“Willie's Lady”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1783
Keywords: magic mother wife pregnancy childbirth
Found in: Britain(Scotland)

Description

Willie travels to woo and wed a wife. His mother, not approving of the bride, casts spells to ensure that she will never bear a child. Willie tricks his mother into believing the baby has been born, and the mother blurts out the way to lift the spell

Notes

At least one of the magic tricks described in this song is widespread in folklore: Pregnant women were supposed to remove all knots from their clothing to ease childbirth. - RBW

The Swedish ballad "Den Fortrollade Barnafoderskan (The Bewitched Mother-to-Be)" is essentially the same story, with variations in detail. - PJS

Cross references

References

  1. Child 6, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  2. Bronson 6, "Willie's Lady" (1 version)
  3. Flanders-Ancient1, pp. 124-127, "Willie's Lady" (1 text, from print rather than tradition)
  4. Leach, pp. 64-66, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  5. OBB 6, "Willy's Lady" (1 text)
  6. Friedman, p. 18, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  7. Gummere, pp. 252-255+356, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  8. DBuchan 2, "Willie's Lady" (1 text, 1 tune in appendix) {Bronson's [#1]}
  9. DT 6, WILILADY
  10. Roud #220
  11. BI, C006