Beggar-Laddie, The [Child 280]

DESCRIPTION: A girl asks the shepherd what his trade is. He tells her, then declares that he loves her "as Jacob loved Rachel of old." She decides to go with him despite his poverty. He takes her home with him and reveals that he is actually well-to-do
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1881 (Christie); also in Motherwell's and Kinloch's papers (before 1850)
KEYWORDS: work home courting money disguise
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (7 citations):
Child 280, "The Beggar-Laddie" (5 texts)
Bronson 280, "The Beggar-Laddie" (18 versions)
BronsonSinging 280, "The Beggar-Laddie" (1 version: #7)
GlenbuchatBallads, pp. 203-205, "The Gaberlunzie Laddie" (1 text)
Greig #31, p. 1, "The Beggar Laddie" (1 text)
GreigDuncan2 277, "The Beggar's Dawtie" (20 texts, 13 tunes) {A=Bronson's #7, B=#10?, C=#4, D=#5? E=#13, F=#12, G=#8, H=#9, I=#5, J=#3, K=#11, L=#15}
Ord, pp. 382-383, "The Beggar's Dawtie" (1 text)

Roud #119
cf. "The Gaberlunzie Man" [Child 279A]
cf. "The Jolly Beggar" [Child 279] and references there
The Beggar's Bride
Twas in the Bonnie Month o' June
The Beggar Prince
NOTES [297 words]: The reference to Jacob loving Rachel, or vice versa, is to Gen. 29:18 and following; it is probably offered as an example because Jacob served Laban (Rachel's brother) for seven years to win her hand (and actually wound up working for Laban for fourteen years, because he got Rachel's sister Leah also).
The reference to Judas loving gold is more of a stretch; we are told that Judas was given thirty pieces of *silver* (Matt. 26:15), and the less explicit accounts of Mark (14:11) and Luke (22:5) also mention only silver (usually rendered "money" in English translations). These references seem to be corruptions of the reading in Child's "A" text, which refers to the classical legend of Jason and the Golden Fleece. (Compare Ord's text, in which it is Jesse, not Judas, who loves "cups of gold.")
The repartee also has a strange parallel in Lewis Carroll's Through the Looking Glass. The White Knight sings a song which includes these lines:
"Who are you, aged man," I said.
"And how is it you live?"
And his answer trickled through my head
Like water through a sieve.
He said, "I look for butterflies
That sleep among the wheat....
And that's the way I get my bread --
A trifle, if you please."
William Bernard McCarthy, in the article "'Barbara Allen' and 'The Gypsy Laddie': Single-Rhyme Ballads in the Child Corpus," printed on pp. 143-154 of Thomas A. McKean, editor, The Flowering Thorn: International Ballad Studies, Utah State University Press, 2003, makes the interesting observation that there are only two ballads in the Child collection -- "The Jolly Beggar" [Child 279]/"The Gaberlunzie Man" [Child 279A] and "The Beggar-Laddie" [Child 280], which are known to cross-fertilize, which normally use the rhyme scheme aaab, with the same b rhyme in all the verses. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: C280

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