#02155

A Tale Of Jests - Variant A (Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump down to Variant B (Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump down to Variant C (Kenneth Peacock)

Oh, when I was a little boy
to London I did go,
I went on yonder steeple
my valley for to show,
My head I left in Westminster,
my heels I let hang down,
I jumped over Piccadilly
and I never touched the ground.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

Before I reached to London
a lofty giant I spied,
He lookéd down upon me
and spoke as I passed by.
He then began to challenge me
to wrestle, fight, or run,
I beat him out at all his games
and killed him when I'd done.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

The people of this town
oh they could not understand
How they'd get that lofty giant
away out of the land.
I took him up by the nape of the neck
and his heels I let hang down,
I gave him a twitch with all my might
and I twitched him out of the town.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

They thanked me for my favour,
likewise for what I'd done,
They gave me gold and silver,
about five hundred ton,
So then I made a little box
about eight acres square,
In it I put my gold and silver
and the guineas laid so fair.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

Then I set out for Turkey,
I travelled there by ox,
And in my breeches' pocket
I put that little box,
But when I came to the Turkey shore
they turned me from the door,
They would not trust me at the court
because I was so poor.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

Oh, then I bought a little bull,
his color it was brown,
He jumped from here to London
and never touched the ground,
And when my bull he did blare out
he made the echoes sound,
He shook the walls of London town
and they all came tumbling down.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

So then I bought a flock of sheep
and all of them were wethers,
Sometimes they yield me very good wool,
more times they yield me feathers,
But of all the sheep in London town
there's none like mine to increase,
For every month in the full of the moon
they'll bring ten lambs apiece.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

So then I bought a little black hen,
of her I took great care,
I set her in a mussel shell
and she brought me forth a hare,
This hare grew up to a milk-white steed
fourteen lanyards high,
And he that tells a bigger jest
I'm sure must tell a lie!.
To my fall the diddle liddle la,
la, la, right fall the dall I day.

####.... Author unknown ....####

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1959 from George William Decker [1878-1962] of Rocky Harbour, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.24-25, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Once I Had - Variant B (Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump up to Variant A - A Tale Of Jests

Click to jump down to Variant C - The Lie Song

Once I was an infant
'bout a hundred years ago,
I took my way to London
my value for to show;
While going over London Bridge
my head I did hang down,
'Twas on my way to Maylandville[?]
I never touched the ground.
And sing fall the diddle I day,
And sing fall the diddle I day.

First I met a lion,
his head did reach the sky,
When he looked down on me
and he bid me to pass by;
When I began to challenge him
to wrestle, fight, or run,
I beat him out of all his fun
and what he had done.
And sing fall the diddle I day,
And sing fall the diddle I day.

My friends they were amazed
when they heard what I had done,
They gave me little money,
somewhere 'round fifty ton;
I built myself a little box
about an acre square,
And to the top I filled it up
all with my silver clear.
And sing fall the diddle I day,
And sing fall the diddle I day.

I thought I'd go to London,
a-travel I could not,
And in my britches pocket
this little box I put;
I bought myself a score of sheep
and thirteen of them being wethers,
And every night the moon shone bright
they'd bring two lambs together.
And sing fall the diddle I day,
And sing fall the diddle I day.

Once I had a little black dog,
a nice little dog was he,
Around the world in a half a day
this little dog carried me;
His legs were eighteen lanyards high
and his ears were twelve feet wide,
Around the world in a half a day
on this little dog I did ride.
And sing fall the diddle I day,
And sing fall the diddle I day.

Oh, once I had a little black hen,
of her I took great care,
I set her on a mussel shell,
she brought me forth two hares;
Two hares brought forth so fine a colt
'bout eighteen lanyards high,
And if ever you hear a funnier joke
you'll hear a great big lie!
And sing fall the diddle I day,
And sing fall the diddle I day.

####.... Author unknown ....####

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1958 from Isaac Freeman Bennett [1896-1981] of St Paul's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, p.26, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

The Lie Song - Variant C (Kenneth Peacock)
See also: The Lie (MacEdward Leach)

Click to jump up to Variant A - A Tale Of Jests

Click to jump up to Variant B - Once I Had

Oh, when I was but a little boy
about a two weeks old,
All for to show my value
a-walking I did go,
I touched my heels up to the sky,
I let my head hang down,
I travelled 'bout ten thousand miles,
I never touched the ground.
I sung whack fall diddle I day.

Oh, I met an awful giant
and his head reached to the sky,
He came gazing down upon me
as I were passing by,
He tells me how to fight, my boys,
to wrestle and to run,
I beat him out at all his tricks
and killed him when I was done.
I sung whack fall diddle I day.

Then the people rushed around me
to see what I had done,
Oh, they gave me a litte money,
about a-fifty ton,
I built myself a little box
about eighty acres square,
I filled it up right to the rim
with all bright silver clear.
I sung whack fall diddle I day.

Then I started out for London
all over hills and rocks,
And in my waistcoat pocket
I carried my little box,
But when I got to London
they kicked me out of doors,
They would not let me in the house
because I was too poor.
I sung whack fall diddle I day.

Then I bought myself a flock of sheep,
of course they were all wethers,
Sometimes they brought me wool,
and sometimes they brought me feathers,
They were a beautiful flock of sheep
so fast they did increase
That every time the moon would change
they'd bring six lambs a piece.
I sung whack fall diddle I day.

Then I bought myself a coal-black hen
as you may plainly hear,
I sot her on a mussel shell,
she brought me forth a hare,
She brought me forth a hare, my boys,
'bout eighteen lanyards high,
And if I sing you another song
I'll sing you a bigger lie.
I sung whack fall diddle I day.

####.... Author unknown ....####

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1960 from Garland Augustus Ford [1897-?] of Port Aux Basques, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, p.28, by the National Museum Of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Click to jump up to Variant A - A Tale Of Jests

Click to jump up to Variant B - Once I Had

Click to jump up to Variant C - The Lie Song

Kenneth peacock noted that this nursery ballad is not often represented in collections, so it is all the more unusual to find three different variants from Newfoundland. Another variant collected by A P Hudson may be found in Folksongs of Mississippi. Also, in Nursery Rhymes From Maine, William Wells Newell quotes a text which he says was given to him by the American poet James Russell Lowell, who found it in Maine just before his death. It is generally supposed to be a rhymed version of Jack The Giant Killer.

A similar variant of The Lie Song above was collected from Mrs Bride Power [1896-1967] of Tors Cove, NL, and published as The Lie in MacEdward Leach And The Songs Of Atlantic Canada © 2004 Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive (MUNFLA).

From The Free Dictionary: Wethers - castrated rams.

GEST notes that the word 'sot' appears several times in the Dictionary Of Newfoundland English, usually within quotations which serve as examples of usage for defined words. The word itself is obscurely defined on page two of the Introduction to the Dictionary. It is used in this song as the past tense of the verb 'sit' or 'set' spoken with a Newfoundland dialect.


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