Tam Lin Balladry

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Tam O' The Linn

Source: The popular rhymes of Scotland, with illustr., collected by Robert Chambers


Tam o The Linn brags about eating puddings with pins in them. He makes himself pants out of sheepskin turned the wrong way around. When one of his children falls in the fire and complains of the heat, he tells the child that hell is hotter. When he can't find a stable for his horse, he falls into a river and is satisfied.

Tam O&apos The Linn

  1. Tam o' the Linn cam up the gait
    Wi' twenty puddins on a plate,
    And every puddin had a pin -
    "We'll eat them a',' quo' Tam o' the Linn.
  2. Tam o' the Linn, had nae breeks to wear,
    He coft him a sheep's-skin to mak him a pair,
    The fleshy side out, the woolly side in -
    "It's fine summer cleedin', quo' Tam o' the Linn.
  3. Tam o' the Linn and a' his bairns,
    They fell in the fire in ilk ither's airms;
    "Oh," quo' the bunemost, "I hae a het skin" -
    "It's hetter below", quo' Tam o' the Linn.
  4. Tam o' the Linn gaed to the moss,
    To seek a stable to his horse;
    The moss was open, and Tam fell in -
    "I've stabled mysel', quo' Tam o' the Linn.

Version Notes

There are a number of other versions of this ballad, some of them calling the main character Tam and some calling him Robert or Bryan. An interesting discussion can be read at Digital Traditions.

This story is not related to the ballad of Tam Lin, but provided as an illustration of another tale with a similar name, although rather different characters.

Added to site: September 2014