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GUEST,Hilary Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula (5) Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula 03 Aug 13


It has occurred to me that Child 89, False Foodrage, fits Lord Raglan's hero formula. For those who don't know, Raglan came up with 22 characteristics of the hero story, building on earlier work by Johann Georg von Hahn. In the version I know, King Honor's son, the one whose father False Foodrage kills, has 10 of the 22 characteristics, although some may be stretching it a bit. Also, it seems remarkable to me that it has ten even though it's a shorter ballad, not a longer epic narrative.

1) his mother is a royal virgin: She's not necessarily royal, but she's a "fair young maid" who has "gold" and "fee," a wealthy virgin.
2) his father is a king: "king of Honoree"
6) at birth an attempt is made, often by his father, to kill him: False Foodrage tells his mother that if her child is a boy he will "mount the gallows pin."
7) but, he is spirited away: His mother escapes her prison before she gives birth.
8) and reared by foster parents: He is traded with Wise William's daughter at birth.
9) we are told nothing of his childhood: The story skips from the trading of children to "when days had gone and years had passed" and the boy is a young man.
10) on reaching manhood he returns or goes to his future kingdom: Wise William brings him hunting in the forest near his father's castle.
11) after a victory over the king: He kills False Foodrage.
12) He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor: He marries Wise William's daughter, not a princess, but, as his mother's surrogate daughter, could be considered one. She's not the daughter of his predecessor, but is his foster sister essentially, so is raised as the daughter of a previous ruler.
13) and becomes king: We can infer that he takes over the kingdom after killing False Foodrage.

Thoughts on this? Does anybody know if there has been any scholarship done on this that I could read? It's interesting that False Foodrage seems to play the role of the hero's father or, rather, could be swapped out for him to make the story fit the hero formula more.


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