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The cobbler and the butcher

from Jewels by Chris Foster

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Malcolm Austen gave me a set of words for 'The Cobbler and the Butcher' as sung by George Spicer, a farm worke from Kent. I already somehow had the tune from somewhere. The song has a great story, worthy of Chaucer, somewhere between pantomime and farce. I changed the text around a bit, including the last verse, which had the cobbler going home and beating up his wife.


This is just a little story but the truth I'm going to tell
All about a cunning cobbler who in Yeovil town did dwell (NB original version said Dover)
And a jolly butcher with a beautiful wife
But the cobbler he loved her as dearly as his life

fol the riddle I do
fol the riddle day

One day the butcher went to market to buy himself an ox
But then the cunning cobbler as sly as any fox
He put on his Sunday coat and a courting he did go
To the jolly butcher's wife because he loved her so


Now when the little cobbler come into the butcher's shop
The butcher's wife knew what he meant and she bid him for to stop
"O" says he "me darling have you got a job for me?"
And the butcher's wife so saucy said "I'll go up stairs and see"


So the butcher's wife she went up stairs and gave the snob a call
"Yes I've got an easy job for you if you have brought your awl
And if you do it workmanlike some cash to you I'll pay"
"Well thank you" says the cobbler and he began to stitch away
With his…


But as the cobbler was at work a knock come at the door
The cobbler scrambled under the bed and he hid upon the floor
"O" says he "me darling what will your husband say?"
But then she let the policeman in along with her to play
With his…


The cobbler lay there trembling far too terrified to move
And the policeman says "My dear O my darling O my love"
The cobbler he was thinking well how he loves his wife
He feared the old bed would collapse and take away his life
And his…


But then the butcher come from market in the middle of the night
The policeman he jumped out of bed and he soon got out of sight
The butcher's wife so nimbly she locked the bedroom door
But in her fright she quite forgot the cobbler on the floor
With his…


And then the butcher got a surprise when he climbed into his bed
"Something here is very hard" the butcher smiled and said
She said "It is my rolling pin" which made the butcher laugh
"How long have you been rolling dough with a policeman's staff?"


And then the butcher threw the truncheon underneath the bed
And there it smashed the piddle pot and cracked the cobbler's head
The cobbler cried out "Murder!" said the butcher "Who are you?"
"O I am a little cobbler who goes mending ladies shoes"
With my…


"Well if you are the little cobbler then come along with me
I will pay you for your mending before I set you free"
And then he locked him in the bull pen and the beast began to roar
And the butcher laughed to see him as he rolled him over and over again
With his…


And then early in the morning just as people got about
The butcher smeared his face with blood and then he turned him out
He pinned a paper on his back and on it was the news
This cobbler to the bedroom goes to mend the ladies shoes
With his…


And the people all were laughing just to see the cobbler run
His coat and britches were so torn and they could clearly see his bum
He run home to his wife but she locked and barred the door
And she said "That'll teach you not to go out mending anymore"
With your…



© traditional arranged Chris Foster


from Jewels, track released February 1, 2017
Chris Foster Vocal and guitar


all rights reserved



Chris Foster Reykjavik, Iceland

Chris Foster grew up in the south west of England. A master of his trade, he was recently described as “one of the finest singers and most inventive guitar accompanists of English folk songs, meriting legend status.” Over the past 40 years, he has toured throughout the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA. He has recorded six solo albums as well as working on many collaborative projects. ... more

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