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The Foolish Boy

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Alternative title: The Swapping Song

Place Collected: Chipping Campden
Date collected: Unknown
Roud Number: 469

Also known as “The Swapping Song”, this theme of making swaps and each one a worse bargain than the previous one is very old and versions of it turn up in, for example, German folklore. It has also appeared in various nursery rhyme collections from the early 19th century onwards, but never as a broadside, so far as is known.

This is a hugely popular song with source singers, with myriad versions turning up in England, Scotland and across the Atlantic. It is still in oral tradition, with new versions still being collected.

Notes by Gwilym Davies