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The Twa Brothers

No: 49; variant: 49B

  1. THERE was two little boys going to the school, And twa little boys they be, They met three brothers playing at the ba, And ladies dansing hey.
  2. ‘It’s whether will ye play at the ba, brither, Or else throw at the stone?’ ‘I am too little, I am too young, O brother let me alone.’
  3. He pulled out a little penknife, That was baith sharp and sma, He gave his brother a deadly wound That was deep, long and sair.
  4. He took the holland sark off his back, He tore it frae breast to gare, He laid it to the bloody wound, That still bled mair and mair.
  5. ‘It’s take me on your back, brother,’ he says, ‘And carry me to yon kirk-yard, And make me there a very fine grave, That will be long and large.
  6. ‘Lay my bible at my head,’ he says, ‘My chaunter at my feet, My bow and arrows by my side, And soundly I will sleep.
  7. ‘When you go home, brother,’ he says, ‘My father will ask for me; You may tell him I am in Saussif town, Learning my lesson free.
  8. ‘When you go home, brother,’ he says, ‘My mother will ask for me; You may tell her I am in Sausaf town, And I’ll come home merrily.
  9. ‘When you go home, brother,’ he says, ‘Lady Margaret will ask for me; You may tell her I’m dead and in grave laid, And buried in Sausaff toun.’
  10. She put the small pipes to her mouth, And she harped both far and near, Till she harped the small birds off the briers, And her true love out of the grave.
  11. ‘What’s this? what’s this, lady Margaret?’ he says, ‘What’s this you want of me?’ ‘One sweet kiss of your ruby lips, That’s all I want of thee.’
  12. ‘My lips they are so bitter,’ he says, ‘My breath it is so strong, If you get one kiss of my ruby lips, Your days will not be long.’