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The Oxford Student

from Popular Rhymes And Nursery Tales - NURSEY STORIES





[Obtained in Oxfordshire from tradition.]

Many years ago there lived at the University of Oxford a young student,
who, having seduced the daughter of a tradesman, sought to conceal his
crime by committing the more heinous one of murder. With this view, he
made an appointment to meet her one evening in a secluded field. She was
at the rendezvous considerably before the time agreed upon for their
meeting, and hid herself in a tree. The student arrived on the spot
shortly afterwards, but what was the astonishment of the girl to observe
that he commenced digging a grave. Her fears and suspicions were
aroused, and she did not leave her place of concealment till the
student, despairing of her arrival, returned to his college. The next
day, when she was at the door of her father's house, he passed and
saluted her as usual. She returned his greeting by repeating the
following lines:

One moonshiny night, as I sat high,
Waiting for one to come by,
The boughs did bend; my heart did ache
To see what hole the fox did make.

Astounded by her unexpected knowledge of his base design, in a moment of
fury he stabbed her to the heart. This murder occasioned a violent
conflict between the tradespeople and the students, the latter taking
part with the murderer, and so fierce was the skirmish, that Brewer's
Lane, it is said, ran down with blood. The place of appointment was
adjoining the Divinity Walk, which was in time past far more secluded
than at the present day, and she is said to have been buried in the
grave made for her by her paramour.

According to another version of the tale, the name of the student was
Fox, and a fellow-student went with him to assist in digging the grave.
The verses in this account differ somewhat from the above.

As I went out in a moonlight night,
I set my back against the moon,
I looked for one, and saw two come:
The boughs did bend, the leaves did shake,
I saw the hole the Fox did make.





Next: Jack Hornby

Previous: The Story Of Mr Fox



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