Willie Williamson [The Fortunate Farmer’s Daughter] SA1971.219.8
This broadsheet ballad is based on an old fairy tale about the various tribulations that beset a beautiful young maid: always she was saved by supernatural intervention, it seems. The complete ballad runs to 60 verses and Betty Poleson was the only one in Whalsay reputed to know it by heart. You can find the complete ballad reproduced here. (Roud index no. 25925)
Both Willie and his friend Andrew Poleson could sing the tune however, as here – even though they could not recall more than the opening few lines.
In a fameous York City a farmer did dwell.
He was loved by his wife and his neighbours full well.
He had a young wife that was virtuous and fair
And by her he had a child every year
In seven years time six children they had
Which made both the father’s and mother’s hearts glad…
“Noo but after that…”