“Dick o the Cow”


Johnnie Armstrong decides on a raid, but has little luck. He is advised to steal the three kye of Dick o the Cow, a "fool." Dick seeks redress; when denied, he makes off with horses in exchange for his cattle, and finally gets a reward from his master


This ballad may have some roots in history, but had clearly been magnified beyond recognition and become rather confused in the process. Child has various speculations; most are possible but none really convincing. - RBW


  1. Child 185, "Dick o the Cow" (1 text)
  2. Bronson 185, "Dick o the Cow" (1 version)
  3. Leach, pp. 498-504, "Dick o the Cow" (1 text)
  4. OBB 142, "Dick o' the Cow" (1 text)
  5. Roud #4012
  6. BI, C185


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1775 (Percy papers)
Found in: Britain(Scotland)