The Babes Who Were Stolen Away

Reprinted in AppLit with permission, from the James Taylor Adams Collection
U of Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College

Collected by James M. Hylton

Wise, Virginia 

NOTE: This text was recopied directly from a typewritten copy in the archives of the Blue Ridge Institute. James Taylor Adams (1892-1954) kept typewritten copies of the folklore he and others collected during the last thirty years of his life, while he lived in Wise County, VA. Typographical errors in the original, including the misspelling in the title below, have not been corrected, except for a few obvious errors in spacing. One apparent error in a pronoun has been corrected in square brackets in the first stanza. For details on other tales about lost and unfortunate children, see The Babes in the Woods - and - The Two Lost Babes - and - Hansel and Gretel.


James M. Hylton  


Wise, Virginia.

 (Folk Ballads)


Related to this Writer March 23, 1942, Wise, Virginia, by Mrs. Cornelia Ann (Carter) Robbins, aged 66 years of age and the daughter of Asbury Carter one of the older residents of the Glamorgan section near Wise, Va. She has already been of help to this writer in the way of Songs etc. During an interview with her in her home in East Wise this date she recited to me this old Religious-sort-of Ballad. One that is an old-timer in every respect. She has read it from an old book she has in her possession now.

"The Babes Who Were Stollen Away"


There was a lady, and a lady was she

And childrenshe had three.

She sent them away to the North Country

To learn their Grammeree.

The[y] hadn't been there but a very little while,

Till death, sweet death, came hastening along,

And stole these babes away.


There is a King in Heaven

Who wears a starry crown.

Pray send me down, my three little babes,

Tonight or in the morning soon.

She looked out her window and saw

Her three little babes a-coming,

Come running to their mother's home.


Go fix a table in the little black room,

And on it place bread and wine;

Come eat and drink of mine.

Mama, we don't want your bread

Nor Mama do we want your wine;

For yonder stands our Savior dear, unto Him we must asign.


Go fix a bed in the little back room,

On it put clean-washed sheets,

And on that put a Golden spread

For my three little babes a bed.

Take it off, take it off, said the oldest one

Take it off, take it off, said she,

For the chickens will soon crow for day.


Take it off, take it off, said the next oldest one,

Take it off, take it off, said she

For yonder stands our Saviour dear, unto him we must asign.

Go dig our grave both wide and deep, a marble stone at the head,

And cold clay at one foot.

For tears, sweet tears, that our Mother shed,

Hath wet the winding sheet on our bed.


Replacement photocopy made by BRI, 9/1992

copyright 2007 U of Virginia's College at Wise/Blue Ridge Institute of Ferrum College
all rights reserved

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