The first ballad, 'Child with Three Fathers', begins 'You young lads and lasses draw near for a while, / I'll sing you a song that may cause you to smile'.
'Down by the Old Mill Stream' begins: 'You must know that my uncle is a farmer, / Keeps a large farm in the west, / While staying there I met a little charmer, / And many's a time I caressed'. There are no publication details on the sheet, although the number 51 at the bottom of the sheet suggests it is part of a sequence published by James Lindsay of Glasgow.
'Child with Three Fathers' is a humorous tale with moral overtones. A woman falls pregnant by a 'sporting young blade', who denies the baby is his and bribes two other young men to testify that it could just as much be theirs, too. Rather than deciding to drop the case, the 'bailie' orders all three contribute to the child's upkeep, leaving the young men aghast! 'Down by the Old Mill Stream' tells the tale of Mary, who drowns herself in the stream on account of being forbidden to marry by her father.
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Probable period of publication:
1860-1890 shelfmark: RB.m.143(036)
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