Sung by: Sung by: Mrs. T.F. Guthrie of San Antonio, TX

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Oh, what will the birds do, Mother, in the spring,
The little birds that come round my door?
Will they hop on the window and tape on the pane,
Wondering why Little Joe comes no more?

And what will old Thomas, the gardener, do
When you ask him for flowers for me?
Will he gather the flowers he has tended so long,
And the first fair blooms on the tree?
I have seen a tear gather in his honest old eye,
And he told me the wind brought it there,
As he gazed on my cheek growing thinner each day,
And his hand trembled over my hair.

Oh, Mother, love Tiger, love Tiger for me,
For I know he will mourn for me true,
And keep him when useless and idle he’s grown,
Sleeping the long winter through.
And show him my coat, Mother, so he won’t forget
The master who then will be dead,
And speak to him often and kindly of Joe,
As you pat him on his rough shaggy head.

And dear Uncle Joe in his faraway camp
Will look sad o’er the letter you write.
He’ll say, dearest Mother, "Joe’s gone to the front,
Marching nearer and nearer the light,"
And you, precious Mother, will miss me for a while,
But in Heaven no larger I’ll grow,
And any kind angel will tell you when you ask
At the gate for your own little Joe.

(Mrs. Guthrie: “Isn’t that sad? Oh, my children used to cry over that.”
Dr. Wolf: “Where’d you learn that?”
Mrs. Guthrie: “Oh, my mother used to sing that to me.”)

Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #712, “Darling Little Joe.”

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

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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