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Origins/ADD: The Swapping Song

DigiTrad:
WIM WAM WADDLES


Related thread:
Lyr Req: to my ding dong daddle (5)


Uncle_DaveO 18 Feb 03 - 11:43 AM
Malcolm Douglas 18 Feb 03 - 12:30 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 18 Feb 03 - 05:46 PM
Abby Sale 16 Oct 04 - 04:50 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Oct 04 - 06:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Oct 04 - 08:44 PM
Abby Sale 17 Oct 04 - 02:21 PM
Goose Gander 01 Jul 05 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 02 Jul 05 - 09:38 AM
Le Scaramouche 02 Jul 05 - 09:53 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 02 Jul 05 - 09:54 AM
Le Scaramouche 02 Jul 05 - 09:55 AM
GUEST,Art Thieme 02 Jul 05 - 10:07 AM
GUEST,Art (sheepishly!) 02 Jul 05 - 10:16 AM
Le Scaramouche 02 Jul 05 - 10:22 AM
Goose Gander 02 Jul 05 - 01:00 PM
Goose Gander 02 Jul 05 - 01:14 PM
GUEST,Sheila 02 Jul 05 - 01:31 PM
GUEST,Art Thieme 03 Jul 05 - 11:04 AM
Le Scaramouche 03 Jul 05 - 11:35 AM
Jim Dixon 11 Apr 09 - 01:22 AM
GUEST,MAKAYLALONG 22 Jul 09 - 07:49 PM
GUEST,Nellie 04 Feb 16 - 08:17 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 11:43 AM

Here's a song I've sung for years, and was surprised not to find in the DT. It has similarities to "And the poor little thing cried Mammy", (in the DT) but is decidedly not identical.

^^
THE SWAPPING SONG

When I was a bachelor
I lived by myself
And all the bread and cheese I had,
I kept upon the shelf
CHORUS:
To my wing-wong waddle,
My John Paul faddle,
My bullfrog saddle,
To my long way home!

But the rats and the mice
They led me such a life
That I had to go to London
To get myself a wife
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

But the roads were so muddy
And the lanes were so narrow
That I had to bring her home
In an old wheelbarrow
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

So I swapped my wife
And I got me a horse
And then I rode
From cross to cross
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

Then I swapped my horse
And I got me a cow
And in that trade
I just learned how
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

Well, I swapped my cow
And I got me a calf
And in that trade
I just lost half
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

So I swapped my calf
And I got me a pig
He wasn't worth much
'Cause he wasn't very big
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

Then I swapped my pig
And I got me a cat
And then, b'gosh,
I was stuck with that!
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

Now me and the cat,
We live in the house
And we never see a rat
And we never see a mouse
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle (etc.)

So if the rats and the mice
Ever lead you such a life
Remember that a pussycat
Is better than a wife!
(CHORUS:) To my wing-wong waddle
My John Paul faddle
My bullfrog saddle
To my long way home!

Richard Dyer-Bennet sang this in the late 40's, I know.

DRO


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 12:30 PM

Do you happen to know where that version came from? As you suggest, it's quite a common song, and turns up all over the place; including here. The set in the DT is from Dorset:

WIM WAM WADDLES


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 18 Feb 03 - 05:46 PM

I would guess that the last two verses are quite modern- maybe made up by Richard Dyer-Bennett himself! Notice that I have used the words, "guess," and, "maybe..."


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Subject: Lyr Add (again): The Swapping Song
From: Abby Sale
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 04:50 PM

The following text is per by Richard Dyer-Bennett in his Song Book. He learned it in New England but cannot remember the source. It's only marginally different from the above and I give the whole thing just to be picky.

This English folk song has also been collected in Manitoba, Kentucky, Missousi, Virginia, etc and is included in Sharp (in Appalachia "The Foolish Boy", #217 and in England), Fowke, Richard Chase, Randolph, Brown (North Carolina Folklore). Randolph-Legman includes a wide-spread bawdy version, "I went to the River" as #15.

It has been sound-recorded by many, including Oscar Brand, Penny(?) Seeger, Richard Dyer-Bennet, Ed McCurdy, Cyril Tawney (Children's Songs of Devon & Cornwall), Paul Clayton and a number of source singers. Seems Jean Ritchie must have but I have no record of it.

As a folk tale (often generically known as "Trading Away One's Fortune,") it has been collected by Hans Christian Andersen (Danmark), Asbjørnsen and Moe (Norway) and the Grimm Brothers (Germany). (See D. L. Ashliman.)

I am unable to find any text in DigTrad besides "WIM WAM WADDLES," though.

Ballad Index:

Swapping Boy, The

DESCRIPTION: The Swapping Boy (sets out for London to get a wife. He swaps wife, or the wheelbarrow he took her home in, for a) horse, which he swaps for a cow, and so forth, for a cheaper animal each time, until he ends with a mole which "went straight to its hole"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1784 (Gammer Gurton's Garland)
KEYWORDS: animal humorous commerce
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MW,SE,So) Britain(England) Ireland Canada(Mar)
REFERENCES (19 citations):
Eddy 93, "The Swapping Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph 256, "Went to the River" (1 text, 1 tune, a much degraded form with a different chorus and some floating verses)
BrownII 196, "Swapping Songs" (4 text plus 2 excerpts, but "E" and "F" are "Hush Little Baby"; the "C" excerpt is unidentifiable from the description)
BrownIII 131, "When I Was a Little Boy" (1 text plus mention of 2 more, with only the first verses about fetching the wife from London)
JHCoxIIB, #19A-B, pp. 166-169, "The Foolish Boy," "Johnny Bobeens" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Kennedy 312, "Wim-Wam-Waddles" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wyman-Brockway II, p. 10, "The Swapping Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cambiaire, pp. 78-79, "The Swapping Song" (1 text)
SharpAp 217, "The Foolish Boy" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 72, "The Swapping Song (The Foolish Boy)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ritchie-Southern, p. 1, "The Swapping Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 243, "Down by the Brook" (1 text, 1 tune)
Chase, pp. 174-175, "The Swapping Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, pp. 44-45, "Wing Wang Waddle" (1 text)
Abrahams/Foss, pp. 70-71, "Foolish Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H732, p. 57, "My Grandfather Died" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Oxford2 71, "When I was a little boy I lived by myself" (2 texts); 156, "My father he died, but I can't tell you how" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #7, pp. 29-30, "(When I was a little boy)"; #115, p. 96, "(My father he died, but I can't tell you how)"
Montgomerie-ScottishNR 23, "(His father died)" (1 short text); 163, "O, when I was a wee thing" (1 short text, with only the verses about "When I was a wee thing" and the fetching home of a wife in a wheelbarrow)

ST E093 (Full)
Roud #469
RECORDINGS:
Anne, Judy & Zeke Canova, "The Poor Little Thing Cried Mammy" (Oriole 8044/Perfect 12685/Regal 10299, 1931); as the "Three Georgia Crackers," "Poor Little Thing Cried Mammy" (Columbia 15653-D, 1931; rec. 1930; on CrowTold01)
Harry Greening & chorus of Dorsetshire Mummers, "The Foolish Boy" (on FSB10)
Bradley Kincaid, "The Swapping Song" (Champion 15466 [as Dan Hughey]/Silvertone 5188/Supertone 9209, 1928)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Little Brown Dog"
cf. "Mary Mack (I)" (plot)
cf. "Old John Wallis" (lyrics)
Notes: Eddy writes of this song, "Most texts are like the above in blending two separate songs, 'When I Was a Little Boy' and 'Swapping Song.' The first story, based, in all likelihood, upon Wat Tyler's Rebellion of 1381 in England, continues through four stanzas."
That two songs are combined here is very likely; Kennedy's version and others (including versions back to Gammer Gurton's Garland) omit the trip to London to fetch a wife, while we find a youth setting out for London to find a wife as a separate item in Tommy Thumb's Pretty Song Book, Volume II, of c. 1744. But whether this should be tied to the Kentish rebellion of 1381 can be questioned. - RBW
Perhaps "The Swapping Boy" should be split between the Opie-Oxford2 71/Eddy/BrownIII 131 ("When I was a little boy I lived by myself") songs and the Opie-Oxford2 156/Henry H732("My father he died, but I can't tell you how") songs. The description for "My Father Died" might be: Singer inherits his grandfather's horses. He sells the horses to buy a cow and sells and buys the cow, a calf, a pig, a dog, and a cat that runs off after a rat. "My grandfather left me all he did own, And I don't know how it is, but I'm here by my lone." The end of Opie-Oxford2 156 is more disastrous: "I sold my cat and bought me a mouse, But she fired her tail and burnt down my house." - BS
In the light of the above, I suppose I should separate these two songs -- but the result would be an even worse mess than lumping them, because the combination clearly exists as a song in its own right. Since it is possible that it's one song that split, and not two that coalesced, I'm keeping them together until we can find some clearer evidence of the history. With full acknowledgement that there are two highly independent parts. - RBW
File: E093

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Bibiography
Go to the Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.



I haven't yet seen any other version with D-B's last two verses but this is the first suggestion I've heard that added his own verses to songs without saying so. I know one, anyway, where he does say so.

It's a great children's song and Dyer-Bennet's "moral" at the end doesn'd seem to bother them at all.


"The Swapping Song"

When I was a bachelor, I lived by myself,
And all the bread and cheese I had, I kept upon the shelf.

Chorus:
         To my wing wong waddle, my john fall faddle,
         My bullfrog saddle, to my long way home.

But the rats and the mice, they led me such a life
I went into London town to get myself a wife.

But the roads were so muddy and the lanes were so narrow
That I had to bring her home in an old wheelbarrow.

So I swapped my wife and I got me a horse,
And then I rode from crose to crose.

Then I swapped my horse and I got me a cow,
And in that trade I just learned how.

Then I swapped my cow and I got me a calf,
And in that trade I just lost half.

Then I swapped my calf and I got me a pig;
It wasn't worth much 'cause it wasn't very big.

Then I swapped my pig and I got me a dog
And in that trade I lost one hog.

Then I swapped my dog and I got me a cat
And then, b'God, I was stuck with that.

Now me and my cat, we live in the house;
Never see a rat and we never see a mouse.

So if the rats and the mice ever lead you such a life,
Remember that a pussy cat is better than a wife.
===

Many versions include a fourth verse similar to this.   It explains why he swaps his wife in the first place.
        The wheelbarrow broke and we all had a fall
        Down came wheelbarrow, wife, and all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 06:17 PM

Not a 'Swapper' but use of waddle in an old rhyme:

Old Mother Widdle Waddle jumpt out of bed,
And out of the casement she popt her head,
Crying, the house is on fire, the grey goose is dead,
And the fox he is come to town Oh!

From Gaffers and Gammers CLXXVI, Halliwell, The Nursery Rhymes of England, 1846, 4th ed.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE PLOUGHBOY IN LUCK
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 08:13 PM

Not much attention has been paid to this old song in Mudcat. Here are a couple.

Lyr. Add: THE PLOUGHBOY IN LUCK

My father he died, but I can't tell you how,
He left me six horses to drive in my plough:
With a whim, wham, wabble ho!
Jack's lost his saddle oh!
Blossy boys, bubble oh! Over the brow.

I sold my six horses and bought me a cow,
I'd have fain made a fortune, but didn't know how:
With a whim, wham, wabble ho!
Jack's lost his saddle oh!
Blossy boys, bubble oh!
Over the brow.

I sold my cow and bought me a calf
I never made a bargain, but I lost the better half:
With a whim, etc.

I sold my calf and bought me a cat,
To lie before the fire and warm its little back:
With a whim, etc.

I sold my cat and bought me a mouse,
But she fired her tail and burnt down my house:
With a whim, etc.

From Iona and Peter Opie, 1960 corr. ed., The Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book, p. 180.

The same song in Baring Gould and Sharp:

The Foolish Boy

Verses identical, but refrain different.

My father died and I cannot tell how,
He left me six horses to follow the plough.
With a wing-wang-waddle, O!
Jack sold his saddle O!
Blossy boys, bubble O! under the broom.

Verses 2-5 the same as in the Opie's "Ploughboy." A sixth verse is added:

I have nothing to buy, and I've nothing to sell,
And how I shall live, I am sure I cannot tell.
With a wing-wang-waddle, O! etc.

S. Baring Gould and Cecil J. Sharp, "English Folk-Songs for Schools, no. 52, p. 106-107 with music.

The refrain seems to have first appeared in Gammer Gurton (but is absent in the 1810 issue).


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FOOLISH BOY (from S. Baring-Gould)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Oct 04 - 08:44 PM

Wherein The Foolish Boy is murdered but is still able to tell the tale.

Lyr. Add: THE FOOLISH BOY
S. Baring-Gould

My father died, and I can't tell y' how,
He left me six horses to follow the plough.
With a whing, whing, waddle, O!
With a string, strang, straddle, O!
Blossy boys! Babble, O! under the broom.

I sold my six horses, and bought me a cow,
I'm going to get money, but I can't tell you how.
With a whing, etc.

I sold my cow, and I bought me a calf,
By that my bargain I lost just half.
With a whing, etc.

I sold my calf and I bought me a cat,
And in the chimney corner the pretty thing sat.
With a whing, etc.

I sold my cat and I bought me a mouse,
Set fire to her tail, and she burnt down my house.
With a whing, etc.

I sold my mouse, and I bought me a wife,
She cut my throat with an old rusty knife.
With a whing, whang, waddle O!
etc.

S. Baring-Gould, 1895, "A Book of Nursery Songs and Rhymes," pp. 17-18, no. VIII.
Notes: various alterations to the burden. One is:-
Whimma whimmee wobble O!
Jigga-jiggee-joggle O!
Little boys a wobble, O! lived under the gloam.

A little rhyme from Halliwell, (see previous post), p. 92:

There was an old man,
And he had a calf,
And that's half;
He took him out of the stall,
And put him on the wall,
And that's all.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Abby Sale
Date: 17 Oct 04 - 02:21 PM

Good additions, Q.

I sold my mouse, and I bought me a wife,
She cut my throat with an old rusty knife.


The good Rev, B-G was good at finding this kind of thing (although some suspiciously.) But I think a singer may think this possible ending is the very reason to Remember that a pussy cat is better than a wife.

It also confirms that children's songs, historically, were interesting and fun. These past 50 years of forcing dull, innocuous songs on children is likely the reason children don't sing anymore. Except sexy pop music.


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Subject: Lyr Add: WEE WAW WADDLE
From: Goose Gander
Date: 01 Jul 05 - 03:50 PM

WEE WAW WADDLE
Bill Jackson
Arvin, 1941

May father left me when he died
One good gray horse to ride
Come a wee waw waddle
Come a jack straw straddle
Come a little boy paddle
Come a ridin' off a broom.

Traded that horse for a cow
When I traded I didn't know how
Come a wee waw waddle
Come a jack straw straddle
Come a little boy paddle
Come a ridin' off a broom.
Traded that cow for a calf
When I traded I lost just half
Come a wee waw waddle
Come jack straw straddle
Come a little boy paddle
Come a ridin' off a broom.

Traded that calf for a hog
When I traded I acted like a dog
Come a wee waw waddle
Come a jackstraw straddle
Come a little boy paddle
Come a ridin' off a broom.

Traded that hog for an egg
Looked like a devil stickin' on a snag
Come a wewaw wadaddle
Come a jack straw radaddle
Come a little boy paddle
Come a ridin' off a broom.

Voices From the Dust Bowl
------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 09:38 AM

Here is how I recorded it with a jaw harp -- playing the melody between singing each verse. I'd say something about how the idea in swapping is to get something better when you swap----not something worse. You want to come out ahead most of the time. This person didn't do a good job of it. And then the mouse went right down the tubes!:

My father died and I don't know how,
Left me a horse for to hitch to the plow.

With my wing wong waddle,
And my Jack Straw saddle,
Johnny get your fiddle,
It's a long way home,
(And I'm gone on home.)

I swapped my horse and I got me a pig,
Strange little thing---never got very big.

Swapped my pig and I got me a cat,
Pretty little thing by the chimney sat.

I swapped my cat and I got me a mouse,
His tail caught fire and he burnt down the house.

I swapped my mouse and I got me a mole,
Durned old thing, he went right down his hole.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 09:53 AM

Sounds a fun song, Art, on what recording can it be found?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 09:54 AM

I think I got that from an LP by Paul Clayton. Paul did a few songs on it---but so did Jean Ritchie (our Ky. Trad), and also some tales told by Richard Chasw. It was on Tradition Records. A fine old album. Hope I'm remembering all this right.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 09:55 AM

And yours?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 10:07 AM

I better go check. I don't remember!

Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: GUEST,Art (sheepishly!)
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 10:16 AM

First, that ought to read Richard CHASE (not Richard Chasw.)

Second, I am quite embarrassed, but----it seems I never put it on a record of any kind---LP, cassette or CD. But I enjoyed doing it---especially if kids were in the audience or in schools.

When your memory goes, forget it!!!

(art thieme)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 10:22 AM

Right. If I make it to one of your gigs, I'll request it, ok?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Goose Gander
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 01:00 PM

Now it occurs to me that the plot of this song is very close to the German folk tale "Hans im Gluck".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Goose Gander
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 01:14 PM

Hans im Gluck (Grimm #83)

Well, not exactly the same, but similar: 'Trading down' from valuable to less valuable items, though "Swapping Boy" has the protagonist inherit wealth, while poor Hans has to work seven long years for the lump of silver he loses so quickly.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: GUEST,Sheila
Date: 02 Jul 05 - 01:31 PM

Jean Ritchie's version goes:
When I was a little boy I lived by myself,
All the bread and cheese I had I laid it on the shelf.
Wing wong waddle to my jack straw straddle
To my Johnny fair faddle, to my long ways home. etc
This is from her "Swapping Song Book", copyright 1940.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: GUEST,Art Thieme
Date: 03 Jul 05 - 11:04 AM

Scaramouche,
Sorry, no gigs these days. MS has me sidelined.
Art


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: The Swapping Song
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 03 Jul 05 - 11:35 AM

That's a shame.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SEARCH AFTER FORTUNE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 Apr 09 - 01:22 AM

Gammer Gurton's Garland by Joseph Ritson (London: R. Triphook, 1810):


THE SEARCH AFTER FORTUNE.

1. My father he died, but I can't tell you how.
He left me six horses to drive in my plough.

CHORUS: With my wing wang waddle oh,
Jack sing saddle oh,
Blowsey boys bubble oh,
Under the broom.

2. I sold my six horses and I bought me a cow.
I'd fain have made a fortune, but did not know how.

3. I sold my cow, and I bought me a calf.
I'd fain have made a fortune, but lost the best half.

4. I sold my calf, and I bought me a cat.
A pretty thing she was, in my chimney corner sat.

5. I sold my cat, and I bought me a mouse.
He carried fire in his tail, and burnt down my house.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SWAPPING SONG
From: GUEST,MAKAYLALONG
Date: 22 Jul 09 - 07:49 PM

When I was a little boy, I lived by myself.
All the bread and cheese I had I put it on the shelf.

CHORUS: Wing wong waddle
To my Jack straw straddle
To my Johnny fair faddle
To my long ways home.

Rats and the mice they led me such a life
I had to go to London to get myself a wife. CHORUS:

Lanes were so long and roads were so narrow
I had to bring her home in an old wheel barrow. CHORUS:

Broke my wheelbarrow and I fall
Then came my wife all and all. CHORUS.

Swapped my wheelbarrow got me a cow
When I rode I just learned how. CHORUS:

Swapped my cow and got me a mouse
Then he burnt down my house. CHORUS:


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Subject: RE: Origins/ADD: The Swapping Song
From: GUEST,Nellie
Date: 04 Feb 16 - 08:17 PM

I'm putting together a children's book with versions of these lyrics that my grandfather told to me as a child. Anyone have any knowledge of copyrights I might need to consider?


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