Johnny the Sailor (Green Beds) [Laws K36]

DESCRIPTION: Johnny comes from sea and asks the innkeeper for a bed and the chance to see her daughter (Molly). Neither is granted. He reveals that his last trip made him rich; the innkeeper offers him all he asked. He ignores the offer; he will go where he is wanted
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: before 1830 (broadside, Bodleian, Harding B 25(1124))
KEYWORDS: sea money courting greed landlord sailor
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,South),Scotland(Aber)) US(Ap,MW,NE,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Ont) Ireland
REFERENCES (36 citations):
Laws K36, "Johnny the Sailor (Green Beds)"
Belden-BalladsSongsCollectedByMissourFolkloreSociety, pp. 160-162, "Green Beds" (2 texts plus reference to 1 more)
Randolph 53, "Johnny the Sailor" (3 texts plus 2 excerpts, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen-OzarkFolksongs-Abridged, pp. 70-72, "Johnny the Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 53A)
Eddy-BalladsAndSongsFromOhio 32, "The Green Bed" (1 text)
Gardner/Chickering-BalladsAndSongsOfSouthernMichigan 24, "The Green Beds" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Warner-TraditionalAmericanFolkSongsFromAnneAndFrankWarnerColl 49, "Captain John" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lane/Gosbee-SongsOfShipsAndSailors, pp. 150-151, "Green Beds" (1 text, 1 tune)
Thompson-BodyBootsAndBritches-NewYorkStateFolktales, pp. 211-213, "(The Down Bed)" (1 text plus an excerpt of an older version)
Brown/Belden/Hudson-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore2 108, "Green Beds" (2 texts plus 2 excerpts and mention of 1 more)
Brown/Schinhan-FrankCBrownCollectionNCFolklore4 108, "Green Beds" (5 excerpts, 5 tunes)
Hudson-FolksongsOfMississippi 42, pp. 156-158, "Young Johnny" (1 text)
Moore/Moore-BalladsAndFolkSongsOfTheSouthwest 93, "Young Johnny" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-1ed, pp. 85-86, "Young Johnnie" (1 text, 1 tune)
Owens-TexasFolkSongs-2ed, pp. 62-64, "Young Johnnie" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Brewster-BalladsAndSongsOfIndiana 31, "Young Johnny" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Sandburg-TheAmericanSongbag, pp. 430-431, "Jackson" (1 text, 1 tune)
Sharp-EnglishFolkSongsFromSouthernAppalachians 58, "The Green Bed" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
Gentry/Smith-ASingerAmongSingers, #26, "The Green Bed" (1 text, 1 tune)
Greig-FolkSongInBuchan-FolkSongOfTheNorthEast #115, p. 2, "The Brisk Young Sailor Lad" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan1 48, "Johnny and the Landlady" (6 texts, 3 tunes)
VaughanWilliams/Lloyd-PenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs, pp. 48-49, "The Green Bed" (1 text, 1 tune)
Palmer-FolkSongsCollectedBy-Ralph-VaughanWilliams, #13, "The Green Bed" (1 text, 1 tune)
Butterworth/Dawney-PloughboysGlory, pp. 40-41, "A Story, A Story" (1 text, 1 tune)
Williams-Wiltshire-WSRO Ox 271, "John Returned from the Sea" (1 text)
Roud/Bishop-NewPenguinBookOfEnglishFolkSongs #10, "The Green Bed" (1 text, 1 tune)
Henry/Huntingdon/Herrmann-SamHenrysSongsOfThePeople H779, p. 54, "The Sailor in the Alehouse" (1 text, 1 tune)
Huntington-TheGam-MoreSongsWhalemenSang, pp. 170-171, "The Sailor's Return (Green Beds)" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cox-FolkSongsSouth 124, "Young Johnny" (1 text)
Mackenzie-BalladsAndSeaSongsFromNovaScotia 93, "Green Beds" (2 texts, 1 tune); "The Liverpool Landlady" (1 text, 1 tune)
Fowke-TraditionalSingersAndSongsFromOntario 8, "Johnny the Sailor" (1 text, 1 tune)
Ashton-RealSailorSongs, #47, "A Comical Dialog between an Honest Sailor and a Deluding Landlady, etc." (1 text)
Silber/Silber-FolksingersWordbook, p. 142, "Jackson" (1 text)
NorthCarolinaFolkloreJournal, W. Amos Abrams, "Uncle Pat Fry: Yadkin County Minstrel or The Blind Balladeer of East Bend," Vol. XVI, No. 3 (Nov 1968), pp. 159-160, "Young Johnny" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: James P. Leary, Compiler and Annotator, _Wisconsin Folklore_ University of Wisconsin Press, 2009, article "Kentucky Folksong in Northern Wisconsin" by Asher E. Treat, pp. 243-244, "Young Johnny He Has Landed" (1 text, 1 tune, sung by Pearl Jacobs Borusky)

Roud #276
Warde Ford, "Johnny" (AFS 4200 A1, 1938; tr.; in AMMEM/Cowell)
Bodleian, Harding B 25(1124), "Liverpool Landlady," T. Birt (London), 1828-1829; also Harding B 11(2177), Harding B 11(2178), Firth c.13(178), Firth c.13(177), "Liverpool Landlady"
cf. "The Wild Rover No More" (plot)
cf. "The Saucy Sailor (Jack and Jolly Tar II) [Laws K38]"
cf. "Sweet William of Plymouth" (theme: poor sailor returning wealthy, is rejected by sweetheart's parents who think him still poor)
cf. "Snapoo" (plot)
Jack Tar
I'll Tell You of a Story
The Sailor
NOTES [143 words]: Laws's numeration of the ballad subfamily known as "Jackson" is confused. In Native American Balladry he lists it as an American song, with no known relatives, and numbers it as dH40. However, in British Broadsides, he lists it as a version of "Johnny the Sailor." The latter identification is clearly correct, even though Sandburg-TheAmericanSongbag describes his text as a "survivor of the years of the War with Mexico."
Palmer explains the "Green Bed" as an emergency lodging that might be made up by a boarding house -- a temporary bed filled with greenery (hence the name). Lane/Gosbee-SongsOfShipsAndSailors, however, claims it as being an especially fine lodging, perhaps including a bundling companion (even, perhaps, the landlord's daughter).
To be sure, a fine bed might still be filled with green vegetation rather than, say, moldy old hay. - RBW
Last updated in version 6.4
File: LK36

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