Mudcat Café message #3107921 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #136158   Message #3107921
Posted By: Jim Carroll
06-Mar-11 - 02:44 AM
Thread Name: Ballad about a baby tossed into a well?
Subject: RE: Ballad about a baby tossed into a well?
Sir Hugh (The Jew's Daughter) (Child 155)
Often linked to the supposed ritual murder of (St) Hugh of Lincoln
Information from British Traditional Ballads in North America, Tristam Potter Coffin.
Jim Carroll

Local Titles: Ballad, The Blue Drum Boy, Fair Scotland, Hugh of Lincoln, It Rained a Mist, The Jeweler's Daughter, The Jew's Daughter, The Jew's Garden, The Jew's Lady, Little Boy and the Ball, A Little Boy Lost His Ball, A Little Boy Threw His Ball (Boss) So High, Little Harry Hughes (Huston), Little Saloo (Sir Hugh), The Queen's Garden, Once in the Month of May, Sir Hugh (of Lincoln), The Two Playmates, Water Birch.

Story Types:
A: Some little boys are playing ball, usually in the rain. One tosses the ball into the Jew's garden where no one dares go. However, the Jew's daughter invites the scared boy in. After enticing him to accept her invitation with a red apple, cherry, etc., she takes him to a remote part of the house. There she sticks him with pins, stabs him like a sheep, etc.
Sometimes, he sees his nurse inside the house picking a chicken, but she pays no attention to his plight. In some endings the "the Bible-at-the-head and prayer book-at-the-feet" motif appears, and the boy requests that his mother be told he is asleep and his playmates be told that he is dead. In certain texts, the body is thrown in a well.
Belden (A); Cox (A); Davis, Trad Ballads Va (A).
B: The story is similar to that of Type A. However, the mother sets out to find her missing boy in the end of these ballads. She locates his body in the well, talks to him miraculously, and sometimes has his body even more miraculously returned to her.
Examples: Child (G, N); JAF, 1939, 43; SharpK (B,F).
C: The story is similar to that of Type A. However, the dialogue between the Jew's daughter and the boy is left out, and the youth volunteers to climb the wall. There is no woman, only "they".
Examples: Belden (B).
D: A little boy is called away from playing ball by his mother with whom he evidently does not live. Knowing her evil intentions, he goes reluctantly. She kills her son and disposes of the body in a well in an attempt to proČtect herself and save her family's reputation. Scheming further to protect herself, she pretends to search for her overdue son and is confounded when the corpse miraculously speaks and predicts her damnation. Examples: JAF, 1958, 16.
E: The murderess is a spiteful aunt, who simply slays her nephew and throws his body in a well. There is no religious prejudice at all. Examples: JAF, 1951, 47.