“The Wee Wee Man”


The singer meets a "wee wee man," who, despite his size, proves amazingly strong. He takes the singer on a tour to his home, and shows him the finest ladies he has ever seen -- but then disappears.


Carterhaugh, also mentioned as the site of magic in "Tam Lin," "is a plain at the confluence of the Ettrick and Yarrow in Selkirkshire" (Scott).

Child prints as an appendix to this ballad the poem "Als Y Yod on ay Mounday," found in a single copy in British Museum MS. Cotton Julius A5, dated firmly to the fourteenth century. This is curious in a number of ways. There is no doubt that the two items go back to the same folkloric roots -- but "Wee Wee Man" seems to be purely Scottish, and "Als Y Yod" is a very difficult Northumbrian dialect.

E. B. Lyle, in "The Wee Wee Man and Als Y Yod on y Mounday" (reprinted in Lyle, Ballad Studies, 1976), examines the nature of the parallels between the two, but does not reach any clear conclusions. His suggestion is that both derive from some lost proto-romance does not strike me as compelling, though it is certainly possible. - RBW


  1. Child 38, "The Wee Wee Man" (7 texts)
  2. Bronson 38, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 version)
  3. BrownII 11, "The Wee, Wee Man" (1 text)
  4. Randolph-Legman II, pp. 587-588, "The Wee Wee Man" (2 texts, one of them the Brown version)
  5. Leach, pp. 135-136, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
  6. OBB 11, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
  7. PBB 11, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
  8. Gummere, pp. 293-294+362, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
  9. Montgomerie-ScottishNR 198, "(THe WEe, Wee Man)" (1 text)
  10. DT 38, WEEWEEMN
  11. ADDITIONAL: Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #315, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
  12. Roud #2865
  13. BI, C038


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1776 (Herd)
Keywords: magic home
Found in: Britain(Scotland) US(SE,So)