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Crafty Maid's Policy, The

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Alternative title: I Met a Fair Damsel

Performer: Fletcher, Isabel
Place Collected: Cinderford
Date collected: 1919 (7 Sep)
Collector: Sharp, Cecil
Roud Number: 1624

This song has been around for many centuries. Broadsides and folklorists call it almost invariably “The Crafty Maid’s Policy”, but this title is never used the actual performers. Collected versions are rare but it was noted in 2012 from Freda Black, Hampshire gypsy.

Isabel Fletcher’s text is rather inconsistent and lacks the bawdy joke of “something between your legs to keep me warm”, so much of the point of the song is lost.  One wonders whether she knew the fuller version but was too shy to sing it to Sharp or whether she just saw the song as one of highway trickery.  As no tune was collected, one assumes that she dictated the text to Sharp.


Notes by Gwilym Davies 22 August 2015