Oh, Mister Revel (Did You Ever See the Devil?)

DESCRIPTION: "Oh, Mr. Revel! Did you ever see the devil With wooden spade and shovel A-digging up the gravel With his long toe-nail?" (or "with his tail cocked up," etc.). The devil, or his wife, or his children, may dig potatoes, or tin (in Cornwall), or shoot birds
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1892 (Northall)
KEYWORDS: devil work nonballad
FOUND IN: US(SE) Britain(England(West))
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore3 141, "Oh, Mr. Revel" (2 short texts)
Scarborough-OnTheTrailOfNegroFolkSongs, p. 284, (no title) (2 fragments)
Henry-SongsSungInTheSouthernAppalachians, p. 252, "Did Ye Ever See the Divil" (1 short text)
ADDITIONAL: Tony Deane and Tony Shaw _The Folklore of Cornwall_, B. T. Batsford, 1975, p. 68, "(Here's to the Devil, with his wooden spade and shovel)" (1 short text)
G. F. Northall, _English Folk Rhymes_, Kegan Paul, 1892, p. 306, "(Here's to the devil, With his wooden pick and shovel)"; "(Have you seen the devil, With his wood and iron shovel)" (1 text plus a fragment)

Roud #16319
cf. "Did You Ever, Ever, Ever" (theme)
cf. "Did You Ever See the Divil?" (lyrics, theme)
cf. "Yonder Comes the Devil" (theme, lyrics)
NOTES [87 words]: This is a very amorphous family of rhymes linked mostly by the first line "Did you ever see the devil?"; I probably gave it the wrong name because the first versions I encountered were both rather odd. It seems to be widespread but perhaps to have often been concealed from folklorists.
Christina Smith says that the lyric "Did you ever see the devil with his wooden spade and shovel, Did you ever see the devil with his ears sticking up" is a Newfoundland fiddler's mnemonic for a tune commonly called "Stack of Barley." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
File: Br3141

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