Betty Mull's Squeel
DESCRIPTION: "She tauk's aboot Judas and said he was coorse, Bit a braw stock was Aul' Abraham; She thocht his graifstane was aye to be seen On a knap [knoll] up abeen Kaper-naum"
EARLIEST DATE: 1908 (GreigDuncan3)
KEYWORDS: humorous nonballad religious
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Greig #29, p. 2, "Betty Mull's Squeel" (1 text)
GreigDuncan3 684, "Betty Mull's Squeel" (1 text)
NOTES: The current description is all of the Greig/GreigDuncan3 fragment.
Abraham is buried in the cave of Machpelah [Genesis 25.10] at Hebron, not Capernaum at the Sea of Galilee. - BS
[With however a footnote: The cave at Machpelah is not mentioned outside of Genesis (the bones of Joseph were carried out of Egypt, with the presumption that they were to be buried at Machpelah -- but Joshua 24:32 says they were buried at Shechem. One might speculate that Machpelah was still in Canaanite hands at the time of the burial). However, a tradition preserved its location; indeed, we have various accounts of Christians and Moslems visiting the shrine, and indeed built shrines about it. We know that Crusaders visited it in the early twelfth century -- and where Crusaders found relics, they stole them. Often they carried them in battle, and there were battles by the Sea of Galilee. So it is possible that, in fact, some of Abraham's bones do rest near Capernaum. A Scottish folksinger wouldn't know this, of course. More likely someone who didn't hear the name clearly converting the unfamiliar "Machpelah" to "Capernaum" or "Caphernahum" by dropping the first syllable. - RBW]
Greig: "Betty's seminary ... her teaching seems to have been of the true dame-school order." - BS
"Dame schools" being a common phenomenon in nineteenth century Britain, in which a woman took in children allegedly to educate them but mostly to keep them out of their parents' hair. Dickens has a description of an extreme example of school and teacher in chapter seven of Great Expectations: "She was a ridiculous old woman of limited means and unlimited infirmity who used to go to sleep from six to seven every evening in the society of youth who paid twopence per week each for the improving opportunity of seeing her do it." - RBW
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