The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17087   Message #892658
Posted By: GUEST,Q
17-Feb-03 - 10:32 PM
Thread Name: Penguin: The Cruel Mother (Child #20)
Subject: RE: Tune Add: The Cruel Mother
Lyr. Add: Down By the Greenwood Side

There was a maid, who had two babes
All alone and lone
She laid those babes down hand in hand
And with a knife, cut off their heads
All down by the greenwood side.

She buried those babes both under a stone
All alone and lone
And prayed to the Lord, it would never be known
All down by the greenwood side.

The maid was passing by one day
All alone and lone
She saw those babes both out for play
All down by the greenwood side.

O babes, O babes, if you were mine
All alone and lone
I'd dress you up in silk, so fine
All down by the greenwood side.

O Mother, dear Mother, we once't were yours
All alone and lone
You neither gave us coarse nor fine
You killed and buried us under a stone
And prayed the Lord it would never be known
All down by the greenwood side.

For seven long years, you shall hear a bell
All alone and lone
And at the end of seven years you shall land in Hell
All down by the greenwood side.

Mrs Pearl Brewer, Pocahontas, Arkansas, 1959. Max Hunter Collection, with audio and sheet music, Cat. #0350 (MFH # 143). She sang two versions for the collection.

This version was collected several times in the Ozark region, by Vance Randolph and by Max Hunter. The subject of murder and haunting probably scared many a child into remembering it, becuse versions show many similarities, from the British Isles to the Ozarks. See thread 17087 for a very complete history of Child 20, The Cruel Mother, and its versions: Cruel mother .