Mudcat Café message #3959289 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #165063   Message #3959289
Posted By: Richard Mellish
30-Oct-18 - 06:12 PM
Thread Name: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5
Subject: RE: Origins: James Madison Carpenter- Child Ballads 5
GUEST 29 Oct 18 - 04:17 PM was me: didn't notice "From:" had gone blank. Cookie now reset.

> It's safe to assume this c. 1640 Swedish version is a "poetic" recreation of the standard ballad which dates the original ballad in Scandinavia back to the early 1600s.

I don't think I'd call any theory about the history of this ballad several hundred years ago "safe", but I'll give you plausible. It's very close to the later versions in some respects and a wild outlier in others.

The blood, the initially evasive answers and the explicit admission of fratricide are central elements of the plot in most versions from both Britain and Scandinavia. It does seem more likely that they were present in the earliest (no longer extant) version and got expunged in the odd "poetic recreation", rather than that they were originally absent and got added in at some later time.

If Taylor was wrong, and the ballad came from Scandinavia to Britain, it's plausible that the first evasion, the blood being Sven's own from his being injured by a horse, got changed to the blood being that of the horse; and then duplication added the hawk and the hound. Then at some point someone was dissatisfied by the absence of a clear motive and so put one in, though it remains a pretty obscure one.