Butcher's Daughter, The
DESCRIPTION: A squire gives the butcher's daughter gifts to sleep with him; he says falsely he will marry her. She says it must be dark to save her reputation. She hires a black woman to replace her in bed. In the morning he admits he was outwitted. They marry.
EARLIEST DATE: before 1812 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 3(2)); 18C? (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 39(162))
KEYWORDS: marriage seduction sex disguise humorous Black(s) Devil trick
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan2 312, "The Butcher's Daughter" (1 text)
Bodleian, Harding B 39(162), "The Butcher's Daughter's Policy" or "Lustful Lord Well Fitted" ("I pray now draw near, all you that love fun"), Bow Church Yard (London), 1736-1799?; also Harding B 3(2), "The Butcher's Daughter's Policy" or "Lustful Lord Well Fitted"; Firth c.26(14), "The Butcher's Daughter"
cf. "Glasgerion" [Child 67] (theme)
cf. "Jack the Jolly Tar (I) (Tarry Sailor)" [Laws K40] (theme: sex and disguise by darkness)
cf. "Jack Simpson the Sailor" (theme: sex and disguise by darkness)
cf. "The Wee Tailor from Tyrone" (theme: sex and disguise by darkness)
cf. "The Frolicksome Farmer" (theme: the hazards of sex in the dark)
NOTES: As a side theme: when he wakes the squire "ran down the stair in a terrible fright, Said I've been kissing the Devil all night." The answer is "Ye noble young squire, be not affright, I'm not the Devil, althou' I'm not white." - BS
The trick of the wrong woman being in a man's bed goes back at least to the Biblical tale of Jacob, Leah, and Rachel in the Bible (Genesis 29): Jacob wants to marry Rachel, but her father instead slips in Rachel's older sister Leah.
A situation even more similar to this one allegedly occurred in Norman history. According to Harriet O'Brien, Queen Emma and the Vikings, Bloomsbury, 2005, Duke Richard I (father of Queen Emma of England and great-Grandfather of William the Bastard/Conqueror) met a married girl named Sainsfrida and wanted to sleep with her. Rather than damage her honor, Sainsfreda had her sister Gunnor take her place in the Duke's bed. Gunnor became first Richard's senior mistress and eventually his wife.
The reverse idea -- of the wrong man slipping into a girl's bedroom at dark -- occurs in such songs as "Jack the Jolly Tar (I) (Tarry Sailor)" [Laws K40] (with a happy ending) and "Glasgerion" [Child 67] (with a tragic ending). - RBW
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