Lady of Dun, The

DESCRIPTION: A harper comes to a castle. His playing wakes the lady. She orders him thrown into the sea. Afterwards, she can no longer sleep, and dies in terror, seeing always his eyes and foam-flecked beard.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1914 (GreigDuncan2)
KEYWORDS: homicide death drowning dream harp
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
GreigDuncan2 188, "The Lady of Dun" (1 text)
Roud #5840
NOTES: The GreigDuncan2 text is fragmentary but Greig reconstructed the plot as follows [the square brackets] bracket what we know from the actual text:
before st. 1, 'A harper came to the castle and his playing awoke the lady.'
[st. 1: "The owner's heart was as hard as stane, And the lady's heart was harder I ween."]
before st. 2, 'She orders him to be thrown into the den.'
[st. 2: "Harping at this time in the morn, Is sure a thing that cannot be borne."]
'A girl pleads for him' before st.3,
[st. 3: the girl is described]
[st. 4: The lady calls the girl senseless and has the harper thrown into the sea for waking her.]
and at the end, 'They obeyed her behests. He sunk in the deep, but the lady could never mair sleep, and died in terror, seeing always his eyes and foam-flecked beard.'"
Robertson, quoted by GreigDuncan2, tells that Greig at first "thought it was an attempt to make an imitation of an old ballad but after studying it thought it had been from an older ballad but we never got any light on it." How did Greig come up with his patches?
In any case, this augmented text is the basis for the description. - BS
Last updated in version 2.4
File: GrD2188

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