Date: Tue, 1 Oct 1996 03:51:29 +1608


Subject: Get up and bar the door


ed. Helen Child Sargent and George Lyman Kittredge

(Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1904, 1932), pp. 600-601.



This tale is one of a group which may or

may not have had a single archetype. Of the

varieties, that which comes nearest is the first

story in Straparola's Eighth Day. The story

is well known in the East (see, for example

Forty Vezirs, Gibb, p. 171) and elsewhere (see

Crane, Italian Popular Tales, p. 284).

a. Herd, 'Get up and bar the Door,' The

Ancient and Modern Scots Songs, 1769, p. 330;

Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, 177ff,

159. b. [Pinkerton], Select Scotish Ballads

1783, II, 150.

1 IT fell about the Martinmas time,

And a gay time it was then,

When our good wife got puddings to make,

And she's boild them in the pan.

2 The wind sae cauld blew south and north,

And blew into the floor;

Quoth our goodman to our goodwife,

'Gae out and bar the door.'

3 'My hand is in my hussyfskap,

Goodman, as ye may see;

An it should nae be barrd this hundred year,

It's no be barrd for me.'

4 They made a paction tween them twa,

They made it firm and sure,

That the first word whaeer shoud speak,

Shoud rise and bar the door.

5 Then by there came two gentlemen,

At twelve o clock at night,

And they could neither see house nor hall

Nor coal nor candle-light.

6 'Now whether is this a rich man's bouse,

Or whether is it a poor?'

But neer a word wad ane o them speak,

For barring of the door.

7 And first they ate tbe white puddings,

And then they ate the black;

Tho muckel thought the goodwife to hersel,

Yet neer a word she spake.

8 Then said the one unto the other,

'Here, man, tak ye my knife;

Do ye tak aff the auld man's beard,

And I'll kiss the goodwife.'

9 'But there 's nae water in the house,

And what shall we do than?'

'What ails ye at tbe pudding-broo,

That boils into the pan?'

10 O up then started our goodman,

An angry man was he:

'Will ye kiss my wife before my een,

And scad me wi pudding-bree?'

11 Then up and started our goodwife,

Gied three skips on the floor:

'Goodman, you've spoken tbe foremost word

Get up and bar tbe door.'


'John Blunt,' Macmath MS., p. 74. "From

the singing of Miss Jane Webster, 15th Octo-

ber, 1886, and 20th August, 1887, who learned

in in Airds of Kells, Kirkendbrightshire, many

years ago, from James McJannet."

1 THERE leeved a wee man at the fit o yon hill,

John Blunt it was his name, O

And he selld liquor aud ale o the best

And bears a wondrous fame. O

Tal lara ta lilt, tal lare a lilt,

Tal lara ta lilt, tal lara

2 The win it blew frae north to south

It blew into the floor;

Says auld John Blunt to Janet the wife

Ye maun rise up and bar the door.

3 'My hans are in my husseyskep,

I canna weel get them free

And if ye dinna bar it yersel

It'll never be barred by me.'

4 They made it up atween them twa,

They made it unco sure

That the ane that spoke the foremost word

Was to rise and bar the door.

5 There was twa travellers travelling late,

Was travelling cross the muir

And they cam unto wee John Blunt's

Just by the light o the door.

6 'O whether is this a rich man's house

Or whether is it a puir?'

But never a word would the auld bodies speak,

For the barring o the door.

7 First they bad good een to them,

And syne they bad good morrow;

But never a word would the auld bodies speak,

For the barring o the door, O.

8 First they ate the white puddin,

And syne they ate the black,

And aye the auld wife said to hersel

May the deil slip doun wi that!

9 And next they drank o the liquor sae strong,

And syne they drank o the yill:

'Now since we hae got a house o our ain

I'm sure we may tak our fill.'

10 It's says the ane unto the ither,

Here, man, tak ye my knife,

An ye 'll scrape aff the auld man's beard

While I kiss the gudewife.

11 'Ye hae eaten my meat, ye hae drucken my drink,

Ye'd make my auld wife a whore!'

'John Blunt, ye hae spoken the foremost word,

Ye maun rise up and bar the door.'