The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #168126   Message #4062714
Posted By: Jim Carroll
04-Jul-20 - 07:14 AM
Thread Name: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
Subject: RE: Folklore: Singing about hell, the devil, evil
I'd never come across this in this form before I heard Mike's recording of it
Jim Carroll

The Lady and the Blacksmith - Sung by Duncan Williamson,
Recorded by Mike Yates in Ladybank, Fife, on August 13, 2001.

Booklet Notes:
Duncan says that he first knew this as a story, The King of the Black Art, as told by Willie Williamson, who was then in his 70's. Travellers have always considered it unlucky to say the word devil, preferring instead to use words such as old Hoddie or blacksmith, which explains why the unwanted suitor is termed a blacksmith in the chorus. Duncan would have been about ten years old when he first heard The King of the Black Art. He says that he then made it into a song himself. But, as Duncan's tune is one that has previously been used for the ballad, I suspect that, somewhere along the way, he also heard it sung. A version of the tale The King of the Black Art, as told by John Stewart, a traveller from Blairgowrie, may be found in Sheila Douglas's book of the same name (Aberdeen University Press, 1987).

Note by Kevin W.:
For an example of the story that Duncan heard, "The King of the Black Arts", see this recording of John Stewart from the School of Scottish Studies:http://www.tobarandualchais.co.uk/fullrecord/27594/1

Once there was a lady, a lady in the land,
She called out to the Devil, oh, you could be my man,
he called out to the Devil, but you must catch me if you can.

He said bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Then she turned into a turtle dove, she flew right through the air,
And he turned into a falcon and he chased her everywhere.

He cried bide, lady, bide, there's no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Then she turned into a little fly, she flew right through the air,
And he turned into a swallow and he chased her everywhere.

Crying bide, lady, bide, there's no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

The she turned into a big brown hare, she flew across the land,
And he turned into a greyhound, cryin' I will be your man.

He cried bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Then she turned into a nice bedspread, she spread across the bed,
And he turned into a blanket and he stole her maidenhead.

He cried bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

So come all you ladies, when you choose your man,
Never choose a devil, for he'll get you if he can.

He'll cry bide, lady, bide, there no place you can hide,
For the old blacksmith will be your man and he'll get you for his bride.

Note by Mike Yates:
Finally, in 2000, I was able to record a set from the Scottish Traveller, Duncan Williamson, then living in Fife. Duncan had first heard the piece told as a folktale, but later picked up, and possibly adapted, the song from singers that he met at folk clubs
and festivals.