#02298

The Farmer's Curst Wife -
Var A (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: The Devil And The Farmer's Wife
(Radio YUR Folk Song Word Book)

Click to jump down to Variant B (Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump down to Variant C (Kenneth Peacock)

A farmer went out in his fields one day,
   Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
The devil came to him and this did say,
   To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
   To me twice fie lee you down.

I don't want you nor your oldest son,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
But it is your old scolding wife at home,
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

The devil he took her up on his back,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
And when he reached hell he delivered his pack,
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

All the young devils jumped over a wall,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
Saying, "Carry her home or she'll kill us all!"
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

There was a big devil sat down on a block,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
She took up a stick and she gave him a knock,
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

All the young devils jumped over a wall,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
Saying, "Carry her home or she'll kill us all!"
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

The devil he took her up on his back,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
And like a damn fool he carried her back,
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

Oh women they can be cursed if they will,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
They go to the devil, get kicked out of hell,
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

Oh when he got her in sight of home,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
She kicked all the skin off the devil's back-bone,
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

Oh women, oh women, they're born with a curse,
     Fie lee, fie lee, fie little fie lee,
When they've been to hell they're ten times worse,
     To me twice fie lee, fie little fie lee,
     To me twice fie lee you down.

This variant 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, p.265, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

The Farmer's Curst Wife -
Var B (Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump up to Variant A.

Click to jump down to Variant C.

There was an old farmer lived under the hill,
And if he's not dead he's livin' there still.
The devil he came along one day,
And these were the words I heard him say.
     He did he, he did he, fall dall the doo.

"I need a good hand to help me in hell,,
You or your son would do very well."
"Now you can't have me nor my good son,
You can have me old wife for she drinks rum."
     He did he, he did he, fall dall the doo.

And then he pelted her up on his back,
Just like an old peddler carrying his pack;
But then he came in sight of hell
Saying, "This is the place where you have to dwell."
     He did he, he did he, fall dall the doo.

And then he opened a big iron door,
He pelted her in with a thousand or more.
Ninety-nine devils strung up on a wire,
She up with her leg and kicked nine in the fire.
     He did he, he did he, fall dall the doo.

So then he pelted her up on his back,
And like an old fool he carried her back;
But when he came in sight of home
She tore the flesh off the devil's backbone.
     He did he, he did he, fall dall the doo.

Some of the women are worse than the men,
When they go down to hell they're sent back again.
I went back for the jug that I left on the shelf,
If you want any more you can sing it yourself.
     He did he, he did he, fall dall the doo.

This variant collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1961 from Patrick W Nash [1897-1972] of Branch, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, p.266, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

The Farmer's Curst Wife -
Var C (Kenneth Peacock)

Click to jump up to Variant A

Click to jump up to Variant B

There was an old (wee) man of the Hebridean race
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
There was an old (wee) man of the Hebridean race
With a nagging old wife the most of his days,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

One day the old man was a-walking the glen,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
One day the old man was a-walking the glen,
And he met the old devil saying, "How have you be'n?"
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

Says he, "My good man, I have come for your wife,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
Says he, "My good man, I have come for your wife,
For I've heard that she is the plague of your life."
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

The old devil he got her up on his back,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
The old devil he got her up on his back,
And he set her off for hell with a terrible crack.
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

And when the old devil arrived at Hell's Gate
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
And when the old devil arrived at Hell's Gate
He tumbled her down with a bump on her pate.
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

And then the old woman got up on her pins,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
And then the old woman got up on her pins,
And she gave the old devil a lash in the shins.
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

There were three more devils a-climbing the wall
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
There were three more devils a-climbing the wall
Saying, "Take her away or she'll murder us all!"
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

The old devil again got her into the sack,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
The old devil again got her into the sack,
He was three weeks going, three weeks coming back.
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

Says he, "My good man, here's your wife safe and well,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
Says he, "My good man, here's your wife safe and well,
For the likes of herself we won't have in hell!"
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

Now this proves that the women are worse than the men,
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
Now this proves that the women are worse than the men,
When they go down to hell they're sent back again.
     With a rye fall and all, diddy fall dah,
     Rye fall die fall diddy fall day.

This variant collected by Kenneth Peacock in 1961 from Howard Leopold Morry [1885-1972] of Ferryland, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Volume 1, p.266, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

Click to jump up to Variant A

Click to jump up to Variant B

Click to jump up to Variant C

####.... The three ballads above are variants of a 19th-century British ballad (Child ballad #278) The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965) ....####
Kenneth Peacock noted that women who are too much of a handful, even for the devil, are found in folklore right across Asia and Europe. These three Newfoundland versions of the tale, which are surprising dissimilar both in text and tune, have been reproduced in full. Mr Morry's Irish variant is very similar to a version sung by Burl Ives and collected from Irish immigrants in the American midwest.

A variant was published on-line in the Radio YUR Folk Song Wordbook as The Devil And The Farmer's Wife.

From Princeton University's WordNet:
Pins - pegs; sticks; informal term for the legs.


See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.


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