#02295

Eggs And Marrow-Bones - Var A
(Kenneth Peacock)
See also: Eggs And Marrow Bones (Figgy Duff)
And also: The Old Woman From Wexford
(The Fables)

Click to jump down to Variant B.

There was an old woman in our town,
The truth to you I'll tell,
She loved her husband dearly,
And another twice as well.
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

Oh she went down to the doctor's
To see what she could find,
To see what she could get
To make her old man blind.
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

"Oh you get three a-marbles
And pound them very small,
And give them to your old man
And make him suck them all."
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

Oh she got three a-marbles
And pound them very small,
And gave them to the old man
And made him suck them all.
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

"Oh and now I'm old and feeble
And tired of my life,
I think I'll go and drown myself
If you will lead me, wife."
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

"Oh for you to go and drown yourself
I think it is a shame,
But I will go along with you
And help you just the same."
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

Oh they walked along together
Till they came to the river's brim,
Now he said, "I will not drown myself
Unless you push me in."
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

The old woman made an offer
For to push the old man in,
And so nimbly he stepped one side,
And foremost she went in.
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

Oh she screamed and she hollered
Just as loud as she could bawl;
Now he said, "My dear beloved wife
I can't see you at all."
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

The old man was weak-hearted
To think that she could swim,
So he got a great long cedar pole
And pushed her further in.
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

Oh now she is gone,
She is gone into some hole,
Where the sharks will eat her body
And the devil will take her soul.
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day,
     Mash a too da noo da noo da noo,
     A too da Nancy day.

This variant was collected in 1958 from Isaac Freeman Bennett [1896-1981] of St Paul's, NL, by Kenneth Peacock and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.261-262, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Eggs And Marrow-Bones - Var B
(Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump back up to Variant A.

There was an old woman in our town,
In our town did dwell,
She loved her husband dearly,
And another man twice as well.
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

The woman went to the doctor
Some medicine for to find,
Saying, "Doctor, have you medicine
To set my old man blind?"
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

"You give him eggs and marrow-bones,
And give them to him raw,
They'll make your old man so blind
He won't see you at all."
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

She gave him eggs and marrow-bones,
She gave them to him raw,
It set her old man so blind
He couldn't see her at all.
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

"I'm getting old and feeble,
I'm tired of my life,
I think I'll go and drown myself
And make away with my life."
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

"For you to go and drown yourself
I think 'twould be a sin."
But I will go along with you
And help to shove you in."
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

They rod' along together
Till they came to the river's brim,
"He sent you here to drown yourself,
I'm here to shove you in."
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

The old woman made a rush
For to push her husband in,
But the old man he stepped aside
And she went tumbling in.
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

She hollered and she yelled it out
As loud as she could bawl,
But the answer that he said to her:
"I can't see you at all.".
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

She fended up and down the shore
Along the river's brim,
When the old man took his walking-stick
And pushed her farther in.
     To me whack fall lair all I doh,
     To me whack fall little I day.

This variant was collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1960 from Leonard Hulan [1881-1964] of Jeffrey's, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, pp.263-264, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

####.... Author unknown. Both of the above versions are variants of a British broadside ballad, The Old Wife Of Slapsadam [Laws Q2] G Malcolm Laws, American Balladry From British Broadsides (1957). ....####
A variant was recorded as The Old Woman From Wexford by Great Big Sea - Pre GBS (Rankin Street Tape - Live At The Blarneystone, 1991)

See more songs by Great Big Sea.

A variant was also recorded as The Old Woman From Wexford by The Fables, Tear The House Down, September, 1998. Performing rights administered by SOCAN. All rights reserved.

See more songs by The Fables.

Kenneth Peacock noted that there is more in this charming little homicidal ditty than first meets the eye. It is possible the old lady was a witch, because in a fragment from New England, society gains its revenge by drowning her. In Witchcraft In Old And New England, Kittredge tells of a witch's punishment by drowning recorded in a ninth or tenth century land deed in Northamptonshire. But the explanation Peacock favoured goes back much further than this - to the times of Hammurabi in ancient Babylonia where a woman suspected of adultery was required to jump into the sacred river and take her chances with the fates. If she floated, she was fished out as innocent; but if she sank, her body was allowed to descend into the nether regions where presumably 'the sharks would eat her body and the devil would take her soul.'

Click to jump back up to Variant A.

Click to jump back up to Variant B.


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