“The Orphan Girl (The Orphan Child)”


The orphan girl at the rich man's door cries, "No home." Ragged, hungry, and cold, she begs for help, but the rich man turns her away. In the night she freezes to death, "but her soul has gone to a home above where there's room and bread for the poor"

Supplemental text

Orphan Girl, The (The Orphan Child)
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Harvey H. Fuson, Ballads of the Kentucky Highlands, pp. 106-107.
Copy supplied by Professor Leon Denny Moses.

"No home, no home," pleads a little orphan girl,
At the door of a Prince's hall,
As she trembling stood on the parlour steps,
And leaned against the parlour wall.

Her clothes were thin, and her feet were bare,
And the snow had covered her head,
"Oh, give me a home," she feebly said,
"A home and a piece of bread."

The rich man sleeps on his velvet couch
And dreams of his silver and gold,
While the poor little girl, on her bed of snow,
Lies murmuring, "Cold, so cold."

(Stanzas 1, 2, 6 of 7)


Stephen Foster wrote a piece, "No Home, No Home" (1862), but this song is much more detailed and does not resemble Foster's.

The Darling text, "The Coal Miner's Child," has been localized to mining conditions without in any way distancing it from the other versions of this song. This adapted version, however, bears a special resemblance to "The Miner's Doom" [Laws Q36]. - RBW


  • Fiddlin' John Carson, "The Orphan Child" (OKeh 7006, 1924)
  • Buell Kazee, "The Orphan Girl" (Brunswick 211, 1928; Supertone S-2045, 1930; on KMM)
  • Lester McFarland & Robert Gardner, "The Orphan Girl" (Vocalion 5369, 1929)
  • Len Nash & his Country Boys, "The Orphan Girl" (Brunswick 387, 1929)
  • Riley Puckett, "The Orphan Girl" (Columbia 15050-D, 1926; rec. 1925)
  • Ernest Stoneman, "The Orphan Girl" (OKeh 45044, 1926) (Edison 52077/Edison [BA CYL] 5367, 1927)


  1. Belden, pp. 277-278, "The Orphan Girl" (1 text plus an excerpt from another, 1 tune)
  2. Randolph 725, "The Orphan Child" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  3. BrownII 148, "The Orphan Girl" (3 texts plus mention of 11 more)
  4. Chappell-FSRA 117, "The Orphan Girl" (1 text)
  5. Brewster 63, "The Orphan Girl" (3 texts plus an excerpt and mention of 1 more, 1 tune)
  6. McNeil-SFB2, pp. 177-178, "Orphan Girl" (1 text, 1 tune)
  7. Fuson, pp. 106-107, "The Little Orphan Girl" (1 text)
  8. Cambiaire, pp. 26-27, "The Orphan Girl" (1 text)
  9. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 124-125, "The Orphan Girl" (1 text)
  10. Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 364-366, "The Little Orphan Girl" (2 texts; 2 tunes on p. 454)
  11. Sandburg, pp. 316-319, "Mag's Song" (2 text plus a fragment, 1 tune)
  12. JHCox 153, "The Orphan Girl" (1 text)
  13. Darling-NAS, p. 368, "The Coal Miner's Child" (1 text)
  14. cf. Gardner/Chickering, p. 481, "The Orphan Girl" (source notes only)
  15. ST R725 (Partial)
  16. Roud #457
  17. BI, R725


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1906 (Belden)
Found in: US(Ap,MW,SE,So)