Devil in the Garden

(Bob Coltman, BMI)

Cathy Barton: autoharp, lead vocal; Dave Para: guitar, lead vocal; Additional chorus vocals: Caroline Paton, Sandy Paton, Ed Trickett

It is one of life's great rewards to meet and work with people you have long admired. Bob Coltman is one of many people to whom Ed Trickett introduced us in the winter of 1980, and we long have marveled at his music and creativity. This song, a rewrite of Child #1, "Riddles Wisely Expounded," or"The Devil's Nine Questions," is from Bob's great album of such rewrites, Son of Child (Minstrel JD-205). Bob says he sees it "set in a moonlit garden of some decaying southern mansion, the Devil in the shape of a portly senator and the wise virgin a sassy flapper out for a breath of air." Professor Child may be in orbit over this, but it sure is fun to sing.

(Dave Para)

Pretty little girl evil dressed in white,
  Weave, wove, and woven,
Walking in the garden alone at night,
Walking in the garden without any light,
  Hee-ho, Devil in the garden,
  Devil in the garden a-rovin'.


Out in the garden she met a man walking.
She knew she shouldn't, but she couldn't help larking.
Before she knew it, she and him were a-talking.

"Looky-here, girl, do you know who I am?"
"Yes, sir, yes, sir, and I'm in a jam,
Because you're the original flimflam man."

"Looky-here, girl, you gotta play my game:
Nine hard questions, your soul to claim,
And you must answer them just the same.

"What is lost and can never be found?
What is the ring that can never roll around,
And what is the rock that can never break down?"

"Days are lost and can never be found.
The ring of the bell will never roll around,
And the rock of the cradle will never break down."

"What are the strings that can never be tied?
What is the mare nobody can ride,
And what is the question no one can decide?"

"Man's heartstrings can never be tied.
Old nightmare nobody can ride,
And where I'm going, even you can't decide."

"What is bluer than the sky so blue?
What is truer than me and you
And what can you tell the poor old Devil to do?"

"Bluer is the blue (water) in Duncan's well.
Truer is love than tongue can tell,
And I can tell the Devil to go straight to Hell."

"Fare you well, then, human girl.
It's God and me and you in the middle,
And you speak so smart to the Devil's riddle,
You are not mine, you are of this world."

©1992 Folk-Legacy Records, Inc. Sharon, Connecticut 06069
  Used by permission.