Kellyburn Braes

Lyric as sung by Dick Gaughan

Thair wis an auld carle on Kellyburn Braes
(ritefal, ritefal, tittie fal day)
Thair wis an auld carle on Kellyburn Braes
He mairriet a wife an he rued the day
(wi ma rite falal, tittie falal, ritefal, ritefal, tittie falay)

Ae day the auld fairmer wis haudin the plou
Whan up jumps Auld Nick an says "Hou dae ye do?"

Says the Deil tae the fairmer, "A've come for yer wife"
"For A hear she's the bane an the curse o yer life"

At this the auld fairmer he dances a reel
Cryin, "Tak her, O, tak her, O, tak her tae Hell"

The Deil he humphit her up oan his back
Whan thae landit in Hell, lat her doun wi a crack

Thair wis seiven wee deivils wis hingin in chains
She picked up a stick an she scattert thair brains

The ither wee deivils aa stertit tae bawl
"O, tak her back, daddie, she'll murder us aa"

Sae the Deil he humphs her again oan his back
Whan he got tae the tap, flung her doun wi a crack

He says, "A've been the Deivil for maist o ma life
But a ne'er wis in Hell til A met wi yer wife"

Nou, it's true at the weemin is worse than the men
For thae gang doun tae Hell an get flung out again!

Song Notes

Perhaps the first 'traditional' song I ever consciously learned. At family gatherings there were always songs and you could calculate the speed my Uncle Willie was drinking by how long it took him to get round to this one.

It was an unspoken but strictly observed taboo that nobody would ever sing a song that was part of another's repertoire, but this did not apply to the children so I was singing this from about age 6 or 7.

It is a variant of the classic "Devil and the Farmer's Wife" theme. Robert Burns collected a version by the same name but it is very different from this.

Top of Page