Wee Wifikie, The
DESCRIPTION: The Wee Wifikie takes too much drink, and lies down to rest. A peddler steals her purse and cuts her hair. She awakens and finds herself changed. She thinks she is not herself. She tells her husband, who asks the minister, who reassures him all is well
AUTHOR: Alexander Watson ? Rev. Alexader Geddes ? (see NOTES)
EARLIEST DATE: 1797 (Scots Musical Museum)
KEYWORDS: husband wife humorous hair drink dog theft thief disguise
FOUND IN: Ireland Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
SHenry H714, pp. 513-514, "The Wee Wifukie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hayward-Ulster, pp. 49-51, "The Wee Wifiekee" (1 text)
Ford-Vagabond, pp. 23-26, "The Wee Wifukie" (1 text, 1 tune)
GreigDuncan2 287, "The Wee Wifikie" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Whitelaw-Song, pp. 76-77, "The Wee Wifukie" (1 text)
Opie-Oxford2 535, "There was a little woman" (2 texts, the first of which is "The Old Woman Who Went to Market (The Old Woman and the Pedlar)" but the second of which is this)
ST HHH714 (Full)
cf. "Whiskey Is My Name (Donald Blue)"
cf. "The Old Woman Who Went to Market (The Old Woman and the Pedlar)" (theme, lyrics)
The Wee Wifeikie
There Was a Wee Bit Wiffikie
NOTES: Grieg/Duncan mentions a pamphlet (1921) by William Walker, presenting evidence that this song was written by Alexander Watson (c. 1744-1831) in the years around 1775. Ford, however, credits it to one Dr. Alexander Geddes (1737-1802), and is followed in this by the Opies.
J. M. Bulloch, on p. 144 of W. A. Craigie, John Buchan, Peter Giles, and J. M. Bulloch, The Scottish Tongue: A Series of Lectures on the Vernacular Language of Lowland Scotland, 1922 (?) (I use the 1970 McGrath reprint), notes that the Watson manuscript in the British Museum uses "frae" for "from," even though this was not Watson's (or Geddes's) dialect. Make of that what you will.
The song, if composed, seems to have come somewhat unraveled in tradition; the audience is too often left asking "Why?" (Why, e.g., did the peddler clip the Wifikie's hair? Steal her purse, yes, but why risk being caught cutting her hair?)
The Opies compare this and "The Old Woman Who Went to Market (The Old Woman and the Pedlar)" to the Grimm tale of "Kluge Else" and to a tale in Asbjornsen and Moe. - RBW
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