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GUEST,Hilary Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula (5) RE: Folklore: False Foodrage(89) and the hero formula 04 Aug 13


False Foodrage is one of the longer ballads I know too. Only Tam Lin and Binnorie are longer. However there are many ballads in Child's collection which have a verse count in the 50s and above. But I really meant that False Foodrage was shorter simply by virtue of being a ballad rather than an epic narrative, which on a whole, tend to be longer than ballads.
Also, our definition of hero is much different than the traditional definition present in oral literature, so he really isn't heroic in our modern sense. I'm guessing that the reason the hero in False Foodrage seems to do so little is that it is an incomplete version of the hero pattern as it ends with his ascendency to the kingdom and marriage and doesn't cover his death. It's only two thirds of the story. It's akin to the King Arthur story covering Arthur's conception through the sword in the stone through his coronation and up to his marriage with Guenivere. It leaves out a whole chunk of his life afterward. It would be interesting to know if this ballad ever had a second part to it.
I learned about the hero pattern in the article called The Hero of Tradition, evidently published in Dundes' book, although I received it as a separate photocopy.
Also, it may have been too controversial for Raglan to put in the article but you'll notice that Jesus also has several of these hero characteristics, more in common with Lord Raglan's study than von Hahn's. I'll put all 22 here for reference.
1) His mother is a royal virgin
2) His father is a king, and
3) Often a near relative of his mother, but
4) The circumstances of his conception are unusual, and
5)He is often reputed to be the son of a god
6)At birth, an attempt is made, often by his father, to kill him, but
7) He is spirited away, and
8) Reared by foster parents in a different country
9) We are told nothing of his childhood, but
10) On reaching manhood, he returns or goes to his future kingdom
11) After a victory over the king and/or a giant, dragon, or wild beast,
12) He marries a princess, often the daughter of his predecessor, and
13) Becomes king
14)For a time, he reigns uneventfully, and
15) Prescribes Laws, but
16) Later he loses favor with the gods and/or his subjects
17) Is driven from the throne and city
18) He meets with a mysterious death
19) Often at the top of a hill
20) His children, if any, do not succeed him
21) His body is not buried, but nevertheless,
22) He has one or more holy sepulchers.


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