Father Grumble [Laws Q1]

DESCRIPTION: Grumble says he can do more work in a day than his wife can do in three. She offers to exchange tasks for a day; he agrees. She gives him a long list of household chores and sets out to plow. He fails in most of his tasks and admits his wife's superiority
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: contest husband wife work humorous feminist
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland,England(Lond,North,South)) Ireland US(Ap,MW,NE,Ro,SE,So)
REFERENCES (37 citations):
Laws Q1, "Father Grumble"
Whitelaw-Song, p. 464, "John Grumlie" (1 text)
Wiltshire-WSRO Gl 101, "Old Dorrington" (1 text)
Hamer-Green, pp. 54-55, "The Capable Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
Belden, pp. 225-228, "Father Grumble" (5 texts)
Randolph 74, "Father Grumble" (3 texts, 2 tunes)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 124-126, "Father Grumble" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 74A)
Eddy 43, "Father Grumble" (1 text, 1 tune)
Grimes, p. 101, "Father Grumble" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering 172, "Old Grumble" (1 text)
McIntosh, p. 43-45, "Old Grumbler" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Olney, pp. 191-193, "The Wife of Auchtermuchty" (1 text)
Flanders/Brown, pp. 104-105, "John Grumlie" (1 text)
Linscott, pp. 248-250, "The Old Man Who Lived in the Wood" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 180, "Father Grumble" (2 text -- one of them "Darby and Joan" -- plus mention of 2 more)
Hudson 59, pp. 175-176, "Father Grumble" (1 text)
HudsonTunes 42, "The Old Man Who Lived in the Wood (Father Grumble)" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 118, "Old Crumbly Crust" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-1ed, pp. 228-229, "The Grumbler's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-2ed, pp. 119-120, "There Was an Old Man That Lived on a Hill" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 243-244, "Father Grumble" (1 text, with local title "There Was an Old Man"; tune on p. 420)
Brewster 40, "Father Grumble" (3 texts)
SharpAp 188, "The Drummer and His Wife" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Hubbard, #126, "The Ancient Farmer" (1 text, 1 tune)
Leach, pp747-748, "Father Grumble" (1 text)
Friedman, p. 443, "Father Grumble" (1 text)
Scott-BoA, pp. 41-43, "The Old Man Who Lived in the Woods" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 10, "Father Grumble" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-NEFolklr, pp. 579-580, "The Old Man Who Lived in the Wood" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H702, pp. 504-505, "The Wealthy Farmer" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 36, pp. 82-84, "Father Grumble" (1 text)
JHCox 156, "Father Grumble" (7 texts)
CrayAshGrove, pp. 19-20, "Phoebe" (1 text, 1 tune, a "comic stage rewrite")
Silber-FSWB, p. 188, "Little Phoebe"; p. 189, "Old Man In The Wood" (2 texts)
BBI, ZN1410, "In Auchtermuchty lived a man" (?)
ADDITIONAL: Katherine Briggs, _A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language_, Part A: Folk Narratives, 1970 (I use the 1971 Routledge paperback that combines volumes A.1 and A.2), volume A.2, pp. 208-210, "The Old Man in a Wood," "The Old Man Who Lived in a Wood" (2 texts)

Roud #281
Margaret MacArthur, "Old Mr. Grumble" (on MMacArthur01)
Jean Ritchie, "Father Grumble" (AFS; on LC14)
Pete Seeger, "Equinoxial" (on PeteSeeger12)

Bublin Bay (NLScotland, L.C.1269(173b), "Bublin Bay" ("They sailed away in a gallant barque"), unknown, 1857 -- listed as to the tune of "John Grumlie" but with so many lyrics from "Dublin Bay (Roy Neal)" that it coud almost be considered the same song still -- plus the long introduction asks for the pianist to play "Dublin Bay")
John Grumlie
Old Daddy Grumble
NOTES [154 words]: According to the notes in Brown, "St. John Honeywood of Massachusetts [around 1800] dressed [this] up as 'Darby and Joan," and his version has achieved something like traditional currency; at least, a text clearly enough derived from it is one of the items in our North Carolina collection."
The names "Darby and Joan" are an interesting pairing because, according to Arnold Kellett, The Yorkshire Dictionary of Dialect, Tradition, and Folklore, revised edition, Smith Settle, 2002, p. 44, "Darby and Joan" is a "popular term for a devoted old couple... said to have originated in the early eighteenth century a a reference to a blacksmith and his wife at Healaugh, Tadcaster."
Another song on the same theme is Henderson-Victorian, pp. 85-86, "The Labouring Woman." Based on the lyrics, I would say it is not the same song, and the man never actually does the women's work, but it might have been inspired by this song. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.0
File: LQ01

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 2020 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.