Little Brown Dog

DESCRIPTION: "When I was a little boy As fat as I could go, They set me there upon the fence...." The boy fights and defeats a giant, induces his hen to hatch out a hare, acquires a dog with legs ten feet long, and otherwise does the impossible
AUTHOR: unknown
KEYWORDS: talltale animal chickens dog horse sheep humorous nonsense fight
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South),Scotland(Aber),Shetlands) US(MA,NE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf)
REFERENCES (20 citations):
Randolph 357, "When I Was a Little Boy" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Greig/Duncan8 1701, "Speculation" (8 texts, 2 tunes)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #149, p. 1, "Speculation" (1 text)
Reeves-TheEverlastingCircle 4, "As I Set Off To Turkey" (1 text)
Cazden/Haufrecht/Studer-FolkSongsOfTheCatskills 145, "The Lofty Giant" (1 text)
VaughanWilliams/Lloyd-PenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs, p. 101, "When I Was a Little Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 712, "As I Was Going to Romford" (1 text)
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 129, p. 275, "To London I Did Go" (1 text)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-2ed, pp. 140-141, "When I'se a Little Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax/Lomax-OurSingingCountry, pp. 108-109, "Toll-a-Winker" (1 text, 1 tune)
Peacock, pp. 24-29, "A Tale of Jests" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Leach-FolkBalladsSongsOfLowerLabradorCoast 111, "The Lying Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-FolkSongsFromNewfoundland 87, "The Liar's Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ives-FolksongsOfNewBrunswick, pp. 103-106, "The Little Bull Song" (1 text, 1 tune)
Manny/Wilson-SongsOfMiramichi 79, "The Little Bull" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 394, "Little Brown Dog" (1 text)
JournalOfAmericanFolklore, William Wells Newell, "Nursery Rhymes from Maine," Vol. IV, No. 14 (Jul-Sep 1891), #5 pp. 269-270 "Jack the Giant-Killer" ("When I was a little boy, to London I did go") (2 texts)
Averill-CampSongsFolkSongs, pp. 94, 541, "Autumn to May" (notes only)
ADDITIONAL: Roger deV. Renwick, _Recentering Anglo/American Folksong: Sea Crabs and Wicked Youths_, University Press of Mississippi, 2001, p. 81, "When I Was a Little Boy" (1 text)

Roud #1706
George Decker, "A Tale of Jests" (on PeacockCDROM)
Bride Power, "The Lie" (on MUNFLA/Leach) (2 versions)

cf. "The Derby Ram"
cf. "The Swapping Boy"
cf. "The Seven Wonders"
The Big Jeest
Once I Had
The Lie Song
A Lad's Adventures
NOTES [112 words]: I've listed this song under a title by which it's well known; as it was extremely popular in the 1960s folk revival. -PJS
Versions of this song may take almost any form, as long as there is enough exaggeration. The piece is recognized by its short lines and stanzas. Here are samples: "When I was a little boy, To London I did go, Upon that banished (?) steeple, My gallantry to show." "I bought me a little hen, I did not take much care; I set her on an oyster shell, And she hatched me out a bear."
Hudson calls this a rhymed version of the story of Jack the Giant Killer. Some versions were doubtless influenced by that, but the song doesn't require killing a giant. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.3
File: VWL101

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