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Lyr Req: The False Fly

DigiTrad:
THE FALSE KNIGHT AND THE WEE BOY
THE FALSE KNIGHT ON THE ROAD 2
THE FALSE KNIGHT UPON THE ROAD
THE FALSE KNIGHT UPON THE ROAD (4)
THE SMART SCHOOLBOY


Related threads:
ADD: False Knight upon the Road (Steeleye Span) (21)
Explain Riddles-False Knight On The Road (15)
Chord Req: False Knight On The Road (1)
Lyr Add: Où vas-tu, mon petit garçon? (Acadian) (56)
Lyr Req: False Knight (#3, from Pete & Chris Coe) (13)
Lyr Req: Child on the Road (Archie Fisher/Child #3 (14)
Lyr Req: Child?ballad Little Boy Just ___ yrs (5)


mamondon@hotmail.com 13 Mar 99 - 04:25 PM
Bruce O. 13 Mar 99 - 04:35 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Mar 99 - 05:06 PM
Bruce O. 13 Mar 99 - 05:55 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Mar 99 - 06:15 PM
Bruce O. 13 Mar 99 - 06:16 PM
Martin _Ryan 13 Mar 99 - 06:16 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 13 Mar 99 - 06:35 PM
Mary 13 Mar 99 - 06:44 PM
Sandy Paton 13 Mar 99 - 08:36 PM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 12:08 AM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 12:37 AM
Susan of DT 14 Mar 99 - 11:01 AM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 11:30 AM
John Moulden 14 Mar 99 - 12:03 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 12:35 PM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 12:54 PM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 01:35 PM
John Moulden 14 Mar 99 - 01:36 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 02:58 PM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 03:10 PM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 04:16 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 14 Mar 99 - 06:09 PM
John Moulden 14 Mar 99 - 07:06 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 07:25 PM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 07:54 PM
Sandy Paton 14 Mar 99 - 11:06 PM
Bruce O. 14 Mar 99 - 11:51 PM
Martin Ryan 15 Mar 99 - 08:14 AM
Sandy Paton 15 Mar 99 - 12:49 PM
Bruce O. 15 Mar 99 - 01:04 PM
Bruce O. 15 Mar 99 - 02:11 PM
Mary 15 Mar 99 - 06:42 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 15 Mar 99 - 06:54 PM
Martin _Ryan 15 Mar 99 - 07:34 PM
John Moulden 15 Mar 99 - 07:38 PM
John Moulden 15 Mar 99 - 08:26 PM
Bruce O. 15 Mar 99 - 09:48 PM
Bruce O. 15 Mar 99 - 10:05 PM
Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca 16 Mar 99 - 06:41 PM
John Moulden 17 Mar 99 - 09:10 AM
Art Thieme 18 Mar 99 - 09:34 PM
GUEST,geri&blackbush 17 Mar 00 - 03:58 AM
Crowhugger 17 Mar 00 - 05:37 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 20 Mar 00 - 06:42 PM
GUEST,outdoor@active.ch 08 Oct 01 - 04:05 PM
Joe Offer 08 Oct 01 - 04:31 PM
Charlie Baum 09 Jul 07 - 01:08 PM
dick greenhaus 09 Jul 07 - 06:28 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 07 - 06:59 PM
McGrath of Harlow 09 Jul 07 - 07:03 PM
Charlie Baum 09 Jul 07 - 08:08 PM
Barry Finn 10 Jul 07 - 01:32 AM
MartinRyan 15 Jul 07 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 16 Mar 18 - 08:54 AM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 16 Mar 18 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP) 16 Mar 18 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Martin Ryan 16 Mar 18 - 12:53 PM
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Subject: ADD: The False Fly
From: mamondon@hotmail.com
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 04:25 PM

Anyone know the missing line on the last verse. This is track 7 on Donal Lunny's album "Coolfin" sung by Maighread Ni Dhomhnaill. I have looked high and low for this song.

Thanks, Mary.

Oh where are you going
Said the false false fly
to the lovely little child on the road
I am going to me school
said the lovely little child
she was only but seven years old.

What have you in your bag
Said the false false fly
To the lovely little child on the road
Me bread and me books
Said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old.

Oh will you come along with me
Said the false false fly
To the lovely little child on the road
I won't come along with you
Said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

I will give you a ball
Said the false false fly
To the lovely little child on the road
Ah then you'd be lord of all
Said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

What is rounder than a wheel
Said the false false fly
To the lovely little child on the road
The earth is rounder than a wheel
Said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old.

What is higher than the sky
Said the false false fly
to the lovely little child on the road
Heaven is high than the sky
Said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old.

What is deeper than the sea
Said the false false fly
to the lovely little child on the road
Hell is deeper than the sea
said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

Then he went on _____ ___________
to the false false fly
with the lovely little child on the road
Twas the devil in disguise
Said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 04:35 PM

Thet's Child #3, "The False Knight upon the Road". Put #3 in search box at upper right of this page for 3 versions in DT


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 05:06 PM

This one is fascinating to me! In the early 60's we collected a version of "The False Knight Upon the Road" from a singer named Alan Kelly in New Brunswick. When he first sang it for us, he sang "The fol, fol, folly on the road." We were excited to find a version of the ballad, as we had never collected one before, and we told Helen Creighton about Alan having it in his English-language repertoire (he sang songs from both the Irish and French traditions of the area). The next year, we returned to make a serious recording of Alan's songs, and found that he had been told that "fol, fol, folly" was a corruption of "false knight on the road," and as a result he had changed the words he had always known in order to conform to what he'd been told was correct! The result was a recording with a confused text, as Alan stumbled over his new words. I've often used this as an example of what not to do as a collector.

So, thank you for pointing me toward a "fly" version from which "folly" could easily have been derived. Now I'll have to go check Bronson, etc. What do you think, Bruce?

Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 05:55 PM

Bronson has 10 versions with tunes. The third from Brewster's 'Ballads and Songs of Indiana', has something similar. Interlaced refrain, after 1st line - "Said the False, fie, the False Fidee"; and for last "Said the child and still she stood".

The fourth version from Davis's 'Trad. Ballads of Virginia', has for the 2nd line "Said the false so rude"


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 06:15 PM

By golly, I'm gonna have to move this computer into the library, or else move the library up here! I'm unwilling to run down these stairs and up the others whenever I see a question here for which I know I could find an answer up there on the other side of the house. Thanks, Bruce. I don't have Brewster, but I do have Davis (the three that I know about). And, of course, we BOTH have Bronson now (congratulations, lad. Must have cost you a bundle!)

Sandy - "Folly, fly, fie, fidee."


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 06:16 PM

What to me is rather surprising is that so many versions do have knight in them, as folk songs usually get changed where something in a text is no longer relevant to the singer's world. I don't know about where you live, but knights are scarcer than hen's teeth around here.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 06:16 PM

Mary

What do you make of Maighread's version? I have the greatest of respect for her - she is one of the finest singers in Ireland - BUT - it seems to me that the arrangement fails completely to get the (admittedly subtle) song across. Is it just me?

Regards

I have a vague memory of "fly" having the meaning "false knight" , but a quick search doesn't come up with an ethymology.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 06:35 PM

The "and still she/he stood" version is the one I know.

Whatever flies and such may be, I am still unclear on the concept of a false knight. What would be the motive for a knight to be posing riddles to a child on the high road? False in what sense -- the riddles are fair enough. But maybe I am overanalyzing.

When I first saw the title of this thread, I thought it was referring to a feature of certain gentlemen's clothing.:)

Sandy, I once read a story perhaps true, perhaps apocryphal about "Nova Scotia Farewell". Helen Creighton had collected it in the field somewhere, and in due course Catherine MacKinnon (I think) recorded it for the first time. In the way of artists she altered it somewhat. Then the person from whom Creighton had collected the song, having heard MacKinnon's version on the radio, started singing it her way instead! Do you know if there is any truth to this?


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Mary
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 06:44 PM

I am amazed that I received such a response already!!! Thank you.

To Martin:

Maighread's voice is what drew me to the song. So different from Triona's. As I listened to the words, I thought about my Catholic upbringing and remember that I was told that a child has a reasoning and understanding at about the age of 7 and knows right from wrong. I know I'm probably being silly, but I thought about Eve being tempted by the devil. I'm terrible about interpreting some of these meanings and am always asking my friends about particular lyrics.

Do you know if Maighread has any other recordings?

Many thanks.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 13 Mar 99 - 08:36 PM

Several additional thoughts about this ballad:

At one point, Alan Kelly told Lee Haggerty, who was recording Alan Kelly on our first trip to the Miramichi (I was busy recording Marie Hare at the same time), "Well, that's all of the English language songs I'm going to sing. Now, I'll give you some songs in my mother's language, French." But Lee, who had always joked with us about finding a version of this ballad someday, said "Wait a minute. Do you happen to know a song about a knight meeting a boy on the road?" Without hesitation, Alan replied, "That wasn't a knight! That was the devil!" He then proceeded to sing his "Fol, fol, folly" version, which he later tried to change.

I've read, Lord only knows where, that the "and still he stood" suggests that the boy was standing within a charmed circle, and the devil couldn't take him away as long as he remained there. Fakelore? Possibly, but fun. Also, in answer to the question above, the devil was seeking to whisk the lad off to hell, which he would do if the boy failed to answer the challenging questions. The little smarty was successful, however, in warding him off. Max Hunter, from Springfield, Missouri, has an Ozark version of this ballad, and the Nova Scotia version sung to the tune of "The Flowers of Edinburgh" is superb. And who was it who sang that splendid version from Ireland on the Caedmon ballad series? Someone out there will remember, saving me the trouble of trotting downstairs to look through the record shelves. God, that one was glorious!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 12:08 AM

For an earlier title of the tune "The Flower[s] of Edinburgh" (1749) see 'Flower' in the Scots tunes index on my website.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 12:37 AM

Thought I might as well add this from Wimberley's Folklore in the English and Scottish Ballads (p.307):

The Fause Knight upon the Road (3), an old ballad with a striking parallel in a curious Swedish piece, furnishes still another example of riddlecraft. Matched by a witchlike old crone in the Swedish song, the false knight here, none other than the devil himself, tries to nonplus a wee boy by asking him questions and making evil wishes. Needless to say, the youthful replicant is capable of clever rejoinders and has the last word, a matter of paramount importance in these verbal conflicts with Otherworld folk. Child observes that our ballad is known only through Motherwell, but it is interesting that copies have been recovered in America by Phillips Barry, H. M. Belden, and Cecil Sharp. The false knight is called the "fol fol Fly" in Barry's Maine text, a probable corruption, as Barry points out, of "foul, foul Fiend." This text, Barry further observes, retains "a form of the theme more primitive than that of Motherwell's version."

The only Barry publications I have are the Journals of the Folksong Society of the Northeast, edited by Bayard, and British Ballads from Maine, and I find no "fol fol Fly" text in either. Bruce, can you locate the Barry text Wimberley is referring to?

The Alan Kelly version appears in Bronson's addenda at the end of Volume 4, by the way, as it was originally recorded by Lee Haggerty for Folk-legacy: "Fol, Fol, Folly" and all.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Susan of DT
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 11:01 AM

Tim - he was a "false knight" because he wasn't a knight, he was the Devil. Also knights were "supposed to" be good, protect the innocent, etc, at least in folklore if not reality.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 11:30 AM

Sandy, Barry, 'Bulletin of the Folk Song Society of the Northeast', ii, p. 8-9, 1936, (AFS reprint,1960) has a text, without tune, from Maine, but quite normal. I see from his headnote that Barry reported another text from Maine in JAFS, 1907, and in 'British Ballads from Maine'. I have neither of these.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: John Moulden
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 12:03 PM

The version of the "False Knight on the Road" which started this thread was collected in 1975/6 by Angela Bourke from Brid an Gamha of Carna, [Joe Heaney's homeplace] Co Galway. It is probably in the Folklore collection at University College Dublin. Barry Gleeson, Dublin sings it also.

The genesis and development of the false, false fly, chorus is interesting - do the various extant versions give any clear idea of how it happened?

The singer of the version on the Caedmon/Topic "Folksongs of Britain" series was Frank Quinn of Coalisland, Co Tyrone. His brother Edward was the source of the rollicking version of the Jug of Punch, though that wasn't how he sang it.

John Moulden


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 12:35 PM

Quinn was great! What a wonderful, soaring melody! I urge all 'Catters to give it a listen.

Bruce: British Ballads from Maine doesn't seem to have a "False Fly" version, so it must be the one in the JAFS of 1907. I have no access to that, up here in the boonies. But I realize now that none of this has answered the original question: what are the missing words of that final verse? Frankly, I have no idea, and I don't have the Lunny recording. Maybe John Moulden can help. He seems to know the original source of that version. Give it a go, John, and earn all of our accolades!

Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 12:54 PM

A little off the track again.

An article by W. Edson Richmond in a collection of such comprising 'The Critics and the Ballad', 1961, 'Some Effects of Scribal and Typographical Error on Oral Transmission', doesn't make much of the possiblilities of singers changing their texts. In one piece, however, he notes from a non-Scots singer for a line in "The Gypsie Laddie", which in Scots versions is something like "They cast their glamourye o'er her", the line came out "They called their grandmother over."

There's a song in 'The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection', called "The Juggler", the song being obviously related to "The Jolly Begger" and "The Gaberlunzie Man". I think the singer probably heard it as the Gaelic 'Ghiberlan' (begger) and not knowing the standard corruption 'Gaberlunzie', picked a reasonably close approximation that made more sense to him.

Francis O'Neill in 'The Music of Ireland' gives as an alternative title of #277, "Little Mary Cullinan", the rendering "Maureen from Gibberlan". I have little doubt that this title was that of the tune for a song in an Irish play of 1776/7 "Maureen na Gibberlaun" (Maureen the begger's daughter). [Scots versions with Gaelic titles show the O'Neill also had the wrong tune.]

Thomas Moore got stumped by a Gaelic spelling of Maureen, and gave the title for his "The Minstrel Boy" as "The Moreen".


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 01:35 PM

Cross checking of song title and contributor listings in Coffin's 'An Analytical Index to the Journal of American Folklore', it appears that Barry's text must be in the 1911 volume of JFSS. I don't know what Barry might have meant in BFSSNE when he said the song 'was first reported in 1907 from Maine'. No Barry contributions in 1907, and first of two "False Knight upon the Road" texts in JAFS is 1911.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: John Moulden
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 01:36 PM

Two more odd things: looking at Creighton, Nova Scotia I see that there is a chorus - this is described by Belden as a unique nonsense refrain (not exact words) and this is repeated by Tristram Coffin in The British Traditional Ballad in North America. They're all wrong - all that happened was that the singer using the Flowers of Edinburgh tune lilted the tune between verses - this was slavishly noted by the collector as Hi diddle deedle dum etc - in this case the vocables are not prescribed - there may be some consistency, but would not have been repeated;

Second item - O'Neill's "Maureen from Gibberlan" - there's a song text which I remember as being entitled "Old Morney Gibberland" in an obscure Irish journal or perhaps a songsheet - I will now spend hours finding it.

John Moulden


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 02:58 PM

What about Cecil Sharp's "Swannanoa Town-O" when the singer was actually giving him "Swannanoa Tunnel?" Had me confused until A. L. "Bert" Lloyd pointed out the error to me one night at the Princess Louise in London. I got a lovely "Gaberlunzie Man" from Jeannie Robertson in Aberdeen, but only now do I learn what the term may have meant. Of course, Jeannie didn't call it that. Takes a scholar to make that kind of an error. (add a "grin" here, or maybe one of Catspaw's decorative parenthetical sketches).

Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 03:10 PM

John,
The "Maureen na Gibberlaun" tune (under a slightly corrupt Scots Gaelic title of c 1743) is given as an ABC, T015, in file T1.HTM on my website. It's a rather nice tune. For a worse version see the note on the tune in the Scots tunes index on my website.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 04:16 PM

I hope I mislead no one into into believing "Maureen na Gibberlaun" and Moore's "The Moreen" were the same tune. Moore's tune and an earlier version of it are T030A & B in the same file on my website, so you can easily compare them.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FALSE KNIGHT ON ... (Nova Scotia)^^
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 06:09 PM

There is a Nova Scotia verion of "The False Knight On The Road", Edmund Henneberry with Kenneth Faulkner on fiddle (FM 4006 1956)which is now released on the compilation 3 CD "Canada -- A Folksong Portrait". Mercury 769748000-2. Henneberry was from Devil's Island, Nova Scotia.

Oh what have you in your bag, what have you in your pack?
Cried the false knight to the child on the road
I have a little primer and a piece of bread for dinner
Cried the pretty little child only seven years old

What is rounder than a ring, what is higher than a king
Cried the false knight to the child on the road?
The sun is rounder than a ring, God is higher than a king
Cried the pretty little child only seven years old.

What is whiter than the milk, what is softer than the silk?
Cried the false knight to the child on the road.
Snow is whiter than the milk, down is softer than the silk
Cried the pretty little child only seven years old.

What is greener than the grass, what is worse than women coarse?
Cried the false knight to the child on the road
Poison's greener than the grass, the devil's worse than women coarse
Cried the pretty little child only seven years old.

What is longer than the wave, what is deeper than the sea?
Cried the false knight to the child on the road
Hell is longer than the wave, love is deeper than the sea
Cried the pretty little child only seven years old.

Oh a curse upon your father, and a curse upon your mother
Cried the false knight to the child on the road
Oh, a blessing on my father, and a blessing on my mother
Cried the pretty little child only seven years old

Thanks for the correction. Since I got the CD I was thinking that the tune was Sheehan's, but you are right it's the Flowers of Edinburgh now that I compare it to a recording of that tune. At least, the fiddle part between the verses is.

Notice that part of it seems to be corrupt because the internal rhyme isn't used in some of the verses. (Milk/silk and then "grass/coarse".) He pronounces "primer" as in "prim".

PEI singer Therese Doyle also recorded a version on one of her early tapes, but I can't find it right now. She sings a little bit of mouth music diddle I dee dum with it. I think she uses different words too.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: John Moulden
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 07:06 PM

Good heavens; how one is side-tracked - I've spent a fruitless evening looking for the Gibberlan reference and entirely forgotten the point of this thread - which is of course the WORDS - so that they can be sung. Enough of this academic foolery; sing!

The first line of the final stanza of the False Fly as sung by Barry Gleeson - I don't have Maireadh's recording - is:

"Then he went all on fire did the false, false, fly with the lovely little child on the road"

Bruce - when I come across the Gibberland ref. I'll let you know - it has words - how complete I don't remember - but it gives the tunes some point.

I don't really deserve any accolades - I took my eye off the ball - and it's really no credit to live at the origin.

John


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 07:25 PM

Tim: I believe it was Henneberry's version that Creighton published with the "diddling" of the tune as a chorus. It's in Bronson, which I don't have up here. When the recorded version came out of the early Folkways LP, the fiddle had replaced the mouth music.

John: Accolades anyway. We all got sidetracked, didn't we? It was the missing words that initiated the thread!

Bruce: I looked in Motherwell for the version quoted by Bronson. How confusing! The one verse and tune Bronson printed are in the appendix. What is probably a different version is buried in the long and self-righteous (but delightfully bombastic) introduction. I'd never have found it without Bronson as a guide! Makes the kind of searching you do all the more valuable. I can't help but admire your patience.

Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 07:54 PM

Lucky you, I bought a first edition of Motherwell, 1827, about 2 weeks ago, and found it didn't have the Appendix with all the tunes collected and engraved by Andrew Blaikie. Child pointed out that the piece (first verse only, first of those in Bronson) was from Blaikie. For the benefit of you that don't have Child the only other text Child has is that noted by Sandy above, in Motherwell's 'Minstrelsy', in the introduction, p lxxiv-v, in a footnote.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 11:06 PM

I hate to tell you, Bruce, but I got my Motherwell (1827, and with the appendix) at Grant's Bookstore in Edinburgh in September, 1958. Found it way the hell and gone up on a high shelf. Paid somewhere around $10 for it! Also found the 2-volume Ritson and a very nice leather-bound Kinloch that day. I was in clover! God, what a great bookstore!

Lucky Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 14 Mar 99 - 11:51 PM

Sandy, I spent all my precious little time in Edinburgh making a contents listing of the Skene MS and G. F. Graham's partial transcript of the lost Straloch Lute MS. I got the bawdy titles than Dauney didn't mention in 'Ancient Scottish Melodies'.

Thanks John,
Let try for another; the earlier title of "The Flower(s) of Edinburgh" was "My loves bonny when she smiles on me". I've never seen a song for that ("Flowers" excepted), either. "The False Knight Upon the Road" obviously has nothing in common with that title. Anyone have one?


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Martin Ryan
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 08:14 AM

Back to the "fly". The Oxford English Dictionary gives a 17th C.meaning as "a familiar demon" (i.e. a live-in demon rather than one we all know about!). This is all very well but it means the story is geven away at the very beginning.

Regards

p.s. The word was later used for a "printer's devil", by association. Hence the word "flyer".

Mary
I'll comne back to Maighread's recordings another time - if John Moulden doesn't oblige with a nice comprehensive listing. That said - I seem to remember hearing recently that she has her first solo CD in production at the moment.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Sandy Paton
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 12:49 PM

Brilliant, Martin! Why didn't any of the rest of us think to look up the bloody word? Because we were assuming that it was a folk corruption of something else. Should we put this one down to academic arrogance?

Humbly,

Sandy


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 01:04 PM

I've had OED on my want list for years. I guess it's really gotten to be time to get it. Anyone had any experieces with the CD ROM version? How easy/hard to use it is? It was pretty expensive the last time I looked.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 02:11 PM

The full text version of "The False Knight upon the Road" in the Introduction to 'Minstrelsy: Ancient and Modern' (Child #3A) was that from a Mrs Dole or Doll of Galloway. Except for spelling it is identical to that in Emily Lyle's 'Andrew Crawfurd's Collection of Ballads', I, #31, where she notes, p. 213, that it was in Motherwell's introduction. [Crawfurd and Motherwell got songs from many of the same sources, often through Thomas MacQueen. Andrew Blaikie collected 10 of Thomas's sister Mary MacQueen's tunes and gave them in the Appendix of Motherwell's 'Minstrelsy'. See Emily Lyle's book for these. For the cassettte tape of Mary MacQueen's ballads to her tunes see the introduction on my website homepage.]


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Mary
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 06:42 PM

The response to my request for some words has all been so fascinating. Many thanks - I am amazed at the response.

I have a few reference books - including "Songs of the People" John, but nothing like your valuable libraries.

Anyway, with the response from John Moulden, I think I can finish the song. I believe Maireadh is singing:

"Then he went all in flames did the false false fly with the lovely little child on the road."


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 06:54 PM

Maybe "knight" is in fact a corruption of "fly", then, and we've all been singing it wrong for years!:) If you sing it fast with a slur or accent, the mistake could be natural.

Now "Lord of the Flies" makes perfect sense. I never knew of that meaning. Do you have the big, lovely OED that costs $$$$? The best I've every reached is the two-volume version.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Martin _Ryan
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 07:34 PM

Tim

I have to confess its the college's copy of the OED! What's more, the bloody print is so small that mty varifocals have a hard time coping!

Bruce

The same thought about the CDROM version has been in my mind for some time. Must have a look.

Regards


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: John Moulden
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 07:38 PM

Martin Ryan's comment that the chorus if one knows that "fly" means a demon - "gives the game away", gives me an excuse to air an idea I have about the absolute nature rather than the "relativity" of versions. By this I mean that each version should be considered in isolation; in traditional terms each one has its own validity because it usually exists in isolation from other versions. It's only quasi-scholars like ourselves who insist on viewing what are actually autonomous songs as if they represent a continuum. Archie McKeegan, a wonderful stylish singer from north Antrim (in Ireland) and recently dead, sang a song which any of us would have said was a confusion of The Stately Southerner and The Banks of Newfoundland - that indeed was how it came about, but it was actually a wonderful song in its own right. I suppose I'm talking about artistic rather than historical integrity.

Thus it is that the False, False Fly version of the "False Knight on the Road" has a final verse about it being the devil only and precisely because the meaning of the chorus has been lost. If the term fly is understood then there is no need for an explanation - the child doesn't need to say "'Twas the devil in disguise" because everybody has known that all along.

The question is - are there any false false fly versions which lack the explanatory verse? Also, is there any mileage in assuming that the false fly is more "archetypical"; that versions with only the final explanation have firstly gained the explanation because the 17th century meaning of fly has been lost and then have lost the false fly chorus because it had no apparent point.

John Moulden


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: John Moulden
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 08:26 PM

Gotcha! Maureen na Gibberlan is printed in a composite but still incomplete (because of its structure) version as "The jolly weaver" in the Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society volume 4 (1905 I think) page 20/21. I still remember another reference somewhere but I'll have to continue the hunt. I think, since this is off the thread, that any interested body, unable to trace the Journal, could ask for the words privately - jmoul81075@aol.com

John Moulden with apologies for successive posts to the one thread.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 09:48 PM

This is embarassing. I apparently got so wound up in making a complete listing of the songs in JIFSS (unaware at the time that Donal O'Sullivan had already done that) that I didn't stop to look carefully at the song. It's listed in the Irish folk songs in Journals on my website.
I found my sparse notes on Bunting's article later in the volume (Yankee Doodle is Irish according to him), and Alice Bunten's reply the following year, but nothing on the songs in vol. IV (I have xerox of title page only for that volume).


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 15 Mar 99 - 10:05 PM

Good Lord, that should be W. Grattan Flood, not Bunting. An Edward Bunting also wrote an article and a 'Prospectus for a General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland 'in vol. IV of JIFSS.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Tim Jaques tjaques@netcom.ca
Date: 16 Mar 99 - 06:41 PM

Which Banks of Newfoundland? I know at least three separate songs that go by that name.


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: John Moulden
Date: 17 Mar 99 - 09:10 AM

The part of the Banks of Newfoundland which Archie McKeegan sang was part of the one which often begins - "You western ocean labourers"

John


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Art Thieme
Date: 18 Mar 99 - 09:34 PM

...and, to my mind, false "fly", is simply (and obviously) a "zipper" verse!!

ART THIEME


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: GUEST,geri&blackbush
Date: 17 Mar 00 - 03:58 AM

missing words first line, last verse are: then he went ON IN FLAMES....


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: Crowhugger
Date: 17 Mar 00 - 05:37 AM

My 2¢...

...as to the meaning of the song...I hear the lyrics allegorically. It sounds for all the world to me like a sanitized Brothers Grimmish "beware the pedophile." And like any good allegory, the warning/meaning will vary with the listener's state of guilt, er, that is state of mind.

CH


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 20 Mar 00 - 06:42 PM

CH

The same thought had occurred to me - but I keep taking off my 20th/21st centruy spectacles and wondering if that makes a difference. Certainly when I sing it now, that's the sense people draw from it.

Regards


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Subject: RE: The False Fly
From: GUEST,outdoor@active.ch
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 04:05 PM

I guess the missing line in the last verse is:

Then he went on in flames

Reinhold Moellenbeck, Uster, Switzerland


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FALSE FALSE FLY (Jane Siberry)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Oct 01 - 04:31 PM

This fan site for Canadian singer-songwriter Jane Siberry has lyrics that are very similar to those posted in the first message.
-Joe Offer-


THE FALSE FALSE FLY

'O and where are you going?' said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
'I am going to my school,' said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

'O what have you in your bag?' said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
'Me bread and me books,' said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

'Will you come along with me?' said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
'No, I won't come with you,' said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

'I will give you a ball,' said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
'Ah, but you'd be Lord of all,' said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

'What is rounder than a ball?' said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
'The earth is rounder than a ball,' said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

'What is higher than the sky?' said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
'Heaven is higher than the sky,' said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

'What is deeper than the sea?' said the False False Fly
To the lovely little child on the road
'Hell is deeper than the sea,' said the lovely little child
She was only but seven years old

Then he flew away in flames
Did the False False Fly
From the lovely little child on the road
'Twas the devil in disguise
Was the False False Fly'
Said the lovely little child on the road


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 01:08 PM

Len Graham of Northern Ireland has a version of the False Knight on his CD "The One Tradition: traditional Ulster songs for all the family." (Cranagh Music CMCD 4450, 2004). I caught him at the 2007 Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Mall in Washington, DC.

He sings a version very similar to the first one in the thread:


Oh. where are you going?
Said the false false knight
to the lovely little child on the road
I am going to my school
said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old.

What have you in your bag?
Said the false false knight
to the lovely little child on the road
I have my bread and books
Said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old.

Will you come along with me?
Said the false false knight
To the lovely little child on the road
No, I won't go with you
Said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old

I will give you a ball
Said the false false knight
To the lovely little child on the road
Then you'll be lord of all
Said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old

What is longer than the way?
Said the false false knight
To the lovely little child on the road
Love is longer than the way
Said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old.

What is higher than the tree?
Said the false false knight
to the lovely little child on the road
Heaven's higher than the tree
Said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old.

What is deeper than the sea
Said the false false knight
to the lovely little child on the road
Hell is deeper than the sea
said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old

Then he turned into fire
this false false knight
to the lovely little child on the road
'Twas the devil in disguise
Said the lovely little child
who was only but seven years old.

The tune is identical to one I heard from Merle Roessler, who sings "False, False Fly" (and who got it from an unnamed, unknown source on the radio).
I inquired of Len as to his source. He told me he got his version from Bridge[t?] McGowan for Connemara, and that he deliberately changed "fly" back into "knight"--it was "fly" in Ms. McGowan's rendition. This version and variants seem to have had some circulation in Co. Galway of Ireland.

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:28 PM

I may be mistaken, but doesn't Len Graham sing it to the "Temperance Reel", diddling the B part?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 06:59 PM

It may be relevant that "Beelzebub" literally means "Lord of the Flies" - the flies in this case being the kind that buzz around looking for meat.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 07:03 PM

But the idea that surprise and plot twists are significant in ballads is a bit suspect. Surely the assumption is rather that the listeners know the plot, and are joining in the process of re-imagining it as they hear it unfold again.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: Charlie Baum
Date: 09 Jul 07 - 08:08 PM

Len Graham's tune is the same as Jane Siberry's (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mT8rPfiGVQ ) (minus the percussion track).

--Charlie Baum


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE FALSE FALSE FLY
From: Barry Finn
Date: 10 Jul 07 - 01:32 AM

One of my daughter's favorites. Barry Gleason does an excellent rendition of this on his CD "Path across the Ocean". Of this version he says it was collected by Angela Bourke in 1775/76 & her source was Brid an Gamha, Carna, Co. Galway.

THE FALSE, FALSE FLY

"Oh, where are you going?"
Said the false, false knight
To the lovely little child on the road.
"I am going to my school"
Said the lovely little child
Who was only but seven years old.

"What have you in your bag?"
Said the false, false knight
To the lovely little child on the road.
"I have my bread and books"
Said the lovely little child
Who was only but seven years old.

"Will you come along with me?"
Said the false, false knight
To the lovely little child on the road.
"No, I won't go with you"
Said the lovely little child
Who was only but seven years old.

"I will give you a ball"
"Yeah, but you'd be lord of all"

"What is rounder nor a ring"
"The earth is rounder nor a ring"

"What is higher than that tree?"
"Heaven's higher than that tree"

"What is deeper than the sea?"
"Hell is deeper than the sea"

Then he went all on fire
'Twas the devil in disguise.

Barry


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: MartinRyan
Date: 15 Jul 07 - 03:45 PM

Make that 1975/76 for the collection....

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 08:54 AM

The Barry version from Maine in JAFS 24 referred to above (I think with wrong year) is a single fragmentary verse. The full entry for th e song is:



NEW BALLAD TEXTS
BY PHILLIPS BARRY. A.M.
The following texts of six old ballads are from my collection, made during the years 1903-11.


 I.THE FALSE KNIGHT UPON THE ROAD (Child, 3)

 I. "What have you in your bottle, my dear little lad?"
 Quo the fol fol Fly on the road,
 "I have some milk for myself for to drink!"
 Said the child, who was seven years old.

In this text the words "fol fol Fly" are very likely corrupted from "foul, foul Fiend;" that is, the Devil. Fragmentary as it is, the text is interesting as attesting the survival, in America, of a ballad supposed to be long extinct, and, furthermore, as retaining a form of the theme more primitive than that of Motherwell's version.




The journal is available at archive.org: JAFS 24 p344

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 10:13 AM

Thanks Mick. Re Barry's comment - no need to corrupt Fly to Fiend - it already had that meaning!

Regards


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: GUEST,Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 12:05 PM

Martin

I was thinking about your comments above when I read Barry's note. He should have invested in the OED!

Mick


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The False Fly
From: GUEST,Martin Ryan
Date: 16 Mar 18 - 12:53 PM

Mick

I now have an app version of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on my iPad - invaluable!

Regards


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