The Two Magicians
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Lesley Nelson-Burns

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Variations of this ballad are known in Italy, Romania, Greece, and Poland as well as Southern Europe. It appeared in print in 1828 in Buchan's Ancient Ballads and Songs. Magical transformation was often a subject of folklore.

The ballad The two Kinde Lovers; Or, The Maiden's resolution and will To be like her true Lover still was printed at London by the Assignes of Thomas Symcocke before 1630. It contains similar elements to The Two Magicians.

This ballad is Child Ballad #44 (The Twa Magicians).

For a complete list of Child Ballads at this site go to Francis J. Child Ballads.

O She look'd out of the window
White as any milk;
But He look'd into the window
As black as any silk.
Chorus
Hulloa, hulloa, hulloa, hulloa,
You coal black smith!
You have done me no harm
You never shall change my maiden name
That I have kept so long;
I'd rather die a maid.
Yes, but then she said,
And be buried all in my grave
Than I'd have such a
nasty, husky, dusky, musty, fusky
coal black smith
A maiden I will die.


Then she became a duck,
A duck all on the stream;
And he became a water dog
And fetch'd her back again.
Chorus
Hulloa, hulloa, hulloa, hulloa,
You coal black smith!
You have done me no harm
You never shall change my maiden name
That I have kept so long;
I'd rather die a maid.
Yes, but then she said,
And be buried all in my grave
Than I'd have such a
nasty, husky, dusky, musty, fusky
coal black smith
A maiden I will die.


Then she became a hare,
A hare upon the plain;
And he became a greyhound dog
And fetch'd her back again.
Chorus
Hulloa, hulloa, hulloa, hulloa,
You coal black smith!
You have done me no harm
You never shall change my maiden name
That I have kept so long;
I'd rather die a maid.
Yes, but then she said,
And be buried all in my grave
Than I'd have such a
nasty, husky, dusky, musty, fusky
coal black smith
A maiden I will die.


Then she became a fly;
A fly all in the air;
And he became a spider
And fetch'd her to his lair.
Chorus
Hulloa, hulloa, hulloa, hulloa,
You coal black smith!
You have done me no harm
You never shall change my maiden name
That I have kept so long;
I'd rather die a maid.
Yes, but then she said,
And be buried all in my grave
Than I'd have such a
nasty, husky, dusky, musty, fusky
coal black smith
A maiden I will die.

Additional Versions
Related Links
From One Hundred English Folksongs
See Bibliography for full information.