Fair Ellender

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Father, oh father, come riddle to me
Come riddle it all as one
And tell me whether to marry fair Ellen
Or bring the brown girl home

The brown girl she has house and land
Fair Ellender she has none
And there I charge you with the blessing
To bring the brown girl home

He got on his horse and he rode and he rode
He rode 'til he came to her home
And no one as ready as fair Ellen herself
To rise and bid him in

What news have you brought unto me, Lord Thomas?
What news have you brought unto me?
I've come to invite you to my wedding
A sorrowful wedding to be

Mother, oh mother, would you go or stay?
Fair child do as you please
I'm afraid if you go, you'll never return
To see your dear mother any more

She turned around all dressed in white
Her sisters dressed in green
And every town that she rode through
Took her to be some queen

They rode and they rode 'til they came to the hall
She pulled on the bell and it rang
And no one se ready as Lord Thomas himself
To rise and welcome her in

He taking her by her lily white hand
And leading her through the hall
Saying, "Fifty gay ladies are here today
"But here is the flower of all"

The brown girl she was standing by
With knife ground keen and sharp
Between the long ribs and the short
She pierced fair Ellender's heart

Lord Thomas he was standing by
With knife ground keen and sharp
Between the long ribs and the short
He pierced his own bride's heart

By placing the handle against the wall
The point against his breast
Saying, "This is the end of three true lovers
"God send us all to rest"

Father, oh father, go dig my grave
Go dig it wide and deep
And place fair Ellender in my arms
The brown girl at my feet
Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
      5 Sep 1990 Shady Grove Garcia/Grisman