apple davy?

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Jan 20 18:27:46 UTC 2010

Not the heartier version of apple (brown) betty?  :-)

Michael Sheehan may have done all of the following, but in any case
...  Perhaps one of the recent authors named below can be contacted,
or a folklore society (about the counting-out rhyme).

1)  Internet Archive (which seems in my experience to contain
generally poor OCL scannings) has the following in "VICTORIAN SONG /
 From Dive to Drawing Room".  Anonymous there, but he can be
identified as Disher, Maurice Willson, 1893-, and the book as London,
Phoenix House [1955]. (Also in Google Books, snippet view.)  Subject
to the caveat that it may be a mis-scanning:

I first saw the ole black oss,
He was standing on 'is 'ead, was that noble quadruped,
And a playing at a game o* pitch and toss.
He'd a fine Roman nose, and he walk'd on his toes,
I'll take my apple-davy it is true,
His neck was awry and he'd only got one eye,
And his tail was all a-swivel and a-skew.
So she says, says Mary Ann

This song is introduced by:
"Half-way through these illustrations, Corney Grain had the stage to
himself for some new musical sketch "At the Seaside", "Our Table
D'H6te", or "A Musical Family". In "Our Servants' Ball" he sang his
own song, "The Ole Black 'Oss", which reveals his knack of happy nonsense:"

2)  There is also "Apple 'Davey' Malus x domestica", e.g. at

3)  Another Internet Archive scanning, of (perhaps) "Counting-Out
Rhymes", by Henry Williams Sage (1924) -- which is unknown to
WorldCat, claimed to be from the Cornell Univ. Library, but seemingly
not known by their catalog today -- contains:

Apple Davie, currant Tarn,
Sugar rollie, black nmri.


[I warned you the scanning was poor!  And I don't know what "XairTi"
might be or mean; this its only appearance in the scan.]

4)  But better from Google Books, although only snippets available:

Counting-out rhymes: a dictionary,  By Roger D. Abrahams, (1980), p. 14; and
Transactions of the Buchan Field Club, Volumes 1-2 (1887), p. 198; and
Counting-out rhymes of children,  By Walter Gregor (1973), p. 30:

Apple Davie, currant Tam, Sugar rollie, black man.

Clearly a sweet, and perhaps dating from the 19th century, but what's
the recipe?


At 1/20/2010 07:38 AM, Michael Sheehan wrote:
>  Someone asked me about the term apple davy. His mother used the
> term years ago. He didn't give me clear context, so I have to
> assume that it was a dessert. I don't even know the correct
> spelling (davy/davey/davie). Any help?
>Michael J. Sheehan
>The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

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