The Miller's Will

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Jerry recorded this with David Grisman for "Not For Kids Only." It was also played by Jerry with David Nelson at the College of San Mateo in 1962 The lyrics from the "Not For Kids Only" version are:

There was an old miller and he lived alone (note 1)
Had three sons all fully grown
When the time came to make out his will
All he had left was a little grist mill
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day

He called to him his eldest son (note 2)
Said, "son, oh son my race is run
If I a miller of you make
Pray tell me what toll you take?"
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day

Father, oh father my name is Bill
Out of each bushel I'd take a gill
You fool you fool the old man cries (note 3)
On such a little you'll never get a rise
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day

He called to him his, second son
Said, "son oh son my race is run
If I a miller of you make
Pray tell me what toll you'd take?"
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day

Father, oh father my name is, Ralph
Out of each bushel I'd take half
Not enough, not enough the old man said
Such a little you'd never get ahead
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day

He called to him his youngest son
Said, "son oh son my race is run
If I a miller of you make
Pray tell me what toll you would take?"
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day

Father, oh father my name is Paul
Out of each bushel I'd take all
Hallelujah, the old man cried
Then he turned up him toes, and he died
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day

They buried him in a little box grave
Some do not think his soul was saved
Where he went I could not say
But I rather believe he went the other way
Sing a fol-dig-a-di-oh, fol dig-a-day
The version collected by Sharp in 1918 was slightly different:
There was an old miller by everyone known
He had three sons was all nigh grown
When he came to die and make his will
He had nothing to give but an old tub mill

He called up his eldest son
He says, "My son, I'm almost done
And if the mill to you I'd make
Pray tell me how much toll you intend to take?"

"Oh dear father, my name is Heck
And out of each bushel I'll take one peck
And every bushel I do grind
A very fine living at that I'll find"

"You are a fool," the old man said
"You have not fairly learned my trade
The mill to you I will not give
For never a miller at that can live"

He next called up his second son
He says, "My son, I'm almost done
And if the mill to you I'd make
Pray tell me how much toll you intend to take?"

"Oh dear father, my name is Ralph
And out of each bushel I'd take one half
And every bushel I do grind
A very fine living at that I'll find"

"You are a fool," the old man said
"You have not fairly learned my trade
The mill to you I will not give
For never a miller at that can live"

He next called up his youngest son
He says, "My son, I'm almost done
And if the mill to you I'd make
Pray tell me how much toll you intend to take?"

"Oh dear father, I am your son
I'll take three pecks and leave just one
And if a good living at that I do lack
I'll take the other and swear to the sack"

"You are my son," the old man said
"For you have fairly learned my trade
The mill is yours," the old man cried
And he closed up his eyes and died
Notes
(1) Jerry sang "... lived all alone" in 1962
(2) in 1962, Jerry reversed the order of the sons, so it is the youngest first and the eldest (and succesful one) last.
(3) in 1962, Jerry sang "not enough, not enough the old man said, on such a little you'd never get ahead" - ie the same as to the second son.

Jerry Garcia Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
      1993 Not For Kids Only Garcia/Grisman