Wee Wee Man, The [Child 38]

DESCRIPTION: The singer meets a "wee wee man," who, despite his size, proves amazingly strong. He takes the singer on a tour to his home, and shows him the finest ladies he has ever seen -- but then disappears.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1776 (Herd)
KEYWORDS: magic home
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland) US(SE,So)
REFERENCES (18 citations):
Child 38, "The Wee Wee Man" (7 texts)
Bronson 38, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 version)
ChambersBallads, pp. 260-261, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
Lyle-Crawfurd1 72, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
Lyle-Crawfurd2 101, "A Fairie Sang" (1 text)
Bell-Combined, pp. 188-189, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
BrownII 11, "The Wee, Wee Man" (1 text)
Randolph-Legman II, pp. 587-588, "The Wee Wee Man" (2 texts, one of them the Brown version)
Leach, pp. 135-136, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
OBB 11, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
PBB 11, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
Gummere, pp. 293-294+362, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
Montgomerie-ScottishNR 198, "(The Wee, Wee Man)" (1 text)
Whitelaw-Ballads, p. 462, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Emily Lyle, _Fairies and Folk: Approaches to the Scottish Ballad Tradition_, Wissenschaflicher Verlag Trier, 2007, pp. 40-41, "A New Scotch Song" (1 text plus a print of part of the broadside containing it; also assorted excerpts)
Karin Boklund-Lagopolou, _I have a yong suster: Popular song and Middle English lyric_, Four Courts Press, 2002, pp. 150-151, "(The Wee Wee Man)" (1 text)
Walter de la Mare, _Come Hither_, revised edition, 1928; #315, "The Wee Wee Man" (1 text)

Roud #2865
NOTES [242 words]: Carterhaugh, also mentioned as the site of magic in "Tam Lin," "is a plain at the confluence of the Ettrick and Yarrow in Selkirkshire" (Scott).
Child prints as an appendix to this ballad the poem "Als Y Yod on ay Mounday," found in a single copy in British Museum MS. Cotton Julius A5, dated firmly to the fourteenth century (another part of the document has a reference to the year 1307). The same text is found in Karin Boklund-Lagopolou, I have a yong suster: Popular song and Middle English lyric, Four Courts Press, 2002, pp. 148-150. This is curious in a number of ways. There is no doubt that the two items go back to the same folkloric roots -- but "Wee Wee Man" seems to be purely Scottish, and "Als Y Yod" is in a very difficult Northumbrian dialect.
E. B. Lyle, in "The Wee Wee Man and Als Y Yod on y Mounday" (reprinted in Lyle, Ballad Studies, 1976), examines the nature of the parallels between the two, but does not reach any clear conclusions. Her suggestion is that both derive from some lost proto-romance does not strike me as compelling, though it is certainly possible.
Lyle revisited the topic in a section in Emily Lyle, Fairies and Folk: Approaches to the Scottish Ballad Tradition, Wissenschaflicher Verlag Trier, 2007, pp. 36-43. This attempts to classify the known versions of "The Wee Wee Man" and group them in families. It also includes, on p. 38, a useful table of parallels between the ballad and "Als Y Yod." - RBW
Last updated in version 4.4
File: C038

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