Walter Lesly [Child 296]
DESCRIPTION: Walter Lesly invites the girl to drink. He then makes off with her; he intends to marry her (for her money). But he falls asleep before she does, and she escapes. She outruns his men and makes her way home.
EARLIEST DATE: 1828 (Buchan)
KEYWORDS: courting abduction escape money
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Child 296, "Walter Lesly" (1 text)
Leach, pp. 680-682, "Walter Lesly" (1 text)
cf. "Eppie Morrie" [Child 223] (plot)
NOTES: There was a Walter Leslie who married the heiress of the Earldom of Ross in the reign of David II of Scotland; he was involved in many political quarrels in the reign of the next king, Robert II, and died in 1382. Another Walter Lesley was a crusader in this period. There is no reason to connect either with the villain of this piece except similarity of names (and, of course, the fact that there was a lot of this sort of thing in the anarchic Scotland of Robert II)
For a song with similar plot, and notes on actual historical instances of this sort of abduction-for-money, see the notes to "Eppie Morrie" [Child 223].
R. M. Wilson: The Lost Literature of Medieval England, Philosophical Library, 1952, p. 131, notes that the Complaynt of Scotlande mentions what sounds like a ballad or romance, "the tail of Syr valtir, the bald Leslye," but we know nothing of this except the name. - RBW
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