The Little Ball of Yarn

Elizabeth Stewart, Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire: On Autumn Harvest ah011: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads 8: The Little Ball of Yarn Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2011.

This widely known humorous, erotic song very likely derives from a song known to Robert Burns as The Yellow Yellow Yorlin that is included in the Merry Muses. Elizebeth had her version from her mother Jean and aunt Lucy whose version was collected by American folklorist Kenneth Goldstein from the family in 1959 and which he included in his Buchan Bawdry manuscipt. There are many versions known throught the British Isles and in North America and the song has often been recorded. Roud 1404 Kennedy 180

1: One fine day in May I took a walk one day,
Doun by ma grandfather's farm;
I met a pretty maid and this is what I said,
"May I wind up your little ball of yarn?"

2: I took this pretty maid underneath the shade,
Not intending for tae do her any harm;
But I took her by surprise and I layed between her thighs,
And I winded up her little ball of yarn.

3: This pretty maid she raise and the pulled doun her claes,
And it's straight to her grandma she did rin;
But for me I wis never seen as I skipped across the green,
After winding up her little ball of yarn.

4: Come aa you young men, never stop oot aifter ten,
Not intending for tae do any harm;
For as soon as they lie doun, you've got tae pey your sweet half croun,
For the winding of the little ball of yarn.

5: Come aa you young maids tak a warnin tae what I say,
Never rise up too early in the morn;
For like the blackbird and the thrush, there'll be someone behind the bush,
That will wind up your little ball of yarn.

c p 2012 Autumn Harvest :