in 4-line verses as in the DT, the Buchan in a/b for 4-line half verses in the transcriptions above. The omitted verses usually have corresponding story-line, but dissimilar text. 12 (rather than 14 as I said yesterday) of the Lloyd/Carthy version seem to have a lot in common with Buchan.


The Devil And The Feathery Wife

          Carthy/Lloyd                                                Buchan

2.And as he cut wood in the forest one day                   2a.As he was in the forest once,
between dark mood and despair                                  Betwixt hope and despair,
The Devil himself, he jumped out of the bushes                  The devil started from a bush,
and stood before his mare                                       And stood before him there.

3. "What's the matter," the Devil, he cried,                2b.O what's the matter, the diel he said,
"You look so discontent                                        Ye look sae discontent,
Haven't you got any money to buy your food                      Sure ye want money to buy some bread,
Or to pay your landlord rent?                                  Or pay some landlord's rent?

4."What would you give me," the Devil, he cried,             4a.What will ye gie; the diel, he said,
If I were to end your debate                                    I'll end all your debate,
And I gave you money and gear enough                            Ye shall ha'e meat an' cattle eneuch,
So you'd never more want for meat"                              And never want of meat.

5."But I've nothing to give you," the old man cried,         4b.I've naething to gie, the poor man said,
"I've nothing right here to my hand                            Nae thing under my hand,
But if you would do what you say for me                         But any thing that I can do,
I'll be at your command"                                        Shall be at your command.

7."But if that beast I name aright                           5b.But if the beast I name aright,
You mark what I do tell                                        (Mark well what I you tell)
You've got to toddle along with me                              Then ye must go with me, he said,
To view the ovens of Hell"                                     Directly down to hell.

9."Oh, what is the matter?" his wife, she cried,             7a.O what's the matter? his wife did say,
"You look so discontent                                        Ye look sae discontent,
Sure you've gotten some silly young girl with child             Sure ye hae got some whore wi' bairn,
Making you sore lament"                                        And seems for to repent.

11."But if that beast he names aright                        8b.And if the beast he name aright,
You mark what I do tell                                        (Mark well what I do tell,)
I've got to toddle along with him                               Then I must go with him forthwith,
To view the ovens of Hell"                                     Directly down to hell.

12."Oh, never you worry," his wife, she cried,               9a.Never mind it husband now, she says,
"Be it happens, you'll pay for your deed                        Your cattle feed and keep, (keep and feed obviously)
For the wit of a woman, it comes in handy                      For women's wit is very good,
At times in an hour of need                                     Sometimes in present need.

13."Go and fetch me the droppings from all of our chickens   9b.Get me bird lime here
And spread them all over the floor                              Lay it upon the floor
Stark naked I will strip myself                                 Stark naked I will strip myself
And I'll roll all over the floor                               Anoint my body o'er.

14."And fetch me the barrel of feathers," she said          10a.Then get to me a tub of feathers,
Of the beasts we had for our tea                               And set them me beside,
And I'll roll and I'll roll all over in them                   And I will tumble o'er in it,
Till never an inch be free"                                     Till not a spot be freed.

17.He started to shake and he started to quail             12a.How many more hae ye o' them?
Saying, "Have you got any more of these at home?"               How many o' this kind?
"Oh yes," he said, "I've got seven more                         I hae seven more o' these beasts,
That in my forest do roam"                                     That in this world do run.

18."Well if you've got seven more of these beasts          12b.If ye've seven more o' these beasts,
That in your forest do dwell                                    That in this world ye tell,
I'll be as good as my bargain and I'll be gone                  Ye the fairly hae defeat me now,
She's worse than the demons in Hell"                            And a' the diels in hell.