DESCRIPTION: "On April the eighth, the year forty-nine, Death claimed a little child so pure and so kind." Kathy Fiscus falls down a dry well. Workers try to dig her out, but she is dead when found. The singer "know[s] Kathy is happy up there with God now."
EARLIEST DATE: 1956 (collected by Paul Clayton)
KEYWORDS: death children
Apr 8, 1949 - Kathy Fiscus falls down a well pipe. She dies before she can be rescued
FOUND IN: US(Ap)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Cohen-AmericanFolkSongsARegionalEncyclopedia2, p. 670, "The Death of Kathy Fiscus" (1 text)
Darling-NewAmericanSongster, pp. 224-225, "Kathy Fiscus" (1 text)
Possibly related recordings: Jimmie Osborne, "The Death of Little Kathy Fiscus" (King 788, 1949)
NOTES [115 words]: This is a case where tradition is muddy. Kathy Fiscus died in 1949, and several songs were recorded about the event. This one, well-known in bluegrass circles, seems to have been the most popular. It seems likely that Paul Clayton's informant, Lily Maggard, learned the song from radio play or a phonograph recording. Does that qualify as traditional?
There is a sidelight on this tragedy: According to National Public Radio's "On the Media" program, broadcast October 2010, the Kathy Fiscus story was the first significance of widespread television news coverage of one of these Human Interest Tragedies. Obviously they have now become a staple substitute for real news and analysis. - RBW
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