“The Old Sow”


"And the old sow went to the barn to pig, (whistling) barn to pig, And the old sow went to the barn to pig, But never cry di dry do cry da. For old Susanna is a pretty woman." The sow and piglets may try to escape, but are stopped by the wall.


The Brown text and that from the Digital Tradition have little in common, but they both mention Susanna, are about sows, and contain a lot of nonsense; it seems pointless to separate them.

The editors of Brown seemed helpless to expain their text (quoted in full in the description, though they note that several lines are apparently missing), notably the verb "to pig." I wonder if it isn't an error for "to dig." Alternately, presumably, it means "to live as a pig" or "to have piglets." - RBW

The latter, according to the Random House Dictionary. - PJS


  • Albert Richardson, "The Old Sow" (on Voice07)
  • Cyril Smith, "The Old Sow Song" (Castle [UK?] 1259, n.d.)
  • Rudy Vallee & his Connecticut Yankees w. Cyril Smith, "The Old Sow Song" (Bluebird B-7078, 1937)


  1. BrownIII 178, "The Old Sow" (1 fragment)
  3. Roud #1737
  4. BI, Br3178


Alternate titles: “Susannah's a Funny Old Man”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1922 (Brown)
Keywords: animal
Found in: US(SE) Britain(England(Lond))