“The Old Woman Who Went to Market (The Old Woman and the Pedlar)”


"There was a little woman, as I've heard tell, Fol loll, diddle diddle dol, She went to market her eggs for to sell." She falls asleep along the road. A peddlar cuts off her skirts at the knee. Panic ensues when she awakens


This has to be related somehow to "The Wee Wifikie." But the nature and direction of the dependence is unclear. If I had to guess, I'd say this came first, because the idea of a peddlar cutting off the woman's *skirt* (which obviously has sexual implications) might be softened by having him cut off her hair. - RBW

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 28(253), "The Little Woman and Her Eggs," J.Crome (Sheffield), c.1817


  1. Linscott, pp. 258-259, "The Old Woman Who Went to Market" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Opie-Oxford2 534, "There was a little woman" (2 texts)
  3. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #257, p. 159, "(There was an old woman, as I've heard tell)"
  4. Roud #3740
  5. BI, Lins258


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1784 (Wallis, according to Opie-Oxford2)
Found in: US(NE)