there was a night, and a lady bright
and three little babes had she
she sent them away
to a far country
to learn their grammery
they hadn't been gone
but a very short time
about three months and a day
when the lark's spread over this whole wild world
and take those babes away

it was on a cold, cold christmas night
when everything was still
and she saw her three little babes come runnin'
come runnin' down their hill

she set them a table of bread and wine
that they might drink and eat
she spread them a bed of winding sheet
that they might sleep so sweet

take it off, take it off
cried the eldest one
take it off, take it off cried she
for if she'd stay here in this wicked world
when there's a better world for me

cold clogs, cold clogs inside my bed
cold clogs down in my feet
but tears my dear, mother shed for me
would wed my winding sheet
would wed my winding sheet
the tears my dear, mother shed for me
would wed my winding sheet
would wed my winding sheet

Lyrics submitted by tiredgorilla

Three Little Babes song meanings
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  • +1
    General CommentThe melody of this song really, really reminds me a lot of 'dirty old town' of the Pogues!
    susanne_buiton September 04, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General CommentWell I remember studying an old (like really old, based on Scottish folklore maybe) poem for A-Level that was basically this exact story but I can't remember what it was called or who it was by and it's driving me completely mad.

    The story is that the three children were sent away and the woman became a widow. Later the children died, but returned to the woman as ghosts. She prepares them a feast and makes them a bed not realising they are dead, ... and I can't remember what happens then. There is something about the sons telling her about heaven maybe? Telling her that she isn't long for the world and will soon join them in death? I can't remember. Please, if anyone knows the name of the poem or story it's based on, post a link or something! Gah...
    poweroutageon June 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentCan I join in here guys?
    imanon June 23, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentyes mokabiel!
    LORD AROMOTHon July 20, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentHow come it says there are 42 comments. Where'd they all go? Anyway, this is an old traditional, right? Anybody know where from? Any story?
    myeh_manon August 16, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhy are there geese on a J Newsom site ?
    Gazeffon October 21, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat is going on here?! don't make me turn the lights on and off!
    eagle-bearon December 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Commentsong was by anne briggs as far as i know, redun recently by alisdair roberts...
    the creekon December 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentgrow up el sure are true to your username
    walnut_whaleon January 29, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI always thought it was "for he shan't stay here in this wicked world" not "for if she'd stay here in this wicked world"...?
    catherine kon April 29, 2007   Link

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