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This tale contains threads found in other folk songs, such as the jilted lover, the girl dressing as a sailor and going to sea, etc. The unlikely ending to this song is that the girl who commits murder (or perhaps just attempted murder) is not arrested for her actions, but rather praised and rewarded. However, other endings are available. In one broadside version, the lady marries the captain who rewarded her, but in some versions the lady drowns herself out of grief after the shooting. Versions go back to the 18th century and it has been found on both sides of the Atlantic.