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 Australia
REFERENCES (37 citations):
Laws L4, "The Three Butchers"
Randolph 97, "Dixon and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 74-75, "Dixon and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 97)
Flanders/Ballard/Brown/Barry-NewGreenMountainSongster, pp. 238-244, "The Three Butchers" (1 text plus a broadside version, 1 tune)
Cazden/Haufrecht/Studer-FolkSongsOfTheCatskills 111, "The Three Jolly Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #36, p. 1, "The Three Butchers" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan2 186, "The Three Jolly Butchers" (11 texts, 6 tunes)
Lyle-Andrew-CrawfurdsCollectionVolume1 22, "The Three Jolly Butchers" (1 text)
Williams-FolkSongsOfTheUpperThames, pp. 275-276, "The Two Jolly Butchers" (2 texts) (also Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 344)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 344, "Three Jolly Butchers" (1 text)
Broadwood-EnglishTraditionalSongsAndCarols, pp. 42-49, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy-FolksongsOfBritainAndIreland 335, "Three Jolly Sportsmen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Copper-SongsAndSouthernBreezes, pp. 254-255, "Young Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-EnglishCountrySongbook, #44, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 86, "Jackison and Dickison" (1 text)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 60, "The Three Butchers" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Reeves/Sharp-TheIdiomOfThePeople 106, "The Two Jovial Butchers" (2 texts)
Karpeles-TheCrystalSpring 76, "Two Jolly Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #143, "Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H185, pp. 128-129, "The Three Huntsmen/Wilson, Gilmore, and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacColl/Seeger-TravellersSongsFromEnglandAndScotland 24, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 80, "The Three Butchers" (2 texts)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 80, "The Three Butchers" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Chappell-FolkSongsOfRoanokeAndTheAlbermarle 46, "Good Woman" (1 fragment)
Morris-FolksongsOfFlorida, #207, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 66, "The Three Butchers" (1 text)
Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia, 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-SongsAndBalladsFromNovaScotia 97, "The Three Gallant Huntsmen" (1 text, 1 tune; this resembles the Creighton/Senior-TraditionalSongsOfNovaScotia version in which the huntsmen win the battle)
Greenleaf/Mansfield-BalladsAndSeaSongsOfNewfoundland 37, "Johnson" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Peacock, pp. 817-818, "Jolly Butchermen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 33, "The Three Butchers" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast 59, "Three Boocher Lads" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scott-ACollectorsNotebook-31TraditionalSongs, p. 39, "((no title)" (1 fragment, found in the notes to "Another Shower of Rain")
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 223, "Johnson" (1 text)
Olson-BroadsideBalladIndex, 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)
F. Sutton, "Three Jolly Butchers" (on MUNFLA/Leach)

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 [46 words]: 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 5.0
File: LL04

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.