Digital Tradition Mirror

The Tod (A)

The Tod (A)

     "Eh," quo the tod, "It's a braw licht nicht,
     The win's i the wast, an the mune shines bricht,
     The win's i the wast, an the mune shines bricht,
     An I'll awa to the toun, O.

     "I was doun amang yon shepherd's scroggs,
     I'd like tae hae been worried by his dogs;
     But by my sooth I minded his hoggs
     When I cam to the toun, O."

     He's taen the grey goose by the green sleeve,
     "Eh! ye auld witch nae langer sall ye leeve;
     Your flesh it is tender, your banes I maun prieve;
     For that I cam to the toun, O!"

     Up gat the auld wife oot o her bed,
     An oot o the window she shot her head,
     "Eh, gudeman! the grey goose is dead,
     An the tod has been i the toon, O!"

     The Tod an's wife
     They made a strife;
     They never eatit saut
     To their meat in their life,
     Nor yet eatit it wi' a fork or a knife,
       But rieve it fae the bone O'.

     The Tod's wife she was brocht to bed,
     An' saeven bra' young tods she haed,
     An' she wished for a bit o' gaeslin' meat
       Afore her lyin' doun O'.

     The Tod said--
       "As I cam by yon barn yards,
     Geese an' gaeslins saw I there,
     An' the fattest o' them 'll creesh my beard,
     Afore I gang fae the toun O';"
     An' the grey geese she got word o' that,
     An' in ahin' the stack she crap,
     Saying--"wae's my heart that I'm sae fat,
     For the Tod's aboot the toun O'."

     An' the auld Tod he got word o' that,
     An' in ahin' the stack he crap,
       An' up wi' the grey geese upon his back,
       An' wished he war fae the toun O'.

     (1) Burnett BSV (1932), 84; Montgomerie SNR (1946) 32
     (no. 23); N. Buchan 101 Scottish Songs (1962), 137, with
     music (differs: 2.4 The nicht I cam tae the toun O. 4.2
     her auld head 4.4 An' the tod's been in the toun, O).
     Moffat 50 TSNR (1933), 25, with tune; omits st. 2; var.
     of 3.2 above He's ta'en the goose by the grey green

The tune is a variant of Ah vous dirais-je maman.  Stanza 1
is quoted by Sir Walter Scott (c. 1826) in correspondence
with C.K. Sharpe (see Laing's ed. of A Ballad Book, 1880,
157), calling it "An excellent song of old Soph. Johnstone."
Suphy Johnston was the sister of Lucy Johnston of Hilton (d.
1797), a beautiful woman and accomplished: she composed
several Scottish dance tunes, many of which are in the Gow
collections.  Suphy was a famous Edinburgh eccentric, who
made a hobby of blacksmithing, and played the fiddle herself.
One of her favourite tunes, The Bridegroom Grat, furnished
the (original) air of Lady Anne Barnard's well-known song
"Auld Robin Gray".

     (2) A perhaps garbled version from Aberdeen: Paul, Past
     & Present (1881), 151 (no. 14).
     See further ODNR 173-5 (no. 171).


Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!

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