Sung by: Mrs. Sherman Rutherford
Recorded in Batesville, AR 9/1/58

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May I sleep in your barn tonight, mister,
For it's cold lying out on the ground.
The cold north wind, it is whistling,
And I have no place to lie down.

I have no tobacco, nor matches.
Rest assured that I'll do you no harm.
Let me tell you my story, kind mister,
For it pierces my heart like a thorn.

It was three years ago last summer--
I shall never forget that sad day--
When a stranger came out from the city,
And said that he wanted to stay.

The stranger was fair, tall, and handsome,
And he looked like a man who had wealth.
Said he wanted to stop in the country,
That he wanted to stay for his health.

One night as I closed up my workshop,
I was whistling and singing with joy.
I expected a kind, hearty welcome
From my sweet loving wife and my boy.

But what should I find but a letter;
It was placed in the room on the stand,
And the moment my eyes fell upon it,
I picked it right up in my hand.

This note said my wife and the stranger,
They had left and had taken my son.
Oh, I wonder if God up in heaven
Knows what this stranger has done.

Also found in Randolph, Vol. IV, #841, "Can I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight?"; Brown, Vol. III, #356, "May I Sleep in Your Barn Tonight, Mister?"

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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