Dance to Your Daddy

DESCRIPTION: "Dance to your daddy, my little laddie, Dance to your daddy, my little man. You shall have a fish and you shall have a fin, You shall have a coddlin' when the boat comes in." The child is told that he will grow up, marry, and love the girl his whole life
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1828 (Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume2)
KEYWORDS: dancing family father nonballad
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North,South),Scotland(Aber,Bord)), Ireland US(Ap)
REFERENCES (13 citations):
Stokoe/Reay-SongsAndBalladsOfNorthernEngland, pp. 76-77, "Dance Ti' Thy Daddy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-TheCrystalSpring 127, "Dance to Thee Daddy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig/Duncan8 1562, "Dance to Your Daddy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume2 187, "Dance to Your Daddy" (1 text)
OCroinin/Cronin-TheSongsOfElizabethCronin 47, "Dance For Your Daddy-O" (5 texts, 1 tune)
Opie/Opie-OxfordDictionaryOfNurseryRhymes 123, "Dance to your daddy" (3 texts)
Baring-Gould-AnnotatedMotherGoose #563, p. 229, "(Dance to your daddy)"
Montgomerie/Montgomerie-ScottishNurseryRhymes 104, "(Dance to your daddy)" (1 text)
Ritchie-FolkSongsOfTheSouthernAppalachians, p. 83, "Dance to Your Daddy" (1 short text partly rewritten by Jean Ritchie, 1 tune)
Cray-AshGrove, p. 13, "Dance to Your Daddy" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 409, "Dance To Your Daddy" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Robert Chambers, The Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1870 ("Digitized by Google")), p. 18, ("Dance to your daddie")

Roud #2439
Elizabeth Cronin, "Dance to Your Daddy" (on Lomax42, LomaxCD1742); "Dance For Your Daddy-O" (on IRECronin01)
Ritchie Family, "Dance To Your Daddy" (on Ritchie03)

cf. "Cucanandy" (tune)
The Little Fishy
NOTES [218 words]: This appears, from the dialect and the unusually full form found in Stokoe, to have originated in Northumbria in England. But there are a lot of filed-down versions; I'm not entirely sure whether these are traditional or pop-folksingers' attempts to make the song more accessible to urban audiences - RBW
Jean Ritchie notes that she sings this song to her son; she doesn't say it's one she learned from her family, but she hints that she did, so I include, "FOUND IN US(Ap)". However, at this point in her life she'd done folklore research in Britain and may have picked it up there. - PJS
See Tim Coughlan, Now Shoon the Romano Gillie, (Cardiff,2001), #160, p. 413, "Grib to your Naiskel" [Scotto-Romani/Tinklers' Cant fragment from MacColl and Seeger, Till Doomsday in the Afternoon (1986)]. - BS
J. M. Bulloch, in the lecture "The Delight of the Doric in the Diminutive," cites this as an example of extreme use of diminutives -- almost every noun is a diminutive; some are double diminutives: "little laddie," "little fishie," "little dishie" (CraigieEtAl, p. 140, etc.). I'm not sure what that tells us, but Bulloch thinks the Scots use diminutives to denigrate those they dislike (see, e.h., "The Wee Wee German Lairdie" -- a triple diminutive) and show affection for those they like (as here). - RBW
Bibliography Last updated in version 5.0
File: FSWB409

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2021 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.