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Story No. 368

Paddock, Mousie, and Ratton

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More English Fairy Tales

Tradition: England

There lived a Puddock in a well,

And a merry Mousie in a mill.

Puddock he would a-wooing ride

Sword and pistol by his side.

Puddock came to the Mousie's inn,

'Mistress Mousie, are you within?'


'Yes, kind sir, I am within,

Softly do I sit and spin.'


'Madam, I am come to woo,

Marriage I must have of you.'


'Marriage I will grant you none

Till Uncle Ratton he comes home.'


'See, Uncle Ratton's now come in

Then go and bask the bride within.'

Who is it that sits next the wall

But Lady Mousie both slim and small?

Who is it that sits next the bride

But Lord Puddock with yellow side?

But soon came Duckie and with her Sir Drake;

Duckie takes Puddock and makes him speak.

Then came in the old carl cat

With a fiddle on his back:

'Do ye any music lack?'

Puddock he swam down the brook,

Sir Drake he catched him in his fluke.

The cat he pulled Lord Ratton down,

The kittens they did claw his crown.

But Lady Mousie, so slim and small,

Crept into a hole beneath the wall;

'Squeak,' quoth she, 'I'm out of it all.'


SOURCE Kirkpatrick Sharpe's Ballad Book, 1824, slightly anglicised.

PARALLELS Mr Bullen, in his Lyrics from Elizabethan Song Books, p. 202, gives a version, 'The Marriage of the Frog and the Mouse', from T. Ravenscroft's Melismata, 1611. The nursery rhyme of the frog who would a-wooing go is clearly a variant of this, and has thus a sure pedigree of three hundred years; cf. 'Frog husband' in my List of Incidents, or notes to 'The Well of the World's End' (No. 41).


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