Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter [Child 102]

DESCRIPTION: Willie serves Earl Richard, loves and impregnates his daughter. Fearing Richard's wrath, they escape to the woods where the babe is born. Richard seeks his vanished daughter, finds her (alive/dead), accepts the child, and names him Robin Hood.
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1806 (Jameson, Riewerts-BalladRepertoireOfAnnaGordon-MrsBrownOfFalkland)
KEYWORDS: love pregnancy nobility escape reunion childbirth Robinhood
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber)) US(AP)
REFERENCES (5 citations):
Child 102, "Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter" (2 texts)
Bronson 102, "The Birth of Robin Hood (Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter)" (2 versions+1 in addenda)
Riewerts-BalladRepertoireOfAnnaGordon-MrsBrownOfFalkland, pp. 259-260, "The Birth of Robin Hood" (1 text)
Quiller-Couch-OxfordBookOfBallads 113, "The Birth of Robin Hood" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: R. B. Dobson and J. Taylor, _Rymes of Robyn Hood: An Introduction to the English Outlaw_, University of Pittsburg Press, 1976, pp. 196-197, "The Birth of Robin Hood (Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter)" (1 text)

Roud #3910
cf. "Willie o Douglas Dale [Child 101]" (plot)
NOTES [266 words]: For background on the Robin Hood legend, see the notes on "A Gest of Robyn Hode" [Child 117].
Bronson is of the opionion that this is "a mere rifacimento of [Child] No. 101," "Willie o Douglas Dale," and it is difficult to argue the point -- although the link to Robin Hood is a rather startling twist. But this idea can hardly be traditional; it is probably the result of one of those attempts to make Robin a nobleman. This would seem to imply that the Richard involved is Earl of Huntington. Of course, during the period when Robin Hood might have been born, the Earls of Huntington were Scots (eventually the Bruce family held the earldom -- and it's thought that one reason they were slow to defend Scottish independence was that they didn't want to risk the Huntington earldom), and none of them were named Richard.
Bronson also notes that Aunt Molly Jackson, responsible for the American version {Bronson's #2}, had seen Buchan's text.
Dobson/Taylor make the interesting observation on p. 195 that "it remains suspicious that for the missing story of [Robin Hood's] birth we have to wait until the recitation of a remarkable Scottish woman delivered five years after the first (1795) edition" of Ritson's Robin Hood collections. They point out in addition that this piece has no connection to the standard Robin Hood traditions of England.
David C. Fowler, A Literary History of the Popular Ballad, Duke University Press, 1968, pp. 303-304, also suggests that this is the composition of Anna Gordon Brown, but still thinks Child should have filed it among the Robin Hood ballads. - RBW
Last updated in version 5.2
File: C102

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