Having the family all here reminds me of a song my grandpa
used to play on the fiddle. It is a little gruesome I guess, but
as a child I just thought it was plum funny.
It is an old ballad and there are many versions of it. It goes by
several different names, the one I know it as is The Brown Girl,
but here is an online version you can listen to--Lord Thomas.
The version I am typing is not exactly as I remember, but
it is the closest one I can find.
THE BROWN GIRL
1. "Mother, O mother, go riddle my sport;
Go riddle it all as one:
Must I go marry fair Alender,
Or bring the brown girl home?"
2. "The brown girl she has house and land,
Fair Alender has none;
Therefore I warn you as a blessing,
Go bring the brown girl home."
3. "Go saddle up my milk-white steed,
Go saddle him up for me;
I'll go invite fair Alender
All to my wedding meal."
4. He rode, he rode till he came to the hall;
He tingled on the ring;
Nobody so ready as Fair Alender
To rise and let him in.
5. "What news? what news?" Fair Alender cried,
"What news have you brought to me?"
"I've come to invite you to my wedding,
Is that good news to thee?"
6. "Bad news, bad news," Fair Alender cried,
"Bad news you have brought to me;
I once did think I would be your bride,
And you my bridegroom be.
7. "Mother, O mother, go riddle my sport;
Go riddle it all as one;
Must I go to Lord Thomas's wedding,
Or tarry with thee at home?"
8. She dressed herself in scarlet red,
Her maidens they dressed in green,
And every town that they rode through,
They took her to be some queen.
9. She rode, she rode, till she came to the hall;
She tingled on the ring;
Nobody so ready as Lord Thomas himself,
To rise and let her in.
10. He took her by the lily-white hand,
And led her across the hall;
And led her up to the head of the table,
Amongst the fair maids all.
11. "Is this your bride, " Fair Alender cried,
"That looks so wonderful brown?
You once could of got as fair a lady
As ever the sun shone on."
12. The brown girl had a little penknife,
It was both keen and sharp;
Between the long ribs and the short,
She entered Fair Alender's heart.
13. "What's the matter? What's the matter?" Lord
Thomas he cried.
"O don't you plainly see?
O don't you see my own heart's blood
A-trickling down by me?"
14. He took the brown girl by the hand,
He led her across the hall;
He drew (his) bright sword, he cut her head off,
And threw it against the wall.
15. He put the butt against the ground,
The point against his breast;
Here three young lovers all died to-day,
God send them all to rest!
Wonderful memories I have of sitting under the great oak
trees in my grandparents yard and listening to the background
of crickets and frogs while this and many other fiddle tunes
were played and sung.