Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son (II)
DESCRIPTION: When Tom plays "Over the hills and far away" on his pipe, "those who heard him could never keep still; As soon as he played they began to dance" Even pigs, cows, old Dame Trot and a "cross fellow ... beating an ass" had to dance.
EARLIEST DATE: 1843 (Halliwell)
KEYWORDS: magic dancing music animal
FOUND IN: Britain US
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Arnett, p. 17, "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Oxford2 507, "Tom, he was a piper's son" (1 text)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #127, p. 105, "(Tom, he was a piper's son)" (1 text)
Jack, p. 216, "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: James Orchard Halliwell, The Nursery Rhymes of England (London, 1843 ("Digitized by Google")), #113 pp. 79-80, ("Tom, he was a piper's son") (1 text)
cf. "Over the Hills So Far Away" (lyrics)
cf. "Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son (I)" (lyrics)
cf. "Dolly and Hodge" (few lines)
NOTES: See TMI D1415.2.4, "Magic pipe causes dancing." [Not TMI, D1427.1, "Magic pipe compels one to follow"; ATU Type 570 "The Rat-Catcher (The Pied-Piper")]. However, Baring-Gould (p. 104 fn. 11) writes, "This song is apparently a version of an old metrical tale, 'The Friar and the Boy,' probably the nearest British approach to the German legend of the Pied Piper of Hamelin." I doubt the connection to either "The Friar and the Boy" or "The Pied Piper."
[I doubt it too, but Baring-Gould reaffirms it elsewhere, and lists other parallels; see Baring-GoundMyths, p. 241. "The Friar and the Boy" was printed by Wynken de Worde, which means it was in existence by 1535. - RBW]
Steevens summarizes "The Friar and the Boy". The boy "suffers from the capricious cruelty of a mother-in-law." A magician gives the boy three gifts: "the first is an unerring bow; the second a pipe which would compel all who heard it to dance; the third must explain itself [makes his mother-in-law fart]." For revenge, mother-in-law employs "the frere ... to persecute the boye" who makes the friar dance until his clothes are shredded. The friar calls in a magistrate for relief. The magistrate, against the friar's warning, asks to hear the boy play; so, the boy "throws all the participants into another fit of dancing, in which the offycyall himself is compelled to join, and the stepdame [sic] exhibits fresh proofs of her flatulency. The tired magistrate at last entreats our hero to suspend his operations, and, on his compliance, immediately reconciles him to his enemies." (Johnson/Steevens Vol. II, pp. 338-341). [See also the version in Briggs, pp. 250-254 - RBW.]
"Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son" (II) shares two lines with "Dolly and Hodge". For example, Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #127, ll. 15, 18: "As Dolly was milking her cow one day ... Till the pail was broken and the milk ran on the ground" as the pail was knocked over when Tom played and "Doll and the cow danced." In the "Dolly and Hodge" broadsides, ll. 1,20 [LOCSinging as101460 and Bodleian Johnson Ballads 616]: "As Dolly sat milking her cow ... [the cow] Kick'd the stool, milking pail, down and all" as the cow grew impatient to be milked while Dolly ignored her in favor of Hodge. - BS
Last updated in version 3.3
- (The) ATU: Hans-Jorg Uther, The Types of International Folktales (Helsinki, 2004)
- Baring-GoundMyths: Sabine Baring-Gould, Curious Myths of the Middle Ages, new edition, 1894 (references are to the 2005 Dover paperback reprint)
- Briggs: Katherine Briggs, British Folktales (originally published in 1970 as A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales), revised 1977 (I use the 1977 Pantheon paperback edition)
- Johnson/Steevens: Samuel Johnson and George Steevens, Supplement to the Edition of Shakspeare's Plays (London, 1778 ("Digitized by Google")).
- (The) TMI:Motif-Index of Folk-Literature revised and enlarged by Stith Thompson, (Bloomington, 1955)
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