Mudcat Café message #3161992 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111333   Message #3161992
Posted By: MGM·Lion
29-May-11 - 04:02 AM
Thread Name: Scarborough Fair
Subject: RE: Scarborough Fair
Would add that, tho the point has most probably been made on one or some of the several threads on this ballad, which I have not had quite the energy or dedication to read thru every one of, LoL!, it doesn't seem to be made here, & IMO should be recalled on every thread re this song:-

i.e. that it is a version of The Elfin Knight, Child#2, about a *magic* knight giving a mortal girl various tasks to do before she can join him in Faerie & become enchanted, & enchantress, herself;   & that the herbs specified in the burden are all recognised *magic* plants.

This has been somewhat misunderstood in some versions, tho the variations often have a charm of their own. I have always found "Sober and grave grow merry in time", in one of the US variants which Peggy sang on The Long Harvest, a most fertile and interesting version, making a peculiar sort of sense.