Some ballads told of requests of sick and dying children

Published 3:50 pm Friday, November 25, 2011

Tragic circumstances provided material for many a ballad in the Dark Corner, none more poignant than those surrounding the impending death of a young child.
In the frugal existence of these mountain people, possessions were meager. Toys were few and handmade. Clothes were as well. The one possession of youngsters that was not made by a family member would most likely be a pair of shoes.
These would be well cared for and worn sparingly, for they had to last a long time. They were highly prized by all children.
This is the happenstance that is related in a favorite ballad called “Put My Little   Shoes Away.” A dying child wants his toys given to playmates, but his beloved pair of shoes are special and meant for a special person.
Put My Little Shoes Away
Mother dear, come bathe my forehead,
I am growing very weak;
Let a drop of water, Mother,
Fall upon my burning cheek.
Tell my loving, little playmates
That I never more shall play;
Give them all my toys, but Mother,
Put my little shoes away.
Santa Claus, he gave them to me
With so many other things;
And I think he brought an angel
With a pair of golden wings.
Mother, soon I’ll be with Jesus
   E’er perhaps another day;
Then, oh then, my loving Mother,
Put my little shoes away.
Soon the baby will grow larger,
They will fit his little feet;
Won’t he look so handsome, Mother,
As he walks along the street.
Mother, now I’ll soon be leaving,
So remember what I say;
Then, oh then, my loving Mother,
Put my little shoes away.

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