The room was still and warm and full of fire-light… and Pa’s fiddle sang merrily to itself… — Little House in the Big Woods, Chapter 4, “Christmas”
You’re the fiddlin’est fool that ever I see!’ Mr. Edwards shouted admiringly to Pa. He didn’t stop dancing, Pa didn’t stop playing. He played ‘Money Musk’ and ‘Arkansas Traveler,’ ‘Irish Washerwoman’ and the ‘Devil’s Hornpipe.’ — Little House on the Prairie, Chapter 5, “The House on the Prairie”
Money Musk is a traditional American dance, always danced to the same tune. One publication gives the following instructions for performing the dance: “First couple give the right hand, and swing once and a half around; then go below one couple and forward and back six; right hand to partner, and swing three quarters round; forward and back six; swing to place, and right and left four.” However, there are as many traditional variations on the dance itself as there are on the tune!
Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote that her father played “Money Musk” both as a tune and for dancing. It appears in Wilder’s Pioneer Girl manuscript as well as in all versions edited by Rose Wilder Lane.
“Money Musk” (BW 4; LHP 5; PG)