“Whistle, Daughter, Whistle”


The mother offers her daughter a (cow) if she will whistle. The daughter says she cannot. The request is repeated with (sheep, etc.); each time the daughter refuses. Finally the mother offers a man; the daughter engages to whistle with all her might

Supplemental text

Whistle, Daughter, Whistle
  Partial text(s)

          *** A ***

From Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, Volume I, #109B, p. 411.
Collected from May Kennedy McCord, July 12, 1936.

Whistle, daughter, whistle, and you shall have a cow,
I cannot whistle, mother, you never showed me how.

Whistle, daughter, whistle, and you shall have a sheep.
I cannot whistle, mother, and neither can I sleep.

(8 additional stanzas)


This song has a close German parallel known, e.g., as "Spinn Spinn"; note that this was actually collected in Pennsyvania and printed in Henry. - RBW

[Sharp reports of his version,] "The words given me by the singer were a little too free and unconventional to be published without emendation, but the necessary alterations have, nevertheless, been very few and unimportant." - PJS

Cross references


  1. Randolph 109, "Whistle, Daughter, Whistle" (1 text plus 2 fragments, 2 tunes)
  2. Sharp-100E 59, "Whistle, Daughter, Whistle" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. BrownII 186, "Whistle, Daughter, Whistle" (1 text plus mention of 2 more)
  4. Lomax-FSNA 107, "Whistle, Daughter, Whistle" (1 text, 1 tune)
  5. SharpAp 134, "Whistle, Daughter, Whistle" (1 text, 1 tune)
  6. Chase, pp. 138-139, "Lolly Too Dum" (2 texts, 1 tune, with the first actually being this song)
  7. Opie-Oxford2 128, "Whistle, daughter, whistle" (3 texts)
  8. Baring-Gould-MotherGoose #255, p. 158, "(Whistle, daughter, whistle)"
  9. MHenry-Appalachians, pp. 219-220, "Spin, Meine Liebe Tochter" (1 text)
  10. Silber-FSWB, p. 343, "Whistle, Daughter, Whistle" (1 text)
  11. BBI, ZN1781, "Mother let me Marry, I long to be a Bride"
  12. ST R109 (Partial)
  13. Roud #1570
  14. BI, R109


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1868 (Notes & Queries); a manuscript copy from 1740 has been alleged (this is probably a copy known to Halliwell)
Found in: US(Ap,SE,So) Britain(England) Ireland