“My Father Had an Acre of Land”


"My father had an acre of land, Hey ho, sing ivy, My father had an acre of land, With a bunch of green holly and ivy." He farmed it in impossible ways: "plowed it with a team of rats," "rolled it with a rolling pin," "thrashed it with a hazel twig"


This song is sometimes listed as a variant of "The Elfin Knight" [Child 2], and in fact they share many ideas and some lyrics. However, the crucial element of "The Elfin Knight" is the dialog, whereas this is a song of impossible deeds. The should be kept separate. - RBW

Cross references


  • Bob & Ron Copper, "My Father Had an Acre of Land" (on FSB4)
  • Charlie Potter, "Sing Ivy" (on Voice14)
  • Tony Wales, "Sing Ivy" (on TWales1)


  1. Kennedy 300, "My Father Had an Acre of Land" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Flanders-Ancient1, pp. 51-78, "The Elfin Knight' (12 texts plus 3 fragments, not all from New England; 8 tunes; mostly of Child #2, but the "N" text, which has no tune, appears to be this song)
  3. Opie-Oxford2 158, "My father left me three acres of land" (1 text)
  4. Roud #12
  5. BI, K300


Alternate titles: “The Team of Rats”; “Sing Ivy”; “Sing Ovy, Sing Ivy”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1842
Found in: Britain(England(All))