Three Butchers, The (Dixon and Johnson) [Laws L4]

DESCRIPTION: Three butchers are riding when they hear a woman calling out. They find her naked and bound. They free her; she blows a whistle which summons robbers. Two butchers yield, but Johnson fights and is close to winning when the woman stabs him from behind
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1678
KEYWORDS: outlaw trick death fight
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,NE,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(England(Lond,South),Scotland) Ireland
REFERENCES (35 citations):
Laws L4, "The Three Butchers"
Randolph 97, "Dixon and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 74-75, "Dixon and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 97)
Flanders-NewGreen, pp. 238-244, "The Three Butchers" (1 text plus a broadside version, 1 tune)
FSCatskills 111, "The Three Jolly Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig #36, p. 1, "The Three Butchers" (1 text)
GreigDuncan2 186, "The Three Jolly Butchers" (11 texts, 6 tunes)
Lyle-Crawfurd1 22, "The Three Jolly Butchers" (1 text)
Williams-Thames, pp. 275-276, "The Two Jolly Butchers" (2 texts) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 344)
Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 344, "Three Jolly Butchers" (1 text)
BroadwoodCarols, pp. 42-49, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 335, "Three Jolly Sportsmen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 254-255, "Young Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-ECS, #44, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 86, "Jackison and Dickison" (1 text)
SharpAp 60, "The Three Butchers" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Reeves-Sharp 106, "The Two Jovial Butchers" (2 texts)
RoudBishop #143, "Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H185, pp. 128-129, "The Three Huntsmen/Wilson, Gilmore, and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 24, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 80, "The Three Butchers" (2 texts)
BrownSchinhanIV 80, "The Three Butchers" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Chappell-FSRA 46, "Good Woman" (1 fragment)
Morris, #207, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 66, "The Three Butchers" (1 text)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 120-122, "The Three Jovial Huntsmen" (2 texts, 2 tunes, with the first being a peculiar variant in which the huntsmen all resist and Johnson kills the deceitful woman)
Creighton-NovaScotia 97, "The Three Gallant Huntsmen" (1 text, 1 tune; this resembles the Creighton/Senior version in which the huntsmen win the battle)
Greenleaf/Mansfield 37, "Johnson" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Peacock, pp. 817-818, "Jolly Butchermen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-Newfoundland 33, "The Three Butchers" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Leach-Labrador 59, "Three Boocher Lads" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 223, "Johnson" (1 text)
BBI, ZN782, "Did you never hear of worthy butchers three"; ZN1365, "I'll tell you a story of lovely butchers three"
DT 325, BUTCHER2 BUTCHER3*
ADDITIONAL: Bob Stewart, _Where Is Saint George? Pagan Imagery in English Folksong_, revised edition, Blandford, 1988, pp. 51-52, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #17
RECORDINGS:
James Decker, "The Jolly Butchermen" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Bob Scarce, "Three Jolly Sportsmen" (on FSB8)
Pete Seeger, "The Three Butchers" (on PeteSeeger16)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 28(206), "The Three Butchers," W. Wright (Birmingham), 1820-1827; also 2806 c.16(200), Harding B 11(4230), Firth c.17(1), Harding B 11(876), Firth c.17(2), Harding B 25(1901), Harding B 15(330b), Harding B 16(288a), "[The] Three Butchers"; Harding B 11(1767), Firth c.17(3), "Ips, Gips, and Johnson" or "The Three Butchers[!]"
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Jinkson Johnson
The Three Riders
The Jolly Butchermen
The Butchers Three
Bold Johnston
Brave Johnston
NOTES: Stewart suggests that this began as a tale of ritual murder, and suggests that it might go back to the Osiris myth in Egypt. Many of his suggestions are far-fetched but possible; at this one, I can only shake my head in wonder at the ability of the human race to be wacko. - RBW
Last updated in version 4.1
File: LL04

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