“The Fairy Boy”


"A mother came when stars were paling," crying, calling on the fairy king to return her son. She has no answer and concedes that "In this world I have lost my joy; But in the next we ne'er shall sever, There will I find my fairy boy"


O'Conor: "When a beautiful child pines and dies, the Irish peasant believes the healthy infant has been stolen by the fairies, and a sickly elf left in its place." This is a note taken without attribution from _The Ballad Poetry of Ireland_ by Charles Gavin Duffy (Dublin, 1845), p. 79. [Of course, the notion of the changeling is common in British folklore. - RBW]

O'Conor sometimes omits the end of a song when it won't fit on the page and there is no space available on another page. This is one example. "Digging for Gould" is another.

Broadside LOCSinging sb10130a: H. De Marsan dating per _Studying Nineteenth-Century Popular Song_ by Paul Charosh in American Music, Winter 1997, Vol 15.4, Table 1, available at FindArticles site. - BS


  • Bodleian, Harding B 15(101a), "The Fairy Boy", D. Batchelar (London), 1836-1842; Harding B 18(156), Firth c.18(191), Harding B 15(101b), "[The] Fairy Boy"
  • LOCSheet, sm1840 371930, "The Fairy Boy", George Willig (Philadelphia), 1840 (tune)
  • LOCSinging, sb10130a, "The Fairy Boy", H. De Marsan (New York), 1864-1878; also as103670, "The Fairy Boy"


  1. O'Conor, p. 150, "The Fairy Boy" (1 partial text)
  2. ADDITIONAL: Edward Hayes, The Ballads of Ireland (Boston, 1859), Vol II, pp. 145-146, "The Fairy Boy"
  3. Roud #9293
  4. BI, OCon150


Author: Samuel Lover
Earliest date: 1840 (broadside, LOCSheet sm1840 371930)