Sung by: Mrs. Joan Arnold Hays
Recorded in Wilburn, AR 9/6/62

Click here to listen to the original recording

If you will listen to a mournful story,
I will now to you relate
Of a nice young man who's fair and handsome,
Met a dreaded, bloody fate.

He courted a pretty little maiden,
Whom he loved more dear than life,
And unto him she faithfully promised
She would be his future bride.

She had two cruel brothers;
Brutal, brutal were their hearts,
And so these boys, they insisted
That these two must surely part.

So next morning, they rose early--
Game of hunting was in mind--
And so these boys, they insisted
For her true love to go with them.

They rode over hills, and they rode over mountains.
They rode over lands that were unknown,
Until they came to a lonely valley.
There they left him dead alone.

So that night, on their returning,
Their sisters asked where true love was.
"Oh, we lost him on that game of hunting.
No more of him could we find."

So that night while she was sleeping,
Her true love came in her dream.
Said, "They murdered me here, and they murdered me cruelly,
And left me in a pool of blood."

So next morning she rose early,
Dressed herself, put on her gloves.
She rode over hills and she rode over mountains,
She rode over lands that were unknown,
Until she came to a lonely valley.
There she found him dead alone.

His rosy cheeks were almost faded.
His lips were salt as even brine.
She kissed him o'er, and she kissed him over,
Saying, "They have killed my own true love."

So that night on her returning,
Her brothers asked where she had been.
"Oh, shut your mouth, you deceitful villains,
For you have killed my own true love."

So next morning they rose early,
And they started across the sea.
The winds blew high and the waves went over;
Now they're sleeping in the bottom of the sea.

(Dr. Wolf: "That's nice; that's nice. That's unusual. What's your name?"

Mrs. Hays: "Joan Hays."

Dr. Wolf: "What was your maiden name, Joan?"

Mrs. Hays: "Arnold."

Dr. Wolf: "That was Mrs. Joan . . . How do you spell Joan?"

Mrs. Hays: "J-O-A-N."

Dr. Wolf: "J-O-A-N. Arnold Hays. Do you spell it with an 'e'?"

Mrs. Hays: "No, I spell it like she does."

Dr. Wolf: "I see. Hays, uh huh. Of Wilburn, Arkansas. Where'd you learn that song?"

Mrs. Hays: "Oh, I don't remember. I just heard my sister sing it, and I learned it."

??: "Did your mother sing it?"

Mrs. Hays: "I don't remember my mother."

Dr. Wolf: "I see. Was that around here that you learned it?"

Mrs. Hays: "No, it was at Banner."

Dr. Wolf: "Banner? Oh, I see. Banner's over close to Batesville, isn't it? I was over at Banner the other day. Some people over there were singing for me."

Mrs. Hays: "I have three sisters lives there."

Dr. Wolf: "You do?"

??: "I bet you they know some songs."

Mrs. Hays: "Well, I have one lives over here now. She used to know that, and she was talking about the . . . you remember 'The Clock in the Steeple,' we called it."

Almeda Riddle: "That's what I'm wanting. Have you got that thing running?  If you have . . ."

Dr. Wolf: "Yes. 'Father, oh father, come home to me now. . .'"

Ms. Riddle: "Turn it off. You don't want to record this whole conversation."

Dr. Wolf: "Well, I don't mind. 'Father, oh father, come home to me now.'"

Ms. Riddle: "'You said you was coming right home from your work in the shop, as soon as your day's work was done.' You don't know that one?"

Mrs. Hays: "No, I don't know it. I never did learn that."

Ms. Riddle: "I used to know it. I can get it down to about every third or fourth . . . "

[incomprehensible chatter]

??: ". . . back up the bluff, you can go the bluff road, and the first right-hand turn, why it's about a mile and a half, two mile back in there. The last house . . ."

Dr. Wolf: "Did you ever hear that song that she sang?"

??: "Uh huh."

Dr. Wolf: "Have you?"

??: "I never did learn it."

Dr. Wolf: "That's called 'The Bramble Briar'."

??: "She thinks . . . was too old. She could think of several . . . like that, if that's the type of old songs you're wanting."

Dr. Wolf: "Oh, yes, that's a fine . . ."

??: "Well, I don't know about whether they'd be like that, whether you all would . . .")

Also found in Randolph, Vol. I, #100, "The Jealous Brothers"; Brown, Vol. II, #62, "The Bramble Brier"; Belden, p. 109, "The Bramble Briar."

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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