The Cruel Mother

No: 20; variant: 20C

  1. SHE leaned her back unto a thorn, Three, three, and three by three And there she has her two babes born. Three, three, and thirty-three
  2. She took frae ‘bout her ribbon-belt, And there she bound them hand and foot.
  3. She has taen out her wee pen-knife, And there she ended baith their life.
  4. She has howked a hole baith deep and wide, She has put them in baith side by side.
  5. She has covered them oer wi a marble stane, Thinking she would gang maiden hame.
  6. As she was walking by her father’s castle wa, She saw twa pretty babes playing at the ba.
  7. ‘O bonnie babes, gin ye were mine, I would dress you up in satin fine.
  8. ‘O I would dress you in the silk, And wash you ay in morning milk.’
  9. ‘O cruel mother, we were thine, And thou made us to wear the twine.
  10. ‘O cursed mother, heaven’s high, And that’s where thou will neer win nigh.
  11. ‘O cursed mother, hell is deep, And there thou’ll enter step by step.’