Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home

Marrow Bones in ancient India

Jack Campin 28 Mar 15 - 06:18 AM
Jim Carroll 28 Mar 15 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 28 Mar 15 - 07:07 PM
Doug Chadwick 29 Mar 15 - 07:27 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 15 - 08:00 AM
Jack Campin 29 Mar 15 - 08:02 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 29 Mar 15 - 08:45 AM
Doug Chadwick 29 Mar 15 - 08:48 AM
Richard Mellish 29 Mar 15 - 10:15 AM
Jim Carroll 29 Mar 15 - 10:26 AM
Jack Campin 29 Mar 15 - 10:27 AM
Share Thread
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:

Subject: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Jack Campin
Date: 28 Mar 15 - 06:18 AM

I came across this recently:

Panchatantra: the Butter-Blinded Brahmin

It's basically the "Marrow Bones" story, from India in 200BC.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 28 Mar 15 - 03:53 PM

Great when you make a connection like this.
We recorded this tale from a Kerry Traveller in London in the mid 1970s
The note at the end is mine, for the double album of Iris Travellers recorded in London, 'From Puck to Appleby'
Jim Carroll

12 - Go for the Water (Story - Aarne-Thompson 1351:The Silence Wager)   
Mikeen McCarthy
There was a brother and sister one time, they were back in the West of Kerry altogether, oh, and a very remote place altogether now. So the water was that far away from them that they used always be grumbling and grousing, the two of them, now, which of them'd go for the water. So they'd always come to the decision anyway, that they'd have their little couple of verses and who'd ever stop first, they'd have to go for the water. So, they'd sit at both sides of the fire, anyway, and there was two little hobs that time, there used be no chairs, only two hobs, and one'd be sitting at one side and the other at the other side and maybe Jack'd have a wee dúidín (doodeen), d'you know, that's what they used call a little clay pipe (te). And Jack'd say:

Oren hum dum di deedle o de doo rum day,
Racks fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So now it would go over to Mary:

Oren him iren ooren hun the roo ry ray,
Racks fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So back to Jack again:

Oren him iren ooren hum the roo ry ray,
Rack fol de voedleen the vo vo vee.

So, they'd keep on like that maybe, from the start, from morning, maybe until night, and who'd ever stop he'd have to go for the water.
So, there was an old man from Tralee, anyway, and he was driving a horse and sidecar, 'twas… they'd be calling it a taxi now. He'd come on with his horse and sidecar, maybe from a railway station or someplace and they'd hire him to drive him back to the west of Dingle. So, bejay, he lost his way, anyway. So 'twas the only house now for another four or five miles. So in he goes anyway, to enquire what road he'd to take, anyway, and when he landed inside the door, he said: "How do I get to Ballyferriter from here?" And Mary said:

(Sung verse)

So over he went, he said, "What's wrong with that one, she must be mad or something", and over to the old man. He said, "How do I get to Ballyferriter from here?"

(Sung verse)

So he just finished a verse and he go back over to Mary and he was getting the same results off of Mary; back to Jack. So the old man, he couldn't take a chance to go off without getting the information where the place was, so he catches a hold of Mary and started tearing Mary round the place. "Show me the road to Ballyferriter", he go, and he shaking and pushing her and pull her and everything:

(Sung verse)

And he kept pulling her and pulling her and tearing her anyway, round the place, and he kept pucking her and everything.
"Oh, Jack," says she, "will you save me?"
"Oh, I will, Mary," he said, "but you'll have to go for the water now."

Mikeen's story, set in his own native Kerry, is widely travelled, both as a tale and as a ballad. A version from India, entitled The Farmer, his Wife and the Open Door is described as claiming 'the highest possible antiquity'. It is also included, as part of a longer story, in Straparola's Most Delectable Nights (Venice 1553). In Britain it is popular in ballad form, best known in Scotland as Get Up and Bar the Door and in England as John Blunt.
Mikeen has a large repertoire of stories, at least half a dozen of them having Jack and Mary as hero and heroine.
Ref: Folk Tales of All Nations, F H Lee, George G Harrap & Co, 1931.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 28 Mar 15 - 07:07 PM

Thank You,


Grand Stuff

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 07:27 AM

So, where can I find the "Marrow Bone" story?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 08:00 AM

"So, where can I find the "Marrow Bone" story?"
This is the Lancashire version - it's found all over Britain and Ireland in one version or another
Jim Carroll

A man whose name was Johnny Sands
Had married Betty Haig,
And though she brought him gold and lands
She proved a terrible plague.

Whack fol   lol de   lallidy,
Whack lol   lol de   lay,
Whack fol   lol de lallidy,
Whack fol   lol de   laro lay.

For Oh, she was a scolding wife,
Full of caprice and whim.
He said that he was tired of life
And she was tired of him.

Says he, "Then I will drown myself,
The river runs below".
Says she, "Pray do, you silly old man,
I wished it long ago".

Says he,"Upon the brink I'll stand,
Do you run down the hill
And push me in with all your might".
Says she, "My love, I will".

"For fear that I should courage lack
And try to save my life,                                                          *
Pray tie my hands behind my back",
"I will", replied his wife.

She tied them fast as you may think,
And when securely done,
"Now stand," she says, "upon the brink
And I'll prepare to run".

All down the hill his loving bride
She ran with all her force,
To push him in but he stepped aside
And she fell in, of course.

Now splashing, dashing, like a fish,
"Oh, save me, Johnny Sands!"
"I can't me dear, though much I wish,
For you have tied me hands !"

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 08:02 AM

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 08:45 AM

Well found, Jack. I have been looking for "Marrowbone" tales for many years and was certain that, one day, somebody would find it in tale-form. And thanks to Jim for giving us his collected version. Again, of great interest.

Another interesting point is that in parts of the Appalachians the tune used for the song "Marrowbones" (and also for the song "The Fellow that Looks Like Me") turns up as a fiddle tune called "Over the Waterfall". Samuel Bayard has traced this American tune to an older British air. But, I do wonder if the tune title "Over the Waterfall" refers to an incident in a version of "Marrowbones", one where the wife, having been pushed into the river, goes "over the waterfall"? I don't know of any such verse, but I suppose that there could be one.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Doug Chadwick
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 08:48 AM

Thanks. It may be found all over Britain and Ireland but obviously not in the parts I was in.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 10:15 AM

The story from India is related, but doesn't actually involve marrow bones. And Jim's one from Mikeen McCarthy is a different one, related to Get Up and Bar the Door.

I have heard a version that does involve bones, years ago on a TV programme. It comes from Tibet. I had been wondering about writing it out to post here. It involves talking animals: a fox, a yak and a wolf.

I can't be bothered to write it out at length, but here's an outline.

The fox and the yak are friends, but whereas the yak only has to crop grass, the fox has to go off and hunt. The yak is worried about the wolf coming to eat him, so they agree that, if the wolf appears, the yak will bellow and the fox will come back to rescue him.

The fox is just about to pounce on a tasty rabbit when he hears a bellow, so he runs back; to find no wolf, only the yak getting lonely and worried. This happens two or three times, so eventually the fox ignores the bellow, and when he eventually does come back the wolf has been and all that remains of the yak is a pile of bones.

SO -- thus far we have the tale known in Europe as The Boy Who Cried "Wolf".

But it goes on.

The fox gets hold of a big pot (you know, the kind the cannibals used to boil the missionaries in), puts in the bones and starts to stew them. After a while the wolf smells the stew and comes to investigate.

The wolf puts his nose in the pot, but the boiled bones have made a thick sticky jelly and it's still too hot. The more he tries to wipe it off his snout, the more it gets in his eyes, until he can't see at all -- whereupon the fox kills him.

And that's how marrow bones in particular, rather than anything else, could make someone blind.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 10:26 AM

"Jim's one from Mikeen McCarthy is a different one, related to Get Up and Bar the Door."
I know it is Richard - just making the point about the relationship between songs and stories.
Probably the rarest example we ever came across was this, from an elderly Irishman, Mikey Kelleher, who had left his home in West Clare (about three miles from where we live now) where he had been a farm worker and curragh-maker (canvas canoes for fishing off the coast): he and his wife finally settled in Deptford, in South East London.

"There was two old walkers around (Travellers) and they wanted to go across the water and they hadn't enough money.
So they went to the captain, and she was lovely piece, and he said, "I'll be all right there".
She asked him would he be all right to take them across
"All right", he said, and herself and the man went in, he was playing an old fiddle.
And they travelled away; she didn't want to refuse him, you know, in case he wouldn't let them go.
She carries on with him, and he went up to the old boy and says, "I'll bet you this ship", he said, "and cargo against this fiddle" , he said, "that I'll have her before we land".
The old boy bet the fiddle with him and off they goes, and the old boy was listening, he was singing a song:

"Hold tight my love; hold tight my love, just for half an hour,
Hold tight my love hold tight my love and the ship and cargo will be ours"

She said:
"You're late my love, you're late my love, he has me by the middle,
I'm on my back, were having a crack, and you have lost your old fiddle", she said."

We believed the story to be old, and we finally traced it to this, from volume four of John Farmer's Merry Song and Ballads prior to the year 1800 AD.

[From Pills to Purge Melancholy (1707), iii. 153].

It was a Rich Merchant Man,
That had both Ship and all;
And he would cross the salt Seas,
Tho' his cunning it was but small.

The Fidler and his Wife,
They being nigh at hand;
Would needs go sail along with him,
From Dover unto Scotland.

The Fidler's Wife look'd brisk,
Which made the Merchant smile;
He made no doubt to bring it about,
The Fidler to beguile.

Is this thy Wife the Merchant said,
She looks like an honest Spouse;
Ay that she is, Ihe Fidler said,
That ever trod on Shoes.

Thy Confidence is very great,
The Merchant then did say;
If thou a Wager darest to bet,
I'll tell thee what I will lay.

I'll lay my Ship against thy Fiddle,
And all my Venture too;
So Peggy may gang along with me,
My Cabin for to View.

If she continues one Hour with me,
Thy true and constant Wife;
Then shalt thou have my Ship and be,
A Merchant all thy Life.

The Fidler was content,
He Danc'd and Leap'd for joy;
And twang'd his Fiddle in merriment,
For Peggy he thought was Coy.

Then Peggy she went along,
His Cabin for to View;
And after her the Merchant-Man,
Did follow, we found it true.

When they were once together,
The Fidler was afraid;
For he crep'd near in pitious fear,
And thus to Peggy he said.

Hold out, sweet Peggy hold out,
For the space of two half Hours;
If thou hold out, I make no doubt,
But the Ship and Goods are ours.

In troth, sweet Robin, I cannot,
He hath got me about the Middle;
He's lusty and strong, and hath laid me along,
O Robin thou'st lost thy Fiddle.

If I have lost my Fiddle,
Then am I a Man undone;
My Fiddle whereon I so often play'd,
Away I needs must run.

O stay the Merchant said,
And thou shalt keep thy place;
And thou shalt have thy Fiddle again,
But Peggy shall carry the Case.

Poor Robin hearing that,
He look'd with a Merry-chear;
His wife she was pleas'd, and the Merchant was eas'd,
And jolly and brisk they were.

The Fidler he was mad,
But valu'd it not a Fig;
Then Peggy unto her Husband said,
Kind Robin play us a Jigg.

Then he took up his Fiddle,
And merrily he did play;
The Scottish Jigg and the Horn-pipe,
And eke the Irish Hey.

It was but in vain to grieve,
The Deed it was done and past;
Poor Robin was bom to carry the Horn,
For Peggy could not be Chast.

Then Fidlers all beware,
Your Wives are kind you see;
And he that's made for the Fidling Trade,
Must never a Merchant be.

For Peggy she knew right well,
Although she was but a Woman;
That Gamesters Drink, and Fidlers Wives,
They are ever Free and Common.

Mikey worked all his life in the building trade; back home he was a dancer, but he gave us about sixty songs, all of which we recorded in the car, as he was too shy to sing at home.
He had a large repertoire of short stories like this – one of them told of the blind man who hid up a tree while his wife was havin it off with a young man – a branch catches him across the eyes, miraculously giving him his sight back.
When he sees what his wife is up to he is told, we were only doing it so you could get your sight back (one of Chaucer's Canterbury tales)
Jim Carroll

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Marrow Bones in ancient India
From: Jack Campin
Date: 29 Mar 15 - 10:27 AM

The Brahmin wouldn't have been easily persuaded to eat yak bone soup. If it started in Tibet you can see why the Hindus adapted it.

Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")

Mudcat time: 14 August 1:59 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.