Minore (The Twa Sisters)

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This ballad describes the envy-driven murder of one sister by another. It is at least as old as 1656, when it appeared in a broadsheet as “The Miller and the King’s Daughter.”

“At least 21 English variants exist under several names, including “Minnorie” or “Binnorie”, “The Cruel Sister”, “The Wind and Rain”, “Dreadful Wind and Rain”, “Two Sisters”, “The Bonny Swans” and the “Bonnie Bows of London”.”

lt is a tune and theme widely disperesed in many different European languages. There are at least 125 variants of it in Swedish alone, and the tale of a jealous sister murdering the other is a continual theme in many different European folk and romantic traditions.

The Lyrics of this version by the Halliards are as follows;

The were two sisters in one bower,
Minor, minor, minore,
And there came a young lad for to be their wooer,
By the bonnie damsides of Minore.

He courted the eldest with all of his land,
Minor, Minor, Minore,
But he courted the young one, with his right hand,
By the bonnie damsides of Minore.

He bought the eldest a broach and a ring,
Minor, minor, Minore,
But he loved the young one above anything,
By the bonnie damsides of Minore.

Sister, sister come to the dam,
Minor, minor, minore,
To see our father’s ship come in,
By the bonnie damsides of Minore.

They went to the dam and stood on a stone,
Minor, minor, minore,
And the eldest pushed the young one in,
To the bonnie damsides of Minore.

She swam up and she swam down,
Minor, minor, minore,
And she swam to where her sister stood,
On the bonnie damsides of Minore.

Sister, sister, give me your hand,
Minor, minor, minore,
Ye can have the miller lad and all of his lad,
He’s the bonnie miller lad of minore.

It wasn’t for that that i pushed you in,
Minor, minor, minore,
For you are the fairest and i am plain,
By the bonnie damsides of Minore.

Father, father come to the dam,
Minor, minor, minore,
There’s either a swan or a milk-white maid,
Lies drowning in the dams of Minore.

There’s none of them there with a face so fair,
Minor, minor, minore,
But the miller lad knew the yellow hair,
Of his own bonnie lass of minore.

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