> Steeleye Span > Songs > The Wee Wee Man

The Wee Wee Man

[ Roud 2865 ; Child 38 ; Ballad Index C038 ; trad.]

Steeleye Span sang The Wee Wee Man in 1973 on their album Parcel of Rogues.

Stanley Robertson sang The Wee Wee Man to Mike Yates in 2001-2002 as part of a medley of children’s songs. This recording was included in 2002 on the Kyloe Records anthology of songs, stories and ballads from Scottish Travellers, Traveller’s Tales Volume 2.

The Spiers Family sang The Wee Wee Man on their 2012 album Oh, Gin I Were There…. They noted:

This lovely little ballad has been slightly modified by Tom [Spiers] to make the story clearer. He also composed the tune, as he didn’t feel the one in ‘Bronson’ suited the words.


Steeleye Span sing The Wee Wee Man

’Twas down by Carterhaugh Father,
Between the water and the wall;
There I met with a wee wee man
And he was the least that ever I saw.

His legs were scarce a finger’s length
And thick and nimble was his knee.
Between his eyes a flee could go,
Between his shoulders inches three.

His beard was long and white as a swan,
His robe was neither green nor grey.
He clapped his hands, down came the mist,
And he sank and he’s fainted clean away.

He’s lifted up a stone six feet in height
And flung it farther than I could see.
And though I’d been a giant born,
I’d never had lifted it to my knee.

“Wee Wee Man but thou art strong,
Tell me where thy dwelling be.”
“It’s down beneath yon bonny green bower,
Though you must come with me and see.”


We rode on and we sped on
Until we came to a bonny green hall.
The roof was made of the beaten gold
And purest crystal was the floor.

There were pipers playing on every stair
And ladies dancing in glistering green.
He clapped his hands, down came the mist,
And the man and the hall no more were seen.

2× Chorus

The Spiers Family sing The Wee Wee Man

As I wis waakin aa alane
Atween the waater and the waa,
It’s there I spy’d a wee wee man
He wis the least I iver saa.

His legs were but a shathmont’s length
And thick and thimber wis his thighs.
Atween his broos there wis a span
And atween his shooders there wis three.

He picked up a muckle stane
And flung’t as far as I could see,
Gin I had been a Wallace wicht
I couldna lift it tae my knee.

“O wee wee man, yer afa strang,
Come tell me faar yer dwelling be.”
“My dwelling’s doon in yonder glen
will ye come there wi me tae see?”

Sae up we louped, and awa we rade
Till we cam tae a bonny green,
There we got doon tae rest oor horse
And it’s oot there cam a lady fine.

There were fower and twenty at her back
And aa sae bonny dressed in green,
Gin the King o Scotland hid bin there
The worst o them micht’iv bin his queen.

Then up we louped, and awa we rade
Till we cam tae a muckle haa,
The roofs were o the beaten gowd
And the fleers were o the cristals aa.

Fiddlers played in ilka neuk
And ladies dancin jimp and smaa,
Then in the twinkling o an ee
My wee wee man wis clean awa.

Out gart the lights, on cam the mist,
The dancers I nae mare could see.
I turned aboot, tae hae a look
And I wis at the fit o Benachie.


Thanks to Patrick Montague for correcting the lyrics.