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The Child in the Budget
(Roud 2993)
Martin Long
Cloontysmarra, Inagh
Recorded at a singing session in Marrinan’s Bar during the Willie Clancy Summer School, July 1975
Carroll Mackenzie Collection

 

Come all you good people and to you I’ll relate
A comical story that happened of late;
It’s something that’s pleasant, but not very long.
Perhaps it might come to the verse of a song.

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

Oh, it happened one evening in Kilkenny Street,
Where a whole batch of tinkers, they chanced for to meet.
There was some from Roscommon and some from Kildare,
And some from Tipperary, and the divil knows where.

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

When they all met together they began for to chat,
English and Irish and the divil knows what,
And like birds of one feather, they all did agree
To go down to Tim Lawlor’s and kick up a spree.

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

When they all went together they crowded the hall.
For the best sort of liquor those tinkers did call.
O’Shanahan said, “‘Twas for friendship we met,
And we never shall part till our whistles we wet.”

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

They drank health around till their money ran out,
And one of the tinkers, he thought of a plan.
‘Twas only the nigh before that, his wife was confined,
And into the budget* he hammered the child.

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

Then he said to his comrades, “It’s from you I must part,
But when I will return I'll give you a quart."
With his child in his budget he never did stop
Until he went in to a pawnbroker's shop.

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

He said, “Mr Dunphrey, I met with a friend,
And if you’re in the habit of money to lend,
I’ll lay by the budget, the hammers and shears,
And give me the price of a few gallons of beer.”

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

The bargain was made then without no dispute,
He gave him the money and his ticket to boot.
The tinker walked out when the job it was done
Saying, “The boys of the village can laugh at the fun.”

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

The tinker’s old budget was laid by the wall,
And very soon after the child made a bawl.
The pawnbroker started and said to his wife,
“There’s a child in the budget, I’ll bet you me life.”

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

The budget was opened without no delay;
The child, it was rolled in a small wisp a hay.
“We’re fairly outwitted”, says the pawnbroker’s wife;
“We’ll send for a nurse, sure, we won’t let it die.”

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

From laughing the pawnbroker no longer could bear;
He made a present of the baby unto the Lord Mayor.
The Lord Mayor, he was laughing until he was near dead,
To think that old budget, it was but a bed.

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

Oh, the town it was searched and the tinker was found,
The pawnbroker settled and gave him a pound
To take away the budget, the child and the shears;
So now, my good people, the goods are redeemed.

Rally fol the diddle ido, rally ring fol the dee.

* A budget is a bag or knapsack used for carrying tools.

"This good-natured piece, though very popular in Ireland, has not put in a public appearance very often, the only other recorded version available being that of Mary Ann Carolan of County Louth. There appears to be no published texts. The motif of a child being passed off to an either unwitting or unwilling recipient is a popular one in the tradition and can be found in England and Scotland, for instance, in ‘The Basket of Eggs’ and ‘The Butcher and the Chambermaid’. Kerry Traveller Mikeen McCarthy has a tale he calls ‘Mikeen and the County Home’ in which the recipient, himself in his version, is left holding the baby after pretending to be a woman's husband in order to get a night's lodgings at a County Home, or Workhouse, not realising she is about to give birth, and having to stay there for the length of the woman's confinement.
Ref: ‘And that's My Story, Tales and Yarns of Britain and Ireland’, cassette and booklet, VWML005.
Other recordings: Mary Ann Carolan, ‘Songs From the Irish Tradition’, Topic 12TS362"

The above commentary, lyrics and recording are taken from ‘Around the Hills of Clare: Songs and Recitations from the Jim Carroll and Pat Mackenzie Collection’ (2004) Musical Traditions Records MTCD331-2/Góilín Records 005-6.

See also
The Baby in the Kitbag sung by Mikey Kelleher


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