Sung by: Mrs. George Armstrong
Recorded in Mountain View, AR 4/19/63

Click here to listen to the original recording

Mrs. Armstrong: “I’m going to sing a song called, ‘The Jealous Brothers,’ and it comes from a long, long time ago, and the story is this girl is in love with the servant, and her brothers are so outraged by this that they think they’re justified in murdering the servant to prevent their sister from marrying him. And the song starts out, ‘They sat a-courting one fine evening,’ and it means the girl and the servant with whom she’s in love. So as soon as the dulcimer's in tune . . .  It’s a story ballad.”

They sat a-courting one fine evening;
Her brothers, hearing what they say,
“Oh, it's this courtship, it must be ended,
For the likes of this, it will never do.”

They rose up early, early next morning,
A game of hunting for to go,
And it's this young man they both did flatter,
For to go and hunt along with them.

They rode all over the hills and valleys,
In places where that they were known,
Until they came to a lonesome valley.
That’s where they killed him and left him alone.

And when the brothers had returned,
The sister asked where the servant was.
“Oh, it’s we’ve lost him in a game of hunting,
And it’s him no more can we find.”

She lay across her bedside weeping.
It come to her as in a dream
That they’d carried him beyond the regions;
That’s where they'd killed him and left him alone.

She rode all over the hills and valleys
In places where that she was known,
Until she came to that lonesome valley.
That's where they'd killed him and left him alone.

His red rosy cheeks, they had been fading;
His lips was like a marble white.
Oh, she kissed them over and over, saying,
“You were that darling friend of mine.”

And when the brothers had returned,
The brothers asked where the servant was.
“Oh, it's hush your tongues, you deceitful villains,
Or you both shall be hung for the sake of one.”

Also found in Randolph, Vol. I, #100, “The Jealous Brothers”; Brown, Vol. II, #62, “The Bramble Brier.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
Back to the Song Index
Back to the Wolf Collection Homepage
©Copyright 2002 Lyon College