“The Drunkard's Horse”


Conversation between a man and his horse. The man beats the horse; the horse tells the man to leave him alone, as the beast is just doing its job. (They continue on their round of taverns)


I can't help but think that this story was influenced by the Biblical account of Baalam's Ass (Numbers 22:22-35), which also has a beast of burden talking back to its owner after the owner beat the beast. - RBW


  • Warde Ford, "Barefooted in front and no shoes on behind" (AFS 4209 B3, 1939; in AMMEM/Cowell)


  1. SharpAp 160, "The Horse's Complaint" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph 318, "The Drunkard's Horse" (2 texts plus a fragment, 2 tunes)
  3. Randolph/Cohen, pp. 269-270, "The Drunkard's Horse" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 318A)
  4. Roud #2799
  5. BI, R318


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1918 (Cecil Sharp collection)
Keywords: animal horse drink
Found in: US(SE,So)