“Young Johnstone”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1769 (Herd)
Keywords: homicide love brother reunion family hiding
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber,Bord)) Ireland Canada(Mar)


Johnstone kills his love's brother, then seeks shelter with (successively his mother, his sister, and) his love. She hides him from his pursuers, whom she feeds while he rests. They leave and she goes to him. He kills her, probably in confusion. He dies.


Also collected and sung by Ellen Mitchell, "Johnston and the Young Colonel" (on Kevin and Ellen Mitchell, "Have a Drop Mair," Musical Tradition Records MTCD315-6 CD (2001)) - BS


  1. Child 88, "Young Johnstone" (6 texts)
  2. Bronson 88, "Young Johnstone" (4 versions+2 in addenda)
  3. Flanders-Ancient2, pp. 293, "Young Johnstone" (1 text, from "The Charms of Melody" rather than tradition)
  4. Mackenzie 10, "Johnson and the Colonel" (1 text, 1 tune); "Johnson and Coldwell" (1 text) {Bronson's #4}
  5. Leach, pp. 283-284, "Young Johnstone" (1 text)
  6. PBB 60 "Young Johnstone" (1 text)
  7. DT 88, JOHNSTON*
  8. Roud #56
  9. BI, C088