“The Banks o' Skene”


"When I was just a rantin' girl, About the age of sixteen, I fell in love wi' a heckler lad Upon the banks o' Skene." The girl cuts her hair, puts on men's clothes, offers to be his apprentice. He sees through the disguise and offers to make her his wife


This seems to exist in two versions: One very short, from Ord, which matches the description above; the other, much longer, known from Grieg, in which the heckler (flax-dresser) takes the girl as an apprentice and the other girls find the new apprentice attractive. But so does the heckler himself, getting her drunk and having his way with her. In either case, they end up married. The long version is very reminiscent of things like "The Soldier Maid" and even "The Handsome Cabin Boy." - RBW

Cross references


  1. Ord, p. 395, "The Banks o' Skene" (1 text)
  3. Roud #5613
  4. BI, Ord395A


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1930 (Ord)
Found in: Britain(Scotland)