Bawbee

Whall hire, whall hire, whall hire me?
Three plumps and a wallop for ae bawbee.

The tale is that the people of Kirkmahoe were so poor, they could not afford to put any meat into their broth. A `cute cobbler invested all his money in buying four sheep-shanks, and when a neighbour wanted to make mutton broth, for the payment of one halfpenny the cobbler would “plump” one of the sheep-shanks into the boiling water, and give it a “wallop” or whisk round. He then wrapped it in a cabbage-leaf and took it home. This was called a gustin bone, and was supposed to give a rich “gust” to the broth. The cobbler found his gustin bone very profitable.

Jenny's bawbee.
Her marriage portion. The word means, properly, a debased copper coin, equal in value to a halfpenny, issued in the reign of James V. of Scotland. (French, bas billon, debased copper money.)

The word “bawbee” is derived from the laird of Sillebawby, a mint-master. That there was such a laird is quite certain from the Treasurer's account, September 7th, 1541, “In argento receptis a Jacobo Atzinsone, et Alexandro Orok de Sillebawby respective.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Related Content