Hog's Heart, The
DESCRIPTION: A man is deceived that his wife is unfaithful. He sends a servant to kill her and bring back her heart but he brings a hog's heart instead. When the original deception is proven man and lady are reunited
EARLIEST DATE: 1856 (Thompson-Pioneer)
LONG DESCRIPTION: A merchant bets a shopkeeper that the merchant's wife is faithful. The shopkeeper tricks the merchant into believing his wife is not faithful. The merchant sends his servant to kill his wife and bring back her heart. The wife convinces the servant to bring back a hog's heart instead. To escape, wife dresses as a man and becomes a commander in the army. Returning, she has the merchant, servant, and deceiver arraigned before a magistrate where she reveals herself, the original deception is admitted, the deceiver commits suicide, merchant and lady are reunited, and faithful servant
KEYWORDS: accusation lie wager return reunion separation travel crime prison punishment cross-dressing suicide commerce England Russia husband wife servant
FOUND IN: US(MA)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Thompson-Pioneer 4, "The Hog's Heart" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Halliwell 1850, "Palatine Garland Supplementary to the Palatine Anthology," pp. 1-11, "The Chester Garland" ("A merchant in London as many report") (1 text)
Bodleian, Harding B 3(109), "The Chcster[sic] Garland" ("A merchant of London as many report"), J. Pitts (London), 1802-1819; also Douce Ballads 4(2), Vet. A3 b.43(4)[missing verse 43 "Summ," 51 "Dress'd in men's apparel she said to him John"]
NOTES: Thompson-Pioneer and Roud make this Child 268 ["The Twa Knights"] on the basis of motif agreement rather than any textual agreement. Of the TMI motifs Thompson-Pioneer cites for this ballad only N15 ("chastity wager") applies to Child 268 [see the note below on motifs].
Halliwell says of this ballad that "it is of great curiosity, being founded on the same tale as Cymbeline, and from the close similarity of its story to the tale as related in 'Westward for Smelts,' 1620, it would appear that it was formed from the popular traditional version of the romance, not on the play (Halliwell 1850, p. 1). In his preface to Westward for Smelts Halliwell mentions a controversy about the 1620 edition and whether there might have been a now lost 1603 edition (Halliwell 1848, p. vi). The point is that if there were a 1603 edition Shakespeare might have read it before writing Cymbeline. The tale related in Westward for Smelts is "The Fish Wife's Tale of Stand on the Green" (Halliwell 1848, pp. 19-36). There are differences in plot between the ballad and story. In the tale no evidence of the murder is required or offered but, to keep the secret, the wife does have to dress as a man. This is a tale type ATU 880, "a man boasts of his wife" [see Hans-Jorg Uther, The Types of International Folktales, Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 2004, Vol. I, pp. 502-503]. Also, in the ballad, the deceiver is smuggled into the wife's room in a chest; in the story he simply hides under the bed.
Munro (Vol 2, p.1172) reviews arguments that the wager-theme [in Cymbelline] might have come directly from Decameron or Westward for Smelts, or that the source for Cymbelline and Westward for Smelts may have been "independent versions, each related to Boccaccio."
The proof of the killing in the ballad is close to the scheme in Grimm #53, "Little Snow White": there the huntsman, required to return with Snow White's lung and liver, spares Snow White and returns a boar's lung and liver instead.
Thompson-Pioneer sees the following TMI motifs in the ballad: K512.2 "compassionate executioner: substituted heart," K5188.8.131.52 "girl escapes in male disguise," K1342 "entrance into a woman's room by hiding in a chest," K2112.1 "false tokens of wife's unfaithfulness" and N15 "chastity wager." - BS
Last updated in version 2.8
- (The) ATU: Hans-Jorg Uther, The Types of International Folktales, Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 2004
- Grimm: (Jacob Grimm, James Stern, editor,) The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales, Pantheon Books, 1972
- Halliwell 1848: James Orchard Halliwell, editor, Westward for Smelts The Percy Society, 1848 ("Digitized by Google"))
- Halliwell 1850: James Orchard Halliwell, editor, Pallatine Anthology: a Collection of Ancient Poems and Ballads Relating to Lancashire and Cheshire private circulation, 1850 ("Digitized by Microsoft")
- Munro: John Munro, The London Shakespeare, Simon and Schuster, 1957
- Payne 1903: John Payne, Stories of Boccaccio (The Decameron) The Bibliophilist Library, 1903 ("Digitized by Google")
- (The) TMI: Stith Thompson, Motif-Index of Folk-Literature revised and enlarged by Stith Thompson, Indiana University Press, 1955 (Motif-Index of Folk-Literature on CDROM, Intelex Corporation, 1992)
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.