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Kent Davis Child Ballads survived in oral trad. (101* d) RE: Child Ballads survived in oral trad. 02 Sep 10


The late Patrick Gainer collected about 50 Child ballads from oral tradition in West Virginia. These ballads were published in FOLK SONGS FROM THE WEST VIRGINIA HILLS ( 1975). I say "about 50 Child ballads" because Dr. Gainer considered it questionable whether or not "The Riddle Song" (I Gave my Love a Cherry") was a version of Child #46, "Captain Wedderburn's Courtship", and also considered questionable his identification of a song called "Pretty Sarah" with Child # 295, "The Brown Girl". Another ballad, "The Braes o Yarrow", #214, was only found in fragmentary form.

Of the remaining 47 ballads, some had never previously been collected in West Virginia. These include:
1 ("The Devil's Questions"/"Riddles Wisely Expounded"),
17 ("In Scotland Town Where I Was Born"/"Hind Horn"), and
87 ("Harry Saunders"/"Prince Robert").

Dr. Gainer collected some of the ballads from members of his own family. These include:
4 ("The Six Kings' Daughters"/"Lady Isabel and the Elf-Knight"),
7 ("The Seven Sons"/"Earl Brand"),
14 ("Fair Flowers in the Valley"/"Babylon"),
26 ("The Two Crows"/"The Three Ravens"),
54 ("The Cherry Tree"/"The Cherry Tree Carol"),
56 ("Diverus and Lazarus"/"Dives and Lazarus"),
73 ("Lord Thomas and Fair Ellender"/"Lord Thomas and Fair Annet"),
84 ("Barbara Allen"/"Bonny Barbara Allen"),
93 ("Bolakin"/"Lamkin"),
243 ("The House Carpenter's Wife"/ "The Demon Lover", but the lover, in the West
          Virginia version, is only an adulterer, not a demon)),
278 ("The Farmer's Wife and the Devil"/"The Farmer's Curst Wife", which he learned
          from his grandmother. This past June I heard his granddaughter and great-
          granddaughter sing it at the West Virginia Folk Festival), and
283 ("The Wise Farmer"/"The Crafty Farmer")

The other ballads he collected were numbers 2 ("The Elfin Knight" but, in the West Virginia tradition, the Elvish nature has been lost, as also happened with numbers 1 and 4), 10, 11, 12, 13, 18, 20, 49, 53, 68, 74, 75, 76, 79, 81, 85, 95, 105, 155 ("The Duke's Daughter", rather than the "The Jew's Daughter" in WV, the anti-Semitism having been lost), 173, 200, 201, 209, 240, 250, 272, 274, 275, 277, 286, 289, and 299.

Kent


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