The Twa Brothers

No: 49; variant: 49G

  1. AS John and William were coming home one day, One Saturday afternoon, Says John to William, Come and try a fight, Or will you throw a stone? Or will you come down to yonder, yonder town Where the maids are all playing ball, ball, ball, Where the maids are all playing ball?
  2. Says William to John, I will not try a fight, Nor will I throw a stone, Nor will I come down to yonder town, Where the maids are all playing ball.
  3. So John took out of his pocket A knife both long and sharp, And stuck it through his brother’s heart, And the blood came pouring down.
  4. Says John to William, Take off thy shirt, And tear it from gore to gore, And wrap it round your bleeding heart, And the blood will pour no more.’
  5. So John took off his shirt, And tore it from gore to gore, And wrapped it round his bleeding heart, And the blood came pouring more.
  6. ‘What shall I tell your dear father, When I go home to-night?’ ‘You’ll tell him I’m dead and in my grave, For the truth must be told.’
  7. ‘What shall I tell your dear mother, When I go home to-night?’ ‘You’ll tell her I’m dead and in my grave, For the truth must be told.’
  8. ‘How came this blood upon your knife? My son, come tell to me;’ ‘It is the blood of a rabbit I have killed, O mother, pardon me.’
  9. ‘The blood of a rabbit couldnt be so pure, My son, come tell to me:’ ‘It is the blood of a squirrel I have killed, O mother, pardon me.’
  10. ‘The blood of a squirrel couldnt be so pure, My son, come tell to me:’ ‘It is the blood of a brother I have killed, O mother, pardon me.’