Fause Foodrage [Child 89]

DESCRIPTION: A lady courted by three kings weds one who is then slain (by one of the rivals/a rebel). Her not-yet-born child will be spared if female. She bears a boy, switches him with a baby girl. When grown the boy is told his heritage and avenges his father.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1802 (Scott)
KEYWORDS: royalty death homicide children trick revenge
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Child 89, "Fause Foodrage" (3 texts, 1 tune)
Bronson 89, "Fause Foodrage" (3 versions)
Lyle/McAlpine/McLucas-SongRepertoireOfAmeliaAndJaneHarris, pp. 132-133, "East Muir King" (2 fragments, 1 tune) {Bronson's #1}
Riewerts-BalladRepertoireOfAnnaGordon-MrsBrownOfFalkland, pp. 220-223, "Fa'se Footrage" (1 text)
Greig/Duncan8 1930, "Tak Ye My Lad" (1 fragment)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 70, "Fause Foodrage" (1 text)
Buchan-ABookOfScottishBallads 14, "Fause Foodrage" (1 text)
Whitelaw-BookOfScottishBallads, pp. 46-49, "Fause Foodrage" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: W. Christie, editor, Traditional Ballad Airs (Edinburgh, 1876 (downloadable pdf by University of Edinburgh, 2007)), Vol I, pp. 172-173, "Fause Foodrage" (1 tune)

Roud #57
cf. "Jellon Grame" [Child 90] (theme)
NOTES [315 words]: Some texts of this ballad share a verse with Elizabeth Halket Wardlaw's "Hardeknute" (for which see Volume II of Percy's Reliques; at that time, the authorship of Wardlaw (1677-1727) had not been established). This caused Scott to wonder about the authenticity of the piece, but Child thought the informant might have taken the verse from the "tiresome and affected Hardyknute, so much esteemed in her day." David C. Fowler, A Literary History of the Popular Ballad, Duke University Press, 1968, pp. 322-323, thought this ballad was made up by Anna Gordon Brown under the influence of "Hardeknute."
I personally doubt it; I doubt someone as skilled as Anna Brown could have roped in so many traditional motifs and made such a hash of the result. The son who avenges his father goes back at least to the story of Agamemnon, Clytaemnestra, and Orestes; the hidden king living as a commoner is found in Herodotus's folktale of Cyrus the Great's overthrow of his grandfather Astyges; slaying the boy-children but leaving the girls goes to the story of the Exodus and the Birth of Moses; the queen courted by many has parallels in both history and folklore; the list could easily be extended- RBW
Greig/Duncan8 quotes a Greig letter to the effect that his informant, Bell Robertson, did not know "False Foodrage" but told her mother's story "which Bell thinks must have been the same. She gives an outline of it bringing in a couple of ballad lines when the lady says to the gardener's wife 'Tak ye my lad, gie me your lass, Or else they'll gar 'im dee.'" Only Child 89A, and others that follow Scott's text (for example, Christie), have corresponding lines, 'To change your lass for this lad-bairn King Honor left me wi." Both Greig/Duncan8 and Roud consider the fragment at least "closely associated" with Child 89 and I cannot justify making a separate entry of this two-line fragment. - BS
Last updated in version 6.0
File: C089

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