Fox and Hare (They've All Got a Mate But Me)

DESCRIPTION: The singer laments, "Six wives I've had and they're all dead," noting "Oh, the fox and the hare, the badger and the bear And the birds in the greenwood tree And the pretty little rabbits engaging in their habits Have all got a mate but me."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
KEYWORDS: animal love wife shrewishness marriage fight
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Flanders/Brown, p. 121, "Fox and Hare" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Scarborough-NegroFS, p. 205, "Dey All Got a Mate But Me" (1 fragment, 1 tune, probably this though it consists of little more than the "they've all got a mate but me" lines)
BrownIII 172, "The Weasel and the Rat" (1 fragment, so similar in form that I file it here though it omits the mention of a mate: "Weasel and the rat, Mosquito and the cat, Chicken and the bumble-bee; The old baboon, the fuzzy little coon; They all went wild but me.")
BrownSchinhanV 172, "The Weasel and the Rat" (1 tune plus a text excerpt)
SharpAp 239, "The Tottenham Toad" (1 text, 1 tune)

ST FlBr121 (Full)
Roud #1140 and 3624
NOTES [65 words]: Flanders and Brown claim this is from the romance of Reynard the Fox. If so, it's evolved a bit in the course of half a millennium.
The versions in fact are very diverse, and probably include material inherited from multiple sources. The key line is the one about "They all have a wife/mate but me." Mentions of six wives or six weeks of quarrelling with a single wife are also common. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: FlBr121

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