Holly Twig, The [Laws Q6]
DESCRIPTION: The singer finds that his new wife is a scold and a nag. He recounts his misery day by day. After a few days he goes to the woods and cuts a (holly twig), (whipping her so hard her soul is sent to hell). (A devil/her father comes to take her back).
EARLIEST DATE: 1760 (_West Country Garlands_)
LONG DESCRIPTION: On Monday the singer marries; on Tuesday he cuts a holly stick; on Wednesday he beats her with the stick until it breaks. On Thursday she takes sick (presumably from the beating); he says if she isn't better by tomorrow the devil can take her. On Friday the devil takes her. On Saturday the bells toll her death and the singer is jolly. On Sunday he relaxes alone, saying "Here's good luck to a week's work's end."
KEYWORDS: husband wife abuse violence death
FOUND IN: Britain(England(West,Lond,South)) US(Ap,MW,SE,So)
REFERENCES (18 citations):
Laws Q6, "The Holly Twig"
Randolph 367, "I Married Me a Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 184, "The Holly Twig" (2 texts)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 184, "The Holly Twig" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Chappell-FolkSongsOfRoanokeAndTheAlbermarle 43, "The Holly Twig" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 58, pp. 174-175, "The Holly Twig" (1 text)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 53, "The Holly Twig" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Reeves/Sharp-TheIdiomOfThePeople 70, "On Monday Morning I Married a Wife" (2 texts)
Roberts-SangBranchSettlers, #12, "The Bachelor Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry-SongsSungInTheSouthernAppalachians, p. 246, "The Holy Twig" (sic.) (1 text, which the singer knew to be defective and in which the wood, rather than being holly, is willow)
Shellans-FolkSongsOfTheBlueRidgeMountains, pp. 16-17, "The Brisk Young Bachelor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 134-135, "Blue Bottle" (1 text, 1 tune)
Niles-BalladBookOfJohnJacobNiles 59, "The Unwilling Bride" (1 text, 1 tune, listed as Child 277 but appearing to me to be more similar to this ballad)
VaughanWilliams/Lloyd-PenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs, pp. 78-79, "On Monday Morning" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #67, "The Holly Twig" (1 text, 1 tune)
OShaughnessy-YellowbellyBalladsPart1 4, "The Batchelor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Abrahams/Foss-AngloAmericanFolksongStyle, pp. 72-73, "Scolding Wife" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT 520, HOLLYTWG*
Ollie Gilbert, "Willow Green" (on LomaxCD1707)
Texas Gladden, "The Scolding Wife" (AFS 5232 A1; on USTGladden01)
cf. "The Wife Wrapt in Wether's Skin" [Child 277] (plot)
cf. "A Week's Matrimony (A Week's Work)" (theme)
cf. "The Old Gray Goose (I)"
cf. "I Had a Wife"
A Week's Work Well Done
A Bachelor Bold and Young
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