MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Little Mohee
Performed by Marie Sullivan Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 1A Track 11
Community: Calvert Audio:
Genre: Ballad / love remembered Laws H8


As I went walking one fine summer's day
I craved recreation at the close of the day
I sat me down musing alone on the grass
And there chanced to come by me but a young Indian lass

She came and sat near me and taking my hand
Saying, "You look like a stranger not one of our band
But if you'll care to listen and to wander with me
I will teach you the language of the little Mohee."

"No, no my fair maiden, that never can be
For I have a sweetheart in my own country
And I would not forsake her for I know she loves me
And she's just as faithful as the little Mohee."

The next time I saw her was out on the sand
As my ship sailed out past her she waved me her hand
Saying, "If you ever return, sir, to your own native shore
Think on the young Indian where the coconuts grow."

Oh now I am landed on my own native shore
Friends and relations crowd around me once more
Friends and relations but there's none I could see
Who would really compare with the little Mohee

The girl that I trusted proved untrue to me
She married another while I was at sea
So I steer my course southward far away I will flee
Spend the rest of my days with the little Mohee


Sources: Mercer 146, Leach 258, Fowke 1994: 154; Randolph I: 280 ("The Pretty Mohee"); cf Roud 166 and 275.

History: The earliest sources of this ballad are mid-19th century.

Text notes: An Indian girl invites a foreigner to her village. True to the girlfriend he left behind, the foreigner delines the invitation but when he goes home to find that his beloved has left him for another, he pines for the Indian girl. Reference to coconut groves locates the song outside of North America; some folklorists have suggested that Mohee is possibly a corruption of Maui.

Tune notes: This recording is regrettably in poor quality. The melody is in triple metre with an aabc pattern.


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