The King's Daughter (Kenneth Peacock)

See also: Lady Isabel And The Elf-Knight
(Steeleye Span)

Go steal some of your dadda's gold,
Some more of your mama's fees,
And the best pair of horses
in your father's barn,
Go bring them unto me.

She stole some of her dadda's gold,
Some more of her mama's fees,
And the best pair of horses
in her father's barn,
And brought them unto me.

Then she mounted a-Nellie Bride,
And me on the dapple gray;
We rode all along, all along, all along,
This live-long summer's day.

We rode till we came to the river's side,
"Alight, alight," said he,
Saying, "Six king's daughters
I have a-drowned here,
And the seventh you're surely to be."

"Now six king's daughters
you have drowned here
Why do you so by me?
You told me you'd take me
all to the greenwood
And married we both would be.

"Oh turn away, false Willie," said she,
"Oh turn your back on me."
Pretty Molly she caught him
all into her arms,
As threw him into the deep sea.

"Lie there, lie there,
false Willie," said she,
Lie there instead of me;
You told me you'd take me
all to the greenwood,
And married we both would be."

She rode till she came
to her own father's door,
Three long hours before day;
The parrot was in the next room nigh,
And to lovely Molly did say:

"Where have you been,
lovely Molly," said she,
"This love-long summer's day?"
Oh hush, oh hush, pretty Polly," said she,
Don't tell no tales on me.

"Though your cage be made
of the glittering gold,
And your doors of the ivory,
I'll wring your neck like a common crow,
If you tell any tales on me."

Her father was in the next room nigh,
To hear what the parrot did say.
"What is the matter with you pretty parrot,
You're chattering long before day?"

"The cats they are at my cage's door,
They're trying to make war against me;
I have been calling to lovely Molly
To drive these beasts away."

####.... Author unknown. Variant of an 18th-century Scottish traditional, Lady Isabel And The Elf Knight [Child ballad #4] The English And Scottish Popular Ballads (1882-1898), edited by Francis James Child (Dover, 1965). Also a variant of a British broadside ballad, The Outlandish Knight , published by J Catnach (London) and sold by W Marshall (Bristol) sometime between 1813 and 1838, and archived at the Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads, shelfmark: Johnson Ballads 244 .... ####
This variant was collected in 1951 from James Heaney [1886-1962] of Stock Cove, NL, and published in Songs Of The Newfoundland Outports, Vol 1, p.206, by the National Museum of Canada (1965) Crown Copyrights Reserved.

A variant was recorded as The Elf-Knight by Steeleye Span on their album Time, 1996.

Kenneth Peacock noted that this widespread ballad is known in numerous variants on both sides of the Atlantic. For some reason it is never known by the title given by Child, though that is the one of the few titles which give an insight into the ballad's origin. Like the vengeful water-nymph in Young Collins Green, the 'elf' knight is actually a malevolent water-spirit in disguise who wants to marry the beautiful maiden and take her to his underwater kingdom. Unlike poor Collins Green who dies from a poisoned kiss, the clever maid manages to outwit her would-be submarine lover . Peacock also noted that the last verses with the parrot seem to suggest that this is not the first time the maid has been dallying with her water-spirit. The parrot, he added, is probably borrowed from Oriental tradition.

See more Child Ballad variants from NL.


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