“The Fairy Boy”

Author: Samuel Lover
Earliest date: 1840 (broadside, LOCSheet sm1840 371930)
Keywords: grief death baby supernatural separation


"A mother came when stars were paling," crying, calling on the fairy king to return her son. She has no answer and concedes that "In this world I have lost my joy; But in the next we ne'er shall sever, There will I find my fairy boy"


O'Conor: "When a beautiful child pines and dies, the Irish peasant believes the healthy infant has been stolen by the fairies, and a sickly elf left in its place." This is a note taken without attribution from _The Ballad Poetry of Ireland_ by Charles Gavin Duffy (Dublin, 1845), p. 79. [Of course, the notion of the changeling is common in British folklore. - RBW]

O'Conor sometimes omits the end of a song when it won't fit on the page and there is no space available on another page. This is one example. "Digging for Gould" is another.

Broadside LOCSinging sb10130a: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS



  1. O'Conor, p. 150, "The Fairy Boy" (1 partial text)
  2. ADDITIONAL: Edward Hayes, The Ballads of Ireland (Boston, 1859), Vol II, pp. 145-146, "The Fairy Boy"
  3. Roud #9293
  4. BI, OCon150