The Queen of Elfan's Nourice

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"The Queen of Elfan's Nourice" or "The Queen of Elfland's Nourice" is Child ballad number 40,[1] although fragmentary in form.[2]

Synopsis[edit]

A mortal woman laments being taken from her four-day-old son. The Queen of Elfland promises that if she nurses the queen's child, she will be returned. The Queen then points out their path: the road to Elfland, rather than to Heaven or Hell.

Motifs[edit]

The path to Elfland appears to be taken from the ballad "Thomas the Rhymer" rather than be a part of this tale.[3]

The plot of the ballad revolves about a common piece of folklore, the taking of human woman to Elfland to nurse fairy babies;[4] women were often regarded as being in particular danger of being taken by the fairies immediately after giving birth.[5]

This ballad was one of 25 traditional works included in Ballads Weird and Wonderful (1912) and illustrated by Vernon Hill.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Francis James Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, "The Queen of Elfan's Nourice"
  2. ^ Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 1, p 358, Dover Publications, New York 1965
  3. ^ Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 1, p 358, Dover Publications, New York 1965
  4. ^ Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 1, p 358-9, Dover Publications, New York 1965
  5. ^ Carole B. Silver, Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness, p 167 ISBN 0-19-512199-6

External links[edit]