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[Roud 166; Laws O36; Henry H114; Ballad Index LO36; VWML SBG/1/3/43; Bodleian Roud 166; trad.]. Scottish traditional first published in 1765 as "Molly Bawn". Typically known as "Polly Vaughan" (or Vaughn) or "The Shooting of His Dear" or "The Fowler" (for bird hunter).
A man (often named Jimmy or Johnny Randall) goes out hunting in the evening for birds. He sees something white in the bushes. Thinking this is a swan, he shoots. To his horror he discovers he has killed his true love, Molly (or Polly Vaughan). Returning home, he reports his mistake to his uncle and is advised not to run away. He should stay and tell the court that it was an honest mistake. The night before her funeral, her ghost appears to confirm his version of the events.
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