“The Gypsy King”
But first Pa played for Laura and Mary. He played their very favorite song, and he sang it. Laura liked it best of all because Pa’s voice went down deep, deep, deeper… — Little House on the Prairie, Chapter 5, “The House on the Prairie”
Little is yet known about Laura and Mary’s favorite song from Little House on the Prairie. There are a number of undated songsheets (no music, only lyrics) for “The Gipsy King” (or “Gypsy King”). The undated music linked to below includes information that “Mr. Ransford” sang the song, and his name appears on music that is dated in the early 1850s, suggesting that “The Gipsy King” dates from this period.
1. ‘Tis I’m the Gipsy King!
And where’s the king like me?
No troubles my dignities bring,
No other is half so free!
In my kingdom there is but one table,
All my subjects partake of my cheer;
We’d all drink champagne, were we able,
As it is, we have plenty of beer.
[chorus] For, I’m the Gipsy King, ha! ha!
For, I’m the Gipsy King!
2. A king, and a true one, am I;
No courtier or minister here.
I see everything with my own eye,
And hear everything with my own ear.
No conspiracy I apprehend,
Among brothers and equals I rule;
We help both to gain and to spend,
And get drunk when the treasury’s full.
3. I confess that I am but a man,
My failings who pleases may know;
I am fond of my girl and my can,
And jolly companions a row.
My subjects are kind to me,
They don’t grudge me the largest glass,
Nor yet that I hold on my knee,
At this moment, the prettiest lass.
4. Ne’er a king do I envy nor keyser,
Who sits on a golden throne,
And I’ll tell you the reason why, sir,
Here’s a sceptre and ball of my own.
To sit all the night thro’ in a crown,
I’ve a notion mine ears ‘twould freeze,
But I pull my old night cap down,
And tipple and smoke at my ease.
(from Little House on the Prairie)
Oh I am a Gypsy King
I come and go as I please!
I pull my old nightcap down
And take the world at my ease.
Oh, I am a Gyp-sy- KING!
“The Gypsy King” (LHP 5)
“Oh, I am a gypsy king”