Knight in Green, The
DESCRIPTION: A knight pledges a fortune to win a beautiful girl. To raise this money he must borrow from a Jew, offering his own flesh as collateral. When the bill comes, he cannot pay, and flees. And on it goes, till they all live happily ever after
EARLIEST DATE: before 1820 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 4(17)) [but see Collier, below, which purports to be a collection of "Broadside Black-Letter Ballads Printed in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries"]
KEYWORDS: bargaining courting exile poverty reprieve Jew
FOUND IN: US(MA,NE)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Flanders/Olney, pp. 184-191, "Night in Green" (sic) (1 text)
Thompson-Pioneer 5, "The Night in Green" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Peter Buchan, Gleanings of Scarce Old Ballads (London, 1825 ("Digitized by Google")), pp. 105-112, 197-198, "The Northern Lord and Cruel Jew" (1 text)
J. Payne Collier, Broadside Black-Letter Ballads Printed in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (London,1868 ("Digitized by Microsoft"), pp. 48-56,"The Northern Lord" (1 text)
ST FO184 (Partial)
Bodleian, Harding B 4(17), "The Northern Lord"("A noble lord of high renown"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819; also Harding B 4(16) [missing penultimate 4 lines], Vet. A3 b.43(14), "The Northern Lord"
NOTES: The theme here was, of course, used in Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice." The text here shows no direct knowledge of that play, but the two probably derive from a common ancestor.
The notes in Flanders/Olney state that there is a broadside version in the Folger Shakespeate Library. Unfortunately, they give no other details.
It's worth noting that this very long item comes from manuscript, not singing. And, yes, the title listed by Flanders is "Night," not "Knight." So too Thompson. I find myself suspecting that both versions take their title from a broadside with that error. - RBW
This is a tale type ATU 890, "a pound of flesh" [see Hans-Jorg Uther, The Types of International Folktales, Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 2004, Vol. I, pp. 514-515]. - BS
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