Frog Went A-Courting

DESCRIPTION: Frog rides to ask Miss Mouse to marry him. She is willing but must ask permission of Uncle Rat. Rat's permission received, the two work out details of the wedding. (Some versions end with a cat or other creature devouring the participants)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: perhaps 1549 (Wedderburn's "Complaynt of Scotland"); there is a reference in the Stationer's Register of 1580 to "A Moste Strange Weddinge of the Frogge and the Mouse"; Ravenscroft's 1611 _Melismata_ has "The Marriage of the Frogge and the Movse" which is certainly this
KEYWORDS: animal courting love marriage request
FOUND IN: US(All) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(England(All),Scotland(Aber)) Ireland
REFERENCES (84 citations):
Leather, pp. 209-210, "The Frog and the Mouse" (2 texts)
Williams-Thames, pp. 133-134, "Froggy Would a-Wooing Go" (2 texts) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Wt 310) [These texts are very close to the Bodleian broadside "Frog in a Cock'd Hat" texts]
Reeves-Circle 46, "The Frog and Mouse" (1 text)
OShaughnessy-Yellowbelly1 16, "Froggy Would a-Wooing Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gundry, p. 47, "The Frog and the Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
RoudBishop #108, "The Frog and the Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
Scott-EnglishSB, pp. 54-55, "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
HarrisLyleMcAlpineMcLucas, p. 175, "Hech, Hey, Lowrie lay" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
OCroinin-Cronin 190, "Uncle Rat" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Belden, pp. 494-499, "The Frog's Courtship" (7 texts in 3 groups, 2 tunes; several of the texts are short, and IB at least appears to be "Kemo Kimo")
Randolph 108, "The Frog's Courtship" (5 texts plus 5 excerpts, 2 tunes)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 139-141, "The Frog's Courtship" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 108A)
AbrahamsRiddle, pp. 44-47, "Froggie Went A-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Arnold, pp. 12-13, "Frog Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownIII 120, "The Frog's Courtship" (7 texts plus 13 excerpts, 2 fragments, and mention of 5 more; "Kemo Kimo" in appendix)
BrownSchinhanV 120, "The Frog's Courtship" (11 tunes, 3 of them from the "Kemo Kimo" appendices, plus text excerpts)
Morris, #216, "The Frog's Courtship" (7 texts, 3 tunes)
Hudson 136, pp. 282-283, "The Frog's Courting" (1 text plus mention of 9 more)
Moore-Southwest 120, "Froggy Went a-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-1ed, pp. 255-256, "Frog Went A-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-2ed, pp. 136-139, "Frog Went A-Courting" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Abernethy, p. 19, "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boswell/Wolfe 19, pp. 34-37. "Mister Frog Went A-Courtin'" (1 very long text, 1 tune)
Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 244-248, "The Frog He Went A-Courting" (3 texts, the first two, with local titles "Frog Went A-Courting" and "Frog Went Courting" and tune on p. 420, are this song; the third item, "The Gentleman Frog," is separate, probably part of the "Kemo Kimo"/"Frog in the Well" family)
Scarborough-NegroFS, pp. 46-48, "Frog Went A-Courtin'"; p. 48, (no title); pp. 48-50, "Mister Frog) (3 texts, 1 tune)
Sulzer, p. 14, "Froggie Went A-courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Brewster 42, "The Frog Went A-Courting" (5 texts plus an excerpt and mention of 4 more, 3 tunes -- one of them of the "Kitty Alone" type)
Eddy 44, "The Frog and the Mouse" (5 texts, 2 tunes)
Stout 22, pp. 30-31, "The Frog and the Mouse" (1 text plus a fragment, the text being a "Frog Went A-Courting" version with a "kemo kimo" chorus, the fragment being simply a "Kemo Kimo" chorus that might be anything including this song)
Grimes, p. 99, "Froggie Went A'Courting" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering 189, "The Frog's Courtship" (2 texts plus an exceprt and mention of 5 more, 3 tunes)
Peters, pp. 272-273, "Froggie Went to Take a Ride," "Froggie Would A-Wooing Go" (2 texts, 2 tunes, collectively filed as "The Frog Song")
McIntosh, pp. 49-51, "Frog Went A-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Carey-MarylandFolkLegends, p. 113, "Froggie Went A-Courting" (1 text)
Wells, pp. 165-166, "The Frog's Wedding" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hubbard, #203, "The Frog in the Well" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Greenleaf/Mansfield 40, "The First Come in it was a Rat" (1 text)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 250-254, "The Frog and the Mouse" (3 texts plus 4 fragments, 2 tunes)
Creighton-NovaScotia 89, "It Was a Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
Creighton-SNewBrunswick 83, "The Frog and the Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
Mackenzie 155, "A Frog He Would a Wooing Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
Flanders/Olney, pp. 11-13, "Gentleman Froggie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Linscott, pp. 199-202, "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 294, "The Frog and the Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
GreigDuncan8 1669, "Ki-Ma-Dearie" (5 texts, 5 tunes)
McNeil-SFB2, pp. 41-43, "Frog Went A-Courtin" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wyman-Brockway I, p. 25, "Frog Went A-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Wyman-Brockway II, p. 86, "The Toad's Courtship" (1 text, 1 tune)
Richardson, pp. 78-79 "Frog Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke/Johnston, pp. 170-171, "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" (1 text, 1 tune)
FSCatskills 142, "Missie Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
Korson-PennLegends, pp. 461-462, "The Mouse's Courting Song" (1 text, 1 tune, in which the main characters are Mickey and Minnie Mouse, but still clearly this song)
Roberts, #97, Froggy Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Thomas-Devil's, pp. 154-155, "Frog Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
SharpAp 220, "A Frog He Went A-courting" (11 texts, 11 tunes)
Sharp/Karpeles-80E 75, "The Frog and the Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune -- a composite version)
Sandburg, p. 143, "Mister Frog Went A-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune)
Warner-Eastern, p. 47, "A Frog Went A-Courting" (1 text)
Scott-BoA, pp. 339-341, "The Mouse's Courting Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 32 "King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 310-313, "Frog Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-NEFolklr, pp. 571-572, "The Frog in the Spring" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-SoFolklr, p. 722, "Frog Went A-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 56, "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Pankake-PHCFSB, pp. 48-49, "Froggie Went A-Courting" (1 text)
JHCox 162, "The Frog and the Mouse" (3 texts plus mention of two more including some excerpts, 1 tune)
JHCoxIIB, #22A-E, pp. 174-182, "Mr. Mouse Went A-Courting," "The Frog and the Mouse," "Frog Went A-Courting," "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" (3 texts plus 2 fragments, 5 tunes)
Gainer, pp. 162-163, "Mr. Frog Went A-Courtin'" (1 text, 1 tune)
Boette, pp. 91-93, "A Frog A-Courting"; "Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Coleman/Bregman, pp. 20-22, "The Frog and the Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune, apparently from Cox)
Leach-Heritage, pp. 179-180, "Mr. Frog Went A-Courting" (1 text, 1 tune on p. 207)
Opie-Oxford2 175, "A frog he would a-wooing go" (3 texts)
Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #69, pp. 77-79, "(There was a frog liv'd in a well)" (a complex composite with a short version of "Frog Went A-Courting" plus enough auxiliary verses to make an almost complete "Kemo Kimo" text)
Montgomerie-ScottishNR 193, "(There dwelt a puddy in a well)" (1 text, very long, containing a full "Frog Went A-Courting" version plus sundry "Kemo Kimo" type verses)
Chappell/Wooldridge I, pp. 142-143, "The Wedding of the Frog and Mouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
Jack, p. 40, "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 403, "Frog Went A-Courtin'" (1 text)
BBI, ZN3249, "It was a frog in a well"
ADDITIONAL: Fred W. Allsopp, Folklore of Romantic Arkansas, Volume II, p. 194 (1931), "A Frog Went Courting" (1 text)
Robert Chambers, The Popular Rhymes of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1870 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 55-57, "The Frog and Mouse" (2 texts)
Robert Chambers (Edited by Norah and William Montgomerie), Traditional Scottish Nursery Rhymes (1990 selected from Popular Rhymes) #237, pp. 138-142, "Puddy He'd a-Wooin Ride"
Leslie Shepard, _The Broadside Ballad_, Legacy Books, 1962, 1978, p. 174, "The Frog and Mouse" (reproduction of a broadside (?) page with a tune)
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. 556-557, "Puddock, Mousie, and Ratton" (1 text)

ST R108 (Full)
Roud #16
Albert Beale, "A Frog He Would a-Wooing Go" (on FSB10)
Anne, Judy, & Zeke Canova, "Frog Went A-Courtin'" (Brunswick 264, 1928; on CrowTold02)
Elizabeth Cronin, "Uncle Rat Went Out to Ride" (on FSB10); "Uncle Rat" (on IRECronin01)
Drusilla Davis, "Frog Went A-Courting" (AFS 347 B, 1935)
Otis High & Flarrie Griffin, "Froggie Went A-Courtin'" (on HandMeDown1)
Bradley Kincaid, "Froggie Went A Courting" (Champion 15466 [as Dan Hughey]/Silvertone 5188/Silvertone 8219/Supertone 9209, 1928)
Adolphus Le Ruez ,"The Frog and the Mouse" (on FSB10)
Pleaz Mobley, "Froggie Went A-Courting" (AFS; on LC12)
Chubby Parker, "King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O" (Columbia 15296D, 1928; on AAFM1, CrowTold01) (Supertone 9731, 1930) (Conqueror 7889, 1931)
Annie Paterson, "The Frog and the Mouse" (on FSB10)
Uncle Don, "Frog Went A'Courting" (Conqueror 9013, 1938)
Unknown artist(s), "A Frog He Would A-Wooing Go" (Harper-Columbia 1162, c. 1919)
Warner Williams, "Mouse on the Hill" (on ClassAfrAm)

Bodleian, Firth b.26(3) [some words illegible], "The Frog in the Cock'd Hat" ("A frog he would a wooing go"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819; also Harding B 11(991), "The Frog in the Cock'd Hat"; Johnson Ballads 506 [last line cut], Harding B 11(1265), "Frog in a Cock'd Hat"
cf. "Kemo Kimo" (occasional floating lyrics)
cf. "I Ask That Gal" (tune)
cf. "The Bear in the Hill" (plot)
cf. "The Fly and the Bumblebee (Fiddle-Dee-Dee)" (theme)
There Was a Puggie in a Well
There Lived a Puddie in the Well
The Frog's Wooing
Kaimee, Dearie
Y Broga Bach (Welsh)
NOTES [286 words]: The Complaynt of Scotland refers to a song "The frog cam to the myl door" (see E. K. Chambers, English Literature at the Close of the Middle Ages, Oxford, 1945, 1947, p. 181); this is widely thought to be this song, but of course this cannot be proved.
The notes on this song in Cazden et al (pp. 524-532) constitute probably the best succinct summary available on variants of this piece.
Spaeth has a note that the original version of this was supposed to refer to the Duke of Anjou's wooing of Elizabeth I of England. If the second known version (1611, in Melismata, reprinted in Chappell) were the oldest, this might be possible -- there are seeming political references to "Gib, our cat" and "Dick, our Drake." But the Wedderburn Complaynt of Scotland text, which at least anticipates the song, predates the reign of Queen Elizabeth by nine years, and Queen Mary Tudor by four. If it refers to any queen at all, it would have to be Mary Stuart.
Those who want a version of this piece which does not involve inter-species hanky-panky are advised to try J. A. Scott's version (or other American texts); in this, both creatures are mice. Of course, it does end with the cat interfering with the festivities.
In addition to "pure" texts of this song, some there exist versions which have gotten mixed with "Martin Said to His Man." The versions I've seen are often titled "Kitty Alone" ; the first such text seems to have been in Gammer Gurton's Garland (1784), which has clearly a "Frog" plot but the form (and some of the exaggerations) of "Martin." - RBW
The second of Chambers's (1870) texts is a from a 1630 copy of the 1580 text of "a ballad of a most strange wedding of the frogge and the mouse." - BS
Last updated in version 5.0
File: R108

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.