Cow Ate the Piper, The
DESCRIPTION: In the troubles of '98, piper Denny Byrne cannot find work. Needing shoes, he tries to take boots from an executed soldier -- but pulls down legs as well. He sleeps that night in a cowshed; in the morning the farmer assumes the cow has eaten the piper
EARLIEST DATE: 1847 (Songs of Ireland and Other Lands)
KEYWORDS: humorous Ireland rebellion animal poverty homicide escape clothes corpse
1798 - Irish rebellion causes Britain to place Ireland under martial law
FOUND IN: Ireland
REFERENCES (7 citations):
SHenry H29, pp. 53-54, "Denny Byrne, the Piper" (1 text, 1 tune)
O'Conor, p. 29, "The Cow That Ate the Piper" (1 text)
OLochlainn-More 37, "The Cow Ate the Piper" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moylan 60, "The Cow that Ate the Piper" (1 text, 1 tune)
PBB 91, "The Cow Ate the Piper" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: (no author listed), _Songs of Ireland and Other Lands_, D. & J. Sadlier & Co., 1847 (available on Google Books), pp. 103-106
Bodleian, Harding B 11(2916), "The Cow Eat the Piper", unknown, n.d.
NOTES: The ballad is recorded on one of the CD's issued around the time of the bicentenial of the 1798 Irish Rebellion. See:
Terry Timmins, "The Cow Ate the Piper" (on "The Croppy's Complaint," Craft Recordings CRCD03 (1998); Terry Moylan notes).
The story is also reported as a folktale in Gaelic, collected in 1940, among forty versions; translated by Sean O'Sullivan, Folktales of Ireland (London, 1966), #51, "The Cow That Ate the Piper." The Hessian soldier of the song is just "a dead man on the road" in the folktale. - BS
Thanks to Jim Dixon for pointing out the Songs of Ireland and Other Lands reference. - RBW
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