“The Basket of Eggs”


Two sailors offer to carry a girl's basket. She says it contains eggs. The sailors go to an ale-house. The landlord opens the basket and finds a baby. The sailors offer to pay any woman who will take the child. The girl takes the money and the child

Long description

Two sailors, out walking, spy a young girl and offer to carry her basket for her. She accepts, telling them it contains eggs, and asking them to leave it for her at the Half-way House. The sailors, laughing at the maid's foolishness, go to an ale-house and order up bacon to go with the eggs they have stolen. The landlord opens the basket and finds, not eggs, but a baby. Appalled, the sailors offer 50 guineas to any woman who will take the child. The girl (sitting in the corner) takes the money and the child, then informs the sailor that he is the child's father. The sailor accepts his responsibility, but angrily kicks the basket, swearing he'll never like eggs anymore.

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 28(166), "Basket of Eggs" ("Through Sandbach fields two sailors walking"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824


  • Minty Smith, "The Basket of Eggs" (on Voice11)


  1. Vaughan Williams/Lloyd, pp. 18-19, "The Basket of Eggs" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. MacSeegTrav 49, "Eggs In Her Basket" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Ord, pp. 144-145, "The Foundling Child" (1 text)
  5. Roud #377
  6. BI, VWL018


Alternate titles: “The Sailor's Child”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1825 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 28(166))
Found in: Britain(England (Lond,South,West),Scotland (Aber,Shetland))