Mudcat Café message #3958507 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165063   Message #3958507
Posted By: Richie
26-Oct-18 - 12:23 PM
Thread Name: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5
Subject: RE: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5

TY for adding a link to that version. There are several recent Scottish versions (1950s) which are of questionable authenticity. I say questionable because the ballad was not found by Greig-Duncan in the early 1900s not Carpenter in the 1930s and it possibly could have been resurrected (Child A) then attributed to tradition. Jeannie Robertson's version c. 1952 was around/after Lomax/Ritchie so I would assume some of the Scottish travellers knew the Child ballads or print version. Jeannie attributed her version to her mother about 1908 and it could be ac rare authentic version that was came form earlier Scottish sources. Whether the other Scottish sources of the 1950s came solely from this version is unknown.

The plot of Percy's version with the Oedipus complex (son killing father) is likely a recreation-- but for what reason?

The standard brother kills brother murder as found in Scandinavia, Britain and later the US. The Scandinavian version which date back to c.1640 in general have no murder motive-- two of the versions give this motive- the brother kills his brother for having an affair with his wife. The motive in the British/US versions is that the murder happened in a fight over a bush the brother cut down "that would not make tree." Though hardly a motive for murder- real murders often happen over small, minor incidents.

The evidence by Barry and later Coffin the bush represents a younger sister and the ballad is about incest is speculative. Child 13's ties to Lizie Wan, a ballad of incest, and the Two Brothers alsdo need to be examined.