“The Sleepy Merchant”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1827 (Kinloch)
Keywords: sex drugs drink pregnancy trick clothes reunion marriage
Found in: Britain(Scotland)

Description

The merchant comes calls for a bed and a girl. She gives him a sleeping drug. The next night, he pours out the drug and sleeps with her, but does not leave the gift he promised. Later, he arrives to find her pregnant and gives her his hand in marriage

Long description

The merchant comes to an inn and calls for a bed and a girl. She gives him a sleeping drug, and arises a maiden. The next night, he pours out the drug and sleeps with her, promising her a fine plaid. When he departs, she finds no plaid and curses him. Twenty weeks later, he arrives to find her pregnant. He gives her the plaid and his hand in marriage, and they live happily.

Notes

Child mentions this song in his notes to "The Broomfield Hill," but writes it off as "a modern ballad" perhaps based on an Italian story.

I allow the possibility; "The Sleepy Merchant" seems a rather disjointed piece, with the first part being a tale of how the girl tricked the merchant into not sleeping with her (as in "The Broomfield Hill") and the second being your standard seduction-pregnancy-and-return sort of song, as in, e.g. "The Broom of Cowdenknows." But the piece feels more traditional than literary, so I've tentatively included it in the Index even though I've never seen its like. - RBW

Cross references

References

  1. Kinloch-BBook II, pp. 4-11, "The Sleepy Merchant" (1 text)
  2. Roud #7164
  3. BI, KinBB02