“The Queen of Elfan's Nourice”

Author: unknown
Keywords: separation children magic abduction
Found in: Britain(Scotland)


The Queen of Elfland awakens to hear her child's (wet)-nurse weeping. The Queen of Elfland asks the reason; the nurse says that she is crying for her own son. The Queen of Elfland sets the nurse on the right road home (and on to heaven).


Tradition has it that fairies much preferred to have human women nurse their babies; hence the legends about changelings and also odd stories such as this one about a human woman being kidnapped to Elfland - RBW


  1. Child 40, "The Queen of Elfan's Nourice" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's (#1)}
  2. Bronson 40, "The Queen of Elfan's Nourice" (1 version)
  3. OBB 7, "The Queen of Elfland's Nourice" (1 text)
  4. Montgomerie-ScottishNR 136, "(I heard a cow low, a bonnie cow low)" (1 fragment of two stanzas, with no plot; it simply mentions the lowing cow, and might be an independent item grafted into the Child ballad)
  5. DT 40, ELFANURS*
  6. Roud #3723
  7. BI, C040