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The Cruel Brother

No: 11; variant: 11J

  1. THERE were three sisters playing ball, With the high and the lily O And there came three knights to court them all. With the rosey sweet, heigh ho
  2. The eldest of them was drest in green: ‘I wish I had you to be my queen.’
  3. The second of them was drest in red: ‘I wish I had you to grace my bed.’
  4. The youngest of them was drest in white: ‘I wish I had you to be my wife.’
  5. ‘Did ye ask my father brave? Or did ye ask my mother fair?
  6. ‘Or did ye ask my brother John? For without his will I dare not move on.’
  7. ‘I did ask your parents dear, But I did not see your brother John.’
  8. ‘Ride on, ride on,’ said the first man, ‘For I fear the bride comes slowly on.’
  9. ‘Ride on, ride on,’ said the next man, ‘For lo! the bride she comes bleeding on.’
  10. ‘What will you leave your mother dear?’ ‘My heart’s best love for ever and aye.’
  11. ‘What will ye leave your sister Anne?’ ‘This wedding garment that I have on.’
  12. ‘What will ye leave your brother John’s wife?’ ‘Grief and sorrow all the days of her life.’
  13. ‘What will ye leave your brother John?’ ‘The highest gallows to hang him on.’
  14. ‘What will ye leave your brother John’s son?’ ‘The grace of God to make him a man.’