West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature: Ghosts 

Molly Vaunder

collected by Juanita Dawson

Illustration by Corey Knoll



Listen to the song.

Molly Vaunder went a walking, when a shower came on;
She went under a birch tree the shower to shun.
Jimmie Randells was a hunting, a hunting in the dark.
He shot at his true love and he missed not his mark.

He picked up his gun, to his uncle did run
Saying, "Uncle, dearest uncle, I have killed Molly Vaughn!
I've killed that fair damsel, the joy of my life,
And I always intended to make her my wife."

Up stepped Jimmie's father, with his locks turning gray
Saying, "Jimmie, dearest Jimmie, do not run away.
Stay in your country till your trial comes on;
You ne'er shall be hurt for killing Mollie Vaughn."

On the day of Jimmie's trial, Mollie's ghost did appear.
"Say, ye gentlemen of the jury, young Jimmie goes clear.
With a white apron round me, he took me for a swan
And Jimmie shall ne'er be hurt for killing Mollie Vaughn."


[NOTE: There are different versions of Molly's name. The music of the first verse goes with the name "Vaunder"; the words of the other verses rhyme with "Vaughn." At least the first three letters are the same. For other versions of this story, including an illustrated book by Barry Moser, and background information, see AppLit page Polly Vaughn.]


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West Virginia's Appalachian Music and Literature is a self-contained teaching unit by Avis Caynor and Reneé Wyatt (1997), reprinted with permission in 2003 in the larger web site AppLit.

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