Sung by: Jimmy Driftwood
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Good little boys were they.
Often I would go with them,
Their playmate for to be.
On a Monday morning we'd go to school;
On a Saturday they'd return.
Then they'd shake their long yellow locks
And dance all around the churn.
Said Willie, "Can you toss a ball?
Or can you cast a stone?"
Said Johnny, "You know I am too young.
Dear brother, leave me alone."
Then Willie took out his big long knife;
Its edge was keen and sharp.
Between the long ribs and the short
He pierced little Johnny's heart.
"Johnny, oh Johnny, what have I done?
You know I love you true.
I did not mean to strike so hard.
Oh, Lord, what shall I do?"
"Raise me up," said Johnny boy,
"Raise me up tall and straight.
Now turn me loose and let me go;
They're opening the golden gate."
"Tell my mother when she calls,
'Johnny had a mind to roam.'
Just tell her I'm a-leaving the old campgrounds.
Tell her I'm a-going home.
Tell her I'm a-leaving the old campground;
Tell her I'm a-going home."
Also found in Child, #49; Randolph, Vol. I, #10; Brown, Vol. II, #13; Belden, p. 33.