minstrel: Gypsies, tramps and thieves

erilarlo at win.bright.net erilarlo at win.bright.net
Tue Mar 14 13:14:23 PST 2000

At 12:15 PM -0500 3/14/0, Lisa and Ken Theriot wrote:
>Iain wrote:
>< i hate to break it to you but cersions of the gypsie
>rover are period.>
>Well, no, certain versions are TRADITIONAL.  Child #200 is listed
>alternately as "The Gypsie Laddie", "Johnnie Faa", and "The Raggle-Taggle
>Gipsies".  I quote one of my sources, _The Ballad Book_ by MacEdward Leach,
>"no version has been found earlier than the latter half of the 18th
>century".  This is supported by Child, Cecil Sharp, and a number of other
>scholars in the field.
>The story is probably period, and there have been many attempts (none
>successful that I have seen) to tie the song to an actual event.  The easy
>way to tell the traditional versions is the disposition-if it doesn't turn
>out badly, it's not traditional.  Possible endings from traditional
>1. Lady ends up with gypsies.  Cold and hungry.
>2. Lady's husband catches them.  Hangs all the gypsies.
>3. Gypsy throws lady off (too much maintenance).
>4. Lady goes back to her husband.  He beats her.
>5. Lady goes back to her husband.  He has already replaced her and throws
>her out.

My version of "Raggle-Taggle Gypsies" has her going back to her husband,
however. Unfortunately, I have no idea where I found it, as I was just
copying the ones I liked into a notebook and was then years short of the
bibliographical obsessive I was later to become.

Mary Loomer Oliver
a.k.a. O, Frau O, Oma, and erilar
For particulars try
Erilar's Cave Annex: http://www.win.bright.net/~erilarlo

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