Two Sisters Courted One
DESCRIPTION: Shanty call-and-response. Response: "Oh, huro, my boys." Calls: "Two sisters courted one ... And they lived in the mountains..."
EARLIEST DATE: 1811 (_Landsman Hay_, per Hugill; see NOTES)
KEYWORDS: courting shanty
FOUND IN: West Indies(Jamaica)
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Abrahams-WIShanties, p. 16, ("Two sisters courted one") (1 fragment)
NOTES [204 words]: Jamaican stevedores at a capstan in 1811 (Robert Hay, Landsman Hay: The Memoirs of Robert Hay 1789-1847, Ed. By M.D. Hay (1953)) quoted by Hugill, cited, in turn, by Abrahams-WIShanties (Stan Hugill, Shanties from the Seven Seas (Mystic: Mystic Seaport, 2003 reprint of 1994), p. 8).
The description has all of the Abrahams-WIShanties fragment text. It is tempting to consider this a fragment of "The Twa Sisters" [Child 10]. In favor of that approach is that there is a Jamaican reference to Child 10 (Jekyll 3, "King Daniel") though Jekyll's is a cante fable that does not have the "two sisters loved one man" introduction in its story or song. Also in its favor is that Child 10 often has a call-and-response structure and the listeners are (assumed to be?) responders (see Henry's quote from James Warr Raine, The Land of the Saddle Bags (Mellinger E. Henry, "Still More Ballads and Folk-Songs from the Southern Highlands" in The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 45, No. 175 (Jan-Mar 1932 (available online by JSTOR)) p.2). Against putting this with [Child 10] is that there is not enough to the fragment to support the connection, and that I've not seen the "they lived in the mountains" reference elsewhere. - BS
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