Sung by: Almeda Riddle

“No home, no home,” said a little girl
At the door of a princely hall.
She trembling stood on the marble step
And leaned on the marble wall.

“My daddy, alas, I never knew;
He was lost on the ocean brine.
My mommy sleeps in a newmade grave.
It’s an orphan who begs tonight.”

“Oh, give me a place out of this cold wind,
Just a place to lie down,” she said.
“A pallet in the corner would do for me,
But give me a piece of bread.”

The rich man shook his haughty head,
And he slammed his mansion door,
And his proud mouth curled in scorn when he said,
“I’ve no room or bread for the poor.”

Then the little girl sank down on the step
And tried to cover her feet
With a ragged dress all tattered and torn,
And covered with snow and sleet.

And the rich man lay on a couch of down,
And he dreamed about silver and gold,
While the little girl lay in the ice on the step,
And murmured, so hungry and cold.

When the sun rose in the morning, the little girl
Lay dead by the rich man’s door,
But her soul had fled to her Mommy and Dad,
Where there’s room and bread for the poor.

And the rich man lay on his couch of down,
But his soul, too, had fled.
Now I don’t know where rich men go;
I just know the rich man’s dead.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #725, “The Orphan Child”; Brown, Vol. II, #148, “The Orphan Girl.”

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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