Please, Mister Conductor!


“Please, Mister Conductor!,” Appalachian State University Libraries Digital Collections, accessed May 24, 2024,

Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>


Please, Mister Conductor!


This item is part of the I. G. Greer Folksong Collection which consists of more than 300 individual song titles and their variants as collected by Isaac Garfield Greer (1881-1967) from informants, primarily in Ashe, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The collection includes manuscripts, typescript transcriptions produced by Dr. Greer’s clerical staff, and handwritten musical notations. Songs range from traditional Child Ballads, traditional English and Scottish ballads as well as their American variants, to 19th century popular music to musical compositions of local origin.


Folk songs--United States
Mothers and sons--Songs and music
Death - Songs and music
Railroad trains--Songs and music


W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, Appalachian State University


Greer, I. G. (Isaac Garfield), 1881-1967








The Lightning Express

The lightning express, from a depot so grand,
Had started out on its way.
Most of the passengers who were on board
Seemed to be happy and gay.
Except a little boy on a seat by himself
Reading a letter he had
Was ashamed to be seen with the tears in his eyes
The knowledge of it made him sad.


Please, Mr. Conductor, don’t put me off your train,
For the very best friend I have in this world
Is waiting for me now in vain.
Expecting to die any moment, she may not last through the
I want to bid Mother goodbye, Sir,
Before God takes her away.

The stern old conductor who came through the train,
Taking tickets from everyone there,
Finally reaching the side of the little boy
Roughly demanded his fare.
I haven’t the money, the little boy said,
But I’ll pay you back someday.
I’ll have to put you off at the station, he said,
But he stopped when he heard the boy say:

Mother was sick when I left home,
And needed a doctor’s care.
I came to your city employment to find,
But I could not find any work there.
A letter from sister this morning arrived.
Mother is dying, it said.
So that is why I am boarding your train,
When I haven’t the money to pay.

A little girl in a seat close by,
Said: Don’t put him off, ‘tis a shame.
Taking his hat a collection she made
And soon paid his way on the train.
I’m obliged to you, Miss, for your kindness.
You’re welcome, I am sure, never fear.
And each time the conductor would come through the train
These words would ring in his ear.

Scholarly Classification

Randolph, 720

File name


Social Bookmarking


Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>