Tag Archives: guest post

Weekly Guest Post: Gaby’s “Twa Sisters”

Hello all! Gaby here from Lacquerbird.

Today I have something that’s been on my back burner for a while: “The Twa Sisters”. This is a murder ballad known by many different names and lyrics, but the story has always fascinated me: Two sisters, one dark and one fair, love the same man. The dark girl, the elder, pushes her fair sister into a river to drown because she knows the man loves her sister more. A fiddler finds the girl’s body (and, in some versions, mistakes if for a swan’s!) and makes a fiddle out of her bones and hair.

By Gaby of Lacquerbird

I heard this version on the Songcatcher (2000) soundtrack and, maybe it because I have a fair sister of my own*, I never forgot it. Most Appalachian music has roots in old English and Irish ballads, and this one dates as far back as 1656 in one of its forms.

[ * I have never considered drowning my sister. ]


There were two sisters of county Clare,
Oh, the wind and rain
One was dark and the other was fair,
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

And they both had a love of the miller’s son,
Oh, the wind and rain
But he was fond of the fairer one,
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

So she pushed her into the river to drown
Oh, the wind and rain
And watched her as she floated down
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

And she floated till she came to the millers pond
Oh, the wind and the rain
Dead on the water like a golden swan
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

As she came to rest on the riverside
Oh, the wind and the rain
And her bones were washed by the rolling tide
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

And along the road came a fiddler fair
Oh, the wind and rain
And found her bones just a lying there, cried
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

So he made a fiddle peg of her long finger bone
Oh, the wind and the rain
He a made a fiddle peg of her long finger bone, crying
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

And he strung his fiddle bow with her long yellow hair
Oh, the wind and the rain
He strung his fiddle bow with her long yellow hair, cried
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

And he made a fiddle fiddle of her breast bone
Oh, the wind and rain
He made a fiddle fiddle of her breast bone, cried
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

But the only tune that the fiddle could play was
Oh, the wind and rain
The only tune that the fiddle would play was
Oh, the dreadful wind and rain

– A murder ballad first heard in 1656, also known as “Dreadful Wind and Rain” and “Bonnie Bows of London”. Collected by Francis J. Child.

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Featured Guest: Gaby’s Drawing-A-Day 365 Project

A drawing for The World According to Garp, by John Irving: “In this dirty-minded world…”

Hi everyone! Gaby here, from the Lacquerbird blog. Let me start by saying…

I am a terrible blogger.

I have tried to blog many times, and every time it begins with a big hoorah, an exchange of URLs and back-pats from my other blogging friends, a first entry, and then… nothing. Like those people who have short-term memory loss from running their bike into a tree or eating paint chips, I not only forget that I had a blog, but that blogs exist and I told people to read mine.

But this time. This time is different. This time I’ll be posting A SKETCH A DAY. This may be a finished drawing, a very small sketch, or something entirely different. I knit sometimes, maybe I’ll post a hat. The point is, this is a commitment. And I’m gonna commit.

Ready yourselves, interweb.