Jack and the Robber

Jack and the Robber
There was an old farmer I’m going to tell you plain,
He had a servant boy and Jack was his name;
For he said to him, “Jack, take the cows to the fair,
For she’s in good order for all I can spare.”
With me fol the diddle I do, fol the diddle ay.
As sung by Danny Brazil, Gloucester 12 May 1966 (Springthyme 66.6.11). In: Shepheard, Peter. Folk Songs and Ballads of the Brazil Family of Gloucester (1967).

There was an old farmer I’m going to tell you plain,
He had a servant boy and Jack was his name;
For he said to him, “Jack, take the cows to the fair,
For she’s in good order for all I can spare.”
With me fol the diddle I do, fol the diddle ay.

Jack drove the cow straight out of the barn,
And in to the fair the cow simply run;
He wasn’t there long before he met three men,
And there he sold the cow for thirteen pound ten.

Jack went into the public for to get a drink,
And there to the landlady in ready money jinked;
“Where shall I put this money,” to the servant he did say,
“For I’m feared on the road it is robbed I shall be.”
With me fol the diddle I do, fol the diddle ay.

“In the lining of your coat, you may sew it so,” says she,
“I am feared on the road it is robbed you will be.”
For the robber in the room he sat drinking up his wine,
And he swore to himself all this money shall be mine.
With me fol the diddle I do, fol the diddle ay.

Now Jack left the public and started for home,
The robber followed after him straight out of the room;
“I’d be glad of your company young man he did say,
And he jumped to the saddle and he rode straight away.”

For they jogged along together till they came to the bine of a lane, [bine: entrance to
“And now,” said the robber, “I’m going to tell you plain;
You come deliver up your money without any more delay,
Or this very same moment your life I’ll take away.”

Jack throwed the money out of the lining of his coat,
And all about the green grass he sowed it all about;
While the robber was picking up the money that was sown amongst the grass,
Jack jumped in the saddle and he rode away his horse.

For its one of the servants saw Jack coming home,
And in to the master he simply did run;
“Oh master, oh master oh here comes Jack and I think he’s had a swop,
And how did the old cow turn into a horse?”

“Oh master, oh master I mean to tell you plain,
I met a bold robber on the highway that I came;
While he were picking up the money that was sown amongst the grass,
For to bring you home commission sir I brought you home his horse.”

When the saddlebags was opened it’s there they behold,
Five hundred bright guineas and some silver and some gold;
A good pair of pistols the old farmer dewelled,
He said, “Well done Jack, for you well sold the cow.”
With me fol the diddle I do, fol the diddle ay.

Song also known as The Crafty Farmer and The Yorkshire Bite. (Child 283; Roud 2637, Laws L1).

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