#01198
The Devil And The Farmer's Wife
(Radio YUR Folk Song Word Book)

See also: The Farmer's Cursed Wife (Kenneth Peacock)
#2562: YouTube video by leanannsidehe
©2010 ~ Used with permission ~

There was an old man lived over the hill,
If he ain't moved on, he's a-livin' there still;
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

Well, the devil came up to him one day,
Said, "One of your family I'm gonna take away."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

"Oh, please don't take my eldest son,
There's work on the farm that's got to be done."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

"All I want's that wife of yours."
"Well, you can take her with all of my heart."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

Well, he picks up the wife upon his back,
And off to hell he goes, clickety clack.
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

He carries her on about a mile down the road,
He said, "Old woman, you're a devil of a load."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

He carries her on down to the gates of hell,
He says, "Poke up the fire, we'll scorch her well."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

There were two little devils with a ball and chain,
She ups with her foot and kicks out their brains.
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

Nine little devils went climbin' up the walls,
Sayin', "Take her back, Daddy, she'll murder us all."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

Got up the next mornin' and spied thru the crack,
I seen the old devil come a-draggin' her back.
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

He said, "Here's your wife both sound and well,
If I kept her any longer, she'd a tore up hell."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

He said, "I been a devil most all my life.
But I never been in hell till I met your wife."
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

This shows that women are better than the men,
They can go down to hell and come back again.
Sing fi-fi, diddle-i-fi, diddle-i, diddle-i-ay.

####.... Author unknown. Variant of a 19th-century British ballad (Child ballad #278) The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898) edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965) ....####
This variant published on-line in the Radio YUR Folk Song Word Book.

The video above features a variant recorded by Pete Seeger (American Favorite Ballads, Vol 2, trk#23, 2003, SFR 40151, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Smithsonian Institution, 600 Maryland Avenue SW, Suite 2001, Washington, DC 20024-2520)

Three variants were collected by Kenneth Peacock and published as The Farmer's Cursed Wife in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports , Vol 1, pp.265-268, by The National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.


See more Child Ballad variants from NFLD.


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