Mudcat Café message #868530 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #17061   Message #868530
Posted By: Joe Offer
16-Jan-03 - 02:07 PM
Thread Name: DTStudy: The Basket of Eggs
Subject: DTStudy: The Basket Of Eggs
I see we don't have much on this sog, so I thought it might be interesting to see what we can dig up.
-Joe Offer-
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Down in Sandbank fields, two sailors they were walking,
Their pockets were both lined with gold.
And as together they were talking
A fair maid there they did behold.
With a little basket standing by her
As she sat down to take her ease.
To carry it for her one of them offered
The answer was: "Sir, if you please".

One of these sailors took the basket.
"There's eggs in the basket, please take care:
And if by chance you should out-walk me
At the Half-way house please leave them there."
Behold these sailors, they did out-walk her,
The Half-way house they did pass by.
The pretty damsel she laughed at their fancy
And on the sailors she kept her eye.
When these two sailors came unto an ale-house,
There they did call for a pint of wine.
Saying: "Landlord, landlord, what fools in this nation!
This young maid from her eggs we've twined
O Landlord, landlord, bring us some bacon
We have these eggs and we'll have some dressed."
Behold, these sailors were much mistaken
As you shall say when you hear the rest.

'Twas then the landlord he went to the basket
Expecting of some eggs to find.
He said: "Young man, you're much mistaken,
Instead of eggs I've found a child."
Then one of them sat down to weeping
The other said: "It's not worth while.
Here's fifty guineas I'll give to the baby
If any woman will take the child."
The pretty young damsel she sat by the fire,
And she had a shawl drawn over her face.
She said:"I'll take it and kindly use it
When first I see the money paid."
One of the sailors threw down the money
Great favor to the babe was shown.
"Since it is so, then let's be friendly
For you know this child it is your own."

"Don't you remember a-dancing with Nancy
As long ago as last Easter day?"
"Oh yes and I do and she pleased my fancy
So now the fiddler I have paid."
One of the sailors went up to the basket
And he kicked the basket o'er and o'er.
"Since it is so, may we all be contented
But I'm hanged if I'll like eggs any more!"

from Penguin Book of English Folksongs
@sailor @baby @trick
filename[ BASKETEG

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Here's the entry from the Traditional Ballad Index.

Basket of Eggs, The

DESCRIPTION: Two sailors offer to carry a girl's basket. She says it contains eggs. The sailors go to an ale-house. The landlord opens the basket and finds a baby. The sailors offer to pay any woman who will take the child. The girl takes the money and the child
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1825 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 28(166))
LONG DESCRIPTION: Two sailors, out walking, spy a young girl and offer to carry her basket for her. She accepts, telling them it contains eggs, and asking them to leave it for her at the Half-way House. The sailors, laughing at the maid's foolishness, go to an ale-house and order up bacon to go with the eggs they have stolen. The landlord opens the basket and finds, not eggs, but a baby. Appalled, the sailors offer 50 guineas to any woman who will take the child. The girl (sitting in the corner) takes the money and the child, then informs the sailor that he is the child's father. The sailor accepts his responsibility, but angrily kicks the basket, swearing he'll never like eggs anymore.
KEYWORDS: seduction money humorous baby sailor trick landlord
FOUND IN: Britain(England (Lond,South,West),Scotland (Aber,Shetland))
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Greig #100, pp. 2-3, "The Foundling Baby" (2 texts)
GreigDuncan2 307, "The Foundling Baby" (8 texts, 8 tunes)
Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 18-19, "The Basket of Eggs" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 49, "Eggs In Her Basket" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ord, pp. 144-145, "The Foundling Child" (1 text)

Roud #377
Minty Smith, "The Basket of Eggs" (on Voice11)
Bodleian, Harding B 28(166), "Basket of Eggs" ("Through Sandbach fields two sailors walking"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824
cf. "Quare Bungo Rye" (baby in basket motif)
cf. "The Child in the Budget" (baby in basket motif)
cf. "The Parcel from a Lady (Under Her Apron)" (plot)
cf. "I Wish My Granny Saw Ye" (plot)
cf. "The Brisk Young Butcher" (plot)
cf. "The Oyster Girl" [Laws Q13] (mysterious--read female--"box" motif)
The Sailor's Child
Two Sailors Walking
File: VWL018

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