#01207
The Black Sheep (MacEdward Leach)

In a quiet little village not very far away,
There dwelled an old and aged man
whose locks were pure and grey;
He had three sons, three only ones,
both Jack and Tom were shy,
But Ted was honest as the day
and would not tell a lie.

They did their best to ruin Ted
in their old man's eyes,
At last their poison did its work
and Ted was much despised;
One day the old man said be gone,
"You're heartless to the core."
These were the words the black sheep said
as he stood outside the door.

"Don't be angry with me,
Dad, don't turn me from your door,
I know that I've been wayward,
I won't be any more;
Just give me another chance,
just put me to the test,
You'll find the black sheep loves his dad
far better than the rest."

Year by year crept slowly on,
the father, now grown old,
Called Jack and Tom to him one day
and gave to them his gold;
Saying, "I only need this little room
and place by your fireside."
One day as Jack was coming home
he brought with him a bride.

The wife began to hate the father
more and more each day,
At last he heard the three declare,
"The old fool is in the way!"
They then agreed to send him
to a workhouse that was near,
And like a flash the black sheep's words
kept ringing in his ear.

"Don't be angry with me, Dad,
don't turn me from your door,
I know that I've been wayward,
I won't be any more;
Just give me another chance,
just put me to the test,
You'll find the black sheep loves his dad
far better than the rest."

A wagon drives up to the door,
it is the poorhouse van,
The brothers pointed to their dad saying,
"There that is your man"
Just then a manly form appeared
and pushed in through the crowd,
"Stand back ye brutes!" the stranger said,
"This will not be allowed.

"You took the old man's property
and all that he could save,
You even sold the little plot
containing his wife's grave;
I am your son but not your kin
from now till Judgement Day."
The old man grasped the black sheep's hand,
the crowd then heard him say.

"Don't be angry with me, lad,
I turned you from my door,
I know that I've been hasty,
I repent it o'er and o'er;
I wish I gave to you my gold
for you have stood the test,
I found the black sheep loves his dad
far better than the rest."

####.... Author unknown. Possibly an American stage song ....####

Sung by Annie Whalen [1913-?] of Cape Broyle, NL, and published in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

A very similar variant was sung by Cyril O'Brien [ca.1902-?] of Trepassey, NL, and published as Black Sheep in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).


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