King William and the Keeper

DESCRIPTION: King William disguises himself as a poacher. He's caught by the keepers, who tell him no one may hunt this ground without leave of King William. He attempts to bribe the keepers, but they refuse (and beat him). He reveals himself and praises their loyalty
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1676 (broadside)
KEYWORDS: virtue crime poaching hunting royalty money disguise
HISTORICAL REFERENCES:
1688-1702 - Reign of William III
FOUND IN: Britain(England(South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
MacSeegTrav 116, "King William and the Keeper" (1 text, 1 tune)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The King's Disguise, and Friendship with Robin Hood" [Child 151] (theme)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Suit of Russet Grey
The Loyal Forester or Royal Pastime
NOTES: [MacColl and Seeger write,] "Following the return of William III from his Irish campaigns, London balladmongers would appear to have been fully employed in creating an acceptable popular image for Ebsworth's 'saturnine' monarch. Old tales and ballads were refurbished with William represented as a roistering updated Prince Hal, consorting with sailors, farmers, shepherds and foresters." One hopes he carried adequate identification. - PJS
Few such songs seem to have survived in tradition, for which we should perhaps be thankful. I wonder how many merged with the songs allegedly about James V of Scotland?
Incidentally, there is little evidence that William III had any such "popular" tastes. - RBW
File: McCST116

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