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Origins: The Golden Ball

Richie 16 Jul 15 - 07:05 PM
Richie 16 Jul 15 - 07:29 PM
Richie 16 Jul 15 - 07:38 PM
Richie 16 Jul 15 - 08:06 PM
Richie 16 Jul 15 - 08:54 PM
wysiwyg 16 Jul 15 - 09:50 PM
Jim Carroll 17 Jul 15 - 02:31 AM
Richie 17 Jul 15 - 09:25 PM
Richie 18 Jul 15 - 08:24 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 15 - 08:56 AM
Richie 18 Jul 15 - 09:32 AM
Richie 18 Jul 15 - 10:13 AM
Richie 18 Jul 15 - 10:30 AM
Richie 18 Jul 15 - 03:19 PM
Richie 19 Jul 15 - 08:36 AM
Steve Gardham 19 Jul 15 - 09:19 AM
Richie 19 Jul 15 - 02:04 PM
Richie 19 Jul 15 - 04:06 PM
Steve Gardham 19 Jul 15 - 04:22 PM
Richie 01 Aug 15 - 06:24 PM
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Subject: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 07:05 PM

Hi,

These "golden balls" have got me a bit befuddled. A bonny man give a lass a golden ball. If she loses it she is to be hung.

Casanova had these same golden balls and does what? Are these the same golden balls? Or maybe it's one of the golden balls the frog found before he turned into a prince... or was that the golden ball that could turn a black girl into a white girl. . . or was that the golden key? or golden comb?

Or was it Elidore who dropped the golden ball and elves got it or was that Baring-Gould who picked the ball up in Yorkshire after the Grimm brothers dropped it.

The mill lasses passed the balls to Kittregde in NYC who pulled the balls out of Gilchrist's "Prickly Bush" (or was that Casanova or maybe Coffin) and then Kittredge got the balls from Miss Anderson who heard the children sing:

"Father, father, may I have my golden ball?"
"No, you may not have your golden ball."
"But all the other girls and boys have their golden balls."
"Then you may have your golden ball; but if you lose your golden ball, you will hang on yonder rusty gallery.
"Father, father, I have lost my golden ball!"
"Well, then you will hang on yonder rusty gallery."

So is this where the "Maid Freed" came from?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 07:29 PM

Fortunately the recordings aren't so complicated. It was first recorded in 1920 by a guy name Ball (Bentley, not Golden) who was a typewriter salesmen. He learned it from a North Carolina minstrel but he sang it like "La Traviata"

And it was sung by Charlie Poole and named "The Highwayman" and Poole was a North Carolina banjo-pickin' minstrel before he drank too much moonshine:

As I went down to the old depot
To see the trains roll by,
I think I see my dear old girl
Hang her head and cry.

The night was dark and stormy,
It surely looked like rain;
Not a friend in this whole wide world,
No one knew my name.

Nobody knew my name, poor boy,
No one knew my name;
Not a friend in this whole wide world,
And no one knew my name.

"Wait, Mister Judge, oh, wait, Mister Judge,
Wait a little while;
I think I saw my dear old girl,
She's walked for miles and miles."

"Dear girl, have you brought me silver?
Dear girl, have you brought me gold?
Have you walked these long, long miles
To see me hanged upon a hangman's pole?"

"Dear boy, I've brought you silver,
Dear boy, I've brought you gold;
I have not walked these long, long miles
To see you hanged upon a hangman's pole."

She saved me from the scaffold,
She untied my hands;
Tears rolled down that poor girl's cheeks,
"I love that highwayman."

And Asa Mrtin from Kentucky somehow recorded the same song in 1931 but Melinger Henry also collected this and sent to Kittredge (see first post) at Harvard, who wrote profound notes about it but seeing as it really came from Charlie Poole whose buddy fiddle Roy Harvey teamed up from some guys from West Virginia and they sang it to John Hardy Blues:

John Hardy Blues- Roy Harvey, Jess Johnston & the West Virginia Ramblers, Champion 16281, June 3, 1931.

[Intro, fiddle]

1. I've been to the east and I've been to the west
Been all around this wide world.
Been to the river and I've been baptized
And I'm standing on the hanging ground, I do know,
standing on the hanging ground

2 Hangman, hangman, hold your rope,
Just a little while,
I thought I heard my father's voice
He has been traveled ten thousand miles, I do know,
He's traveled ten thousand miles.

[fiddle break]

3. Did you bring any silver or gold,
Or money to pay my fee?
Or did you come for to see me hung upon this hanging tree, I do know,
Upon this hanging tree.

4. No, I didn't bring no silver nor gold
Or money to pay your fee.
But I did come for to see you hung, upon this hanging tree, I do know
Upon this hanging tree.

[fiddle break]

5. Hangman, hangman hold your rope,
Just a little while.
I thought I heard my sweetheart's voice
She had traveled ten thousand long miles, I do know.
She traveled ten thousand long miles.

6. Oh yes I've brought you silver and gold
And money to pay your fee,
But I have come for to take you home, I do know,
And keep you there with me,
And keep you there with me.

But Kittredge never wrote about that!

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 07:38 PM

From Baring-Gould printed in the Appendix of "Notes on the Folk Lore of the Northern Counties of England and the Borders" by William Henderson, 1866. (The authenticity of this version has been questioned by Eleanor Long in her book, "The Maid and the Hangman"). Baring-Gould also reprinted this with his own notes in "Curiosities of Olden Times".

10. THE GOLDEN BALL. (Yorkshire.)

There were two lasses, daughters of one mother, and as they came home from t' fair, they saw a right bonny young man stand it house-door before them. They niver seed such a bonny man afore. He had gold on t' cap, gold on t' finger, gold on t' neck, a red gold watch-chain—eh! but he had brass. He had a golden ball in each hand. He gave a ball to each lass, and she was to keep it, and if she lost it, she was to be hanged. One o' the lasses, 't was t' youngest, lost her ball. [I'll tell thee how'. She was by a park-paling, and she was tossing her ball, and it went up, and up, and up, tilk it went fair over t' paling; and when she climbed up to look, t' ball ran along green grass, and it went raite forward to t' door of t' house, and t' ball went in and she saw 't no more.]

So she was taken away to be hanged by t' neck till she were dead, a cause she'd lost her ball.

[But she had a sweetheart, and he said he would get ball. So he went tu't park-gate, but't was shut; so he climbed hedge, and when he got tut top of hedge, an old woman rose up out of t' dyke afore him, and said, if he would get ball, he must sleep three nights in t' house. He said he would.

Then he went into t' house, and looked for ball, but could na find it. Night came on and he heard spirits move it courtyard; so he looked out o't' window, and t' yard was full of them, like maggots in rotten meat.

Presently he heard steps coming upstairs. He hid behind door, and was as still as a mouse. Then in came a big giant five times as tall as he were, and giant looked round but did not see t' lad, so he went tut window and bowed to look out; and as he bowed on his elbows to see spirits it yard, t' lad stepped behind him, and wi' one blow of his sword he cut him in twain, so that the top part of him fell in the yard, and t' bottom part stood looking out of t window.

There was a great cry from t' spirits when they saw half the giant come tumbling down to them, and they called out, 'There comes half our master, give us t' other half.'

So the lad said, 'It's no use of thee, thou pair of legs, standing aloan at window, as thou hast no een to see with, so go join thy brother;' and he cast the bottom part of t' giant after top part. Now when the spirrits had gotten all t' giant they were quiet.

Next night t' lad was at the house again, and now a second giant came in at door, and as he came in t' lad cut him in twain, but the legs walked on tut chimney and went up them. 'Go, get thee after thy legs,' said t' lad tut head, and he cast t' head up chimney too.

The third night t' lad got into bed, and he heard spirits striving under the bed, and they had t' ball there, and they was casting it to and fro.

Now one of them has his leg thrussen out from under bed, Bo t' lad brings his sword down and cuts it off. Then another thrusts his arm out at other side of the bed, and t' lad cuts that off. So at last he had maimed them all, and they all went crying and wailing off, and forgot t' ball, but he took it from under t' bed, and went to seek his truelove.]

Now t' lass was taken to York to be hanged; she was brought out on t' scaffold, and t' hangman said, 'Now, lass, tha' must hang by t' neck till tha be'st dead.' But she cried out:

Stop, stop, I think I see my mother coming!
Oh mother, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?

I've neither brought thy golden ball
Nor come to set thee free,
But I have come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.

Then the hangman said, 'Now, lass, say thy prayers, for tha must dee.' But she said:

Stop, stop, I think I see my father coming!
0 father, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?

I've neither brought thy golden ball
Nor come to set thee free.
But I have come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.

Then the hangman said,'Hast thee done thy prayers? Now, lass, put thy head intut noo-is.'

But she answered, 'Stop, stop, I think I see my brother coming!' &c. After which, she excused herself because she thought she saw her sister coming, then her uncle, then her aunt, then her cousin, each of which was related in full; after which the hangman said, 'I wee-nt stop no longer, tha's making gam of me. Tha must be hung at once.'

But now she saw her sweetheart coming through the crowd, and he had over head i' t' air her own golden ball; so she said:

Stop, stop, I see my sweetheart coming!
Sweetheart, hast brought my golden ball
And come to set me free?

Aye, I have brought thy golden ball
And come to set thee free;
I have not come to see thee hung
Upon this gallows-tree.

Notes: The portions of this curious tale which are enclosed within brackets were obtained from a different informant. It seems to be a Yorkshire version of Grimm's 'Fearless John' (Kinder-Mahrchen, 4). In both these is the giant cut in half, and the incident of the chimney, and also the wonderful bed.

In one of Grimm's versions of the tale, the lad is able to overcome the spirits by means of a stick which he obtained from a dead man on the gallows, the man having been hung for a theft which he had not committed. The boy brings him to Christian burial, and in reward obtains the stick. In the Yorkshire story, the lad saves a girl from the gallows by means of a golden ball he had recovered from the spirits. There is a family likeness in the tales.

The other portion of the story resembles the popular Essex game of ' Mary Brown,' which is thus played:

The children form a ring, one girl kneeling in the centre; those in the ring sing out:

Here we all stand round the ring,
And now we shut poor Mary in.
Rise up, rise up, poor Mary Brown
And see your poor mother go through the town.

To this she answers:

I will not rise upon my feet
To see my poor mother go through the street.

The children bid her rise to see her poor father, then her brother, her sister, the poor beggars go through the street, and lastly, her poor sweetheart, whereupon she rises to her feet.

The Swedish 'Fair Gundela' also resembles it.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 08:06 PM

So is this version "The Golden Key" covered by Child?

From Notes and Queries, 1882:

A Lancashire Ballad (6th vi. 269).—-I think the title of this ballad is The Golden Key. I only remember parts of it. The substance of it is that a woman has lost a gold key, and is about to be hung, when she exclaims:—

"Hangman, hangman, stop a minute;
I think I see my father coming."

Then follows: —

"Father, father, have you found the key,
And have you come to set me free,
Or have you come to see me hanged
Upon this gallows tree?"

Father, mother, brother, sister, all in turn come up and have not found the lost key. At last the "sweetheart" appears, who exclaims triumphantly:

      "I have not come to see you hanged
       Upon the gallows tree,
       For I have found the golden key."

I write this from memory, I never saw it in print.

H. Fishwick.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 08:54 PM

Hi,

The Casanova part is found in this article, "The Golden Ball and the Hangman's Tree" by Tristram P. Coffin. I don't have the article but I found this excerpt:

Fifty years ago, Broadwood and Gilchrist laid out enough evidence from Danish and Scottish song to show that maidens wore gold to symbolize their virginity.[11] The good ladies believed that as the details of the cante-fable plot vanished the story became one of a girl who has lost the symbol of her virginity. The next step, to a tale of a girl who is being hung because she actually has lost the virginity itself, is easy, especially when so many ballads offer this radical punishment for feminine indiscretion. Thus Broadwood and Gilchrist were able to explain why that old symbol for unfortunate love, the prickly bush, enters. When the girl at the gallows sighs,

"If I ever get out of the prickly bush,
I'll never get in no more"

we know what she means. However, convincing as the implications of the Broadwood-Gilchrist thesis are, there is one place the whole idea needs shoring up. The golden object in the tale or cante-fable tradition is clearly not a symbol of virginity, although it is a charm about which the adventures of the maid and her lover center. To say that it becomes a symbol of virginity simply because gold represents purity in other Northern European ballads is perhaps, though not necessarily, unconvincing. At least, the whole thing would be a lot better off if we could strengthen our evidence so that the fusing of the "golden ball" symbol with the "prickly bush" refrain would really make sense. In the winter of 1964, Robert F. Carter, a student in one of my ballad classes, read Phillips Barry's very typical analysis of a "golden ball" text of Child 95 in The Critics and the Ballad.[12] At the same time he had been devoting himself to a selection from Casanova's Memoires in a paperback book, Pornography and the Law. The passage tells how the gracious Casanova made golden balls weighing about two ounces a piece to use for the combined purpose of contraception and payment in his dealings certain courtesans.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: wysiwyg
Date: 16 Jul 15 - 09:50 PM

Outside Mr. Fox's garden....
Three maids playing with a golden ball...
Polly threw it up and Susie caught it;
Mary bounced it over the wall.
The wall is high....
Mr. Fox has a little red eye.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 02:31 AM

"Outside Mr. Fox's garden"
'Mr Fox', written by London songwriter, John Pole, circa 1970
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 17 Jul 15 - 09:25 PM

Hi,

TY Susan and Jim.

The following quote is from Phillips Barry (British Ballads from Maine, 1929) and ties into the quote by Coffin above (who mentions Barry). It also ties into the first post that mentions "the black girl turning into a white girl (Owen):

"The Golden Ball" is related most closely to Child F, G, H (II, 353-354). Of these, F was "sung in Forfarshire. . . by girls during
the progress of some game," while H, of which Child gave two forms, was part of a cante-fable. The view first put forward by Child, and lately reaffirmed by Prof. Reed Smith (South Carolina Ballads, p. 44), that the game-song and the cante-fable represent the last stages in the deterioration of this ballad, is not to be taken unqualifiedly.

A common feature of the "Golden Ball" versions, whether as ballad, game, or cante-fable, consists in the placing of the heroine in such a situation, that the failure to produce some precious article, --golden ball, golden key, golden cup, silver cup, etc.,--entrusted to her keeping, involves, either directly or indirectly, death on the gallows. Thus in Child H b, the golden ball is the property of a rich woman, who obliges her maid to clean it every day. The maid loses it in a stream, and is sentenced to be hanged. The best forms of the cante-fable, however, have been recorded from the tradition of American Negroes.

In Yoodoo Tales (pp. 185 ff.), collected by Miss Mary A. Owen from Negro tradition in Missouri, we have "De Tale ob de Gol'en Ball." The content of this tale is as follows:

An old beggar, hospitably received by a Negro family, gives the daughter a golden ball, the possession of which transforms her to a white girl, with hair "straight ez cawn-silk," and "yalleh ez de ball." An Obeah woman poisons the girl's mother, marries the father, and cuts the string on which the ball hangs from the girl's neck. With the loss of the ball, the girl becomes a Negro,
--she is charged by her stepmother with killing the white girl, and sentenced to be hanged.
"De po' brack gal, she cry an' cry.
Huh daddy come.
She call at 'im--
'O daddy, fine dat gol'en ball, ur yo' see me hang 'pun de gallus-tree!'

Father, stepmother, beau, however, all pass by unheeding.

"Ole beggeh-man, he bline, he lame. He stop. He say, 'I save dat gal. I save huh fum de gallus-tree.'
Beggeh-man hole out de gol'en ball.
She won't die on de gallus-tree."

The beggar-man denounces the stepmother, who is hanged. The girl, white once more, repulses the advances of her lover, and refuses to go home with her father.

"Beggeh-man change, he putty, now (he had become beautiful), an' oh! he save huh fum de gallus tree."

The girl goes away with the transformed beggar-man.

"De hill, hit open good an' rvide. Dev bofe go thu dat big wide crack.
Dey done fegit de gallus-tree.
De hill, hit shet closte up ergin."

Richie--


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 08:24 AM

Hi,

So I'm asking for your comments. Is the reason the Maid is on the gallows because she is either 1) pregnant or 2) lost her virginity?

Do you follow Coffin's argument that a golden ball (or golden balls) represents a form of contraceptive?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 08:56 AM

Sorry Richie - wasn't attempting to respond to your original query - just pointing out that the verse quoted was a contemporary song based on the Reynardine genre - nothing to do with this.
As far as the 'virginity' suggestion goes, it seems incredibly far-fetched to me - I can't recall loss of virginity being punished by capital punishment - Magdalene Laundries maybe.
In folklore, gold, sometimes in the form of a golden ball, is indicative of the immature flaunting of wealth, particularly by royalty.
According to Bettelheim, the ball represents the princess' "undeveloped narcissistic psyche, it contains all potentials, none yet realized." He believe it also symbolizes perfection as a sphere and as the precious metal, gold (Bettelheim 1975).
Take your pick
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 09:32 AM

TY Jim,

This is a translation of an "Old Irish Verse" found in "Thesaurus Palaeohibernicus : a collection of Old-Irish glosses, Scholia prose and verse". Does anyone know the date? Circa 900?

It can be viewed here:
http://www.archive.org/stream/thesauruspalaeoh02stokuoft#page/345/mode/1up

Translation: The king of Leinster bestowed a silver brooch on his poet as the reward of his art. He took it home to his house with him and gave it into the hand of the bondmaid to take care of. The poet's wife took it from her (and cast it) into the sea for evil to the bondmaid. The poet asked the brooch of the bondmaid The poet came to kill the bondmaid because the brooch was not found with her. Then Brigit came to the poet's house, and she was grieved at the maltreatment of the bondmaid.

So she prayed to God that the brooch might be manifested to her. Then an angel of God came to her and told her to cast the nets into the water, that is into the sea, and a salmon would be caught in them with the brooch in its inside.

* * * *

Barry references this and calls her a handmaid, wouldn't bondsmaid be a slave or servant without pay. Are they the same?

Aren't bondsmaids also a form of currency; Bondmaids were worth at least three séuti, so a chariot worth thrice seven bondmaids would be worth 63 milk cows or between 63 and 126 oz of silver?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 10:13 AM

Hi,

She is called a "Distressed Handmaid" (after Barry) in The Gallows and the Golden Ball: An Analysis of "The Maid Freed from the Gallows" (Child 95) by Ingeborg Urcia. She says, "the 'Distressed Handmaid' tells about a bard who gives a precious silver object into the keeping of his handmaid and then throws it secretly into the sea because he is in love with her and needs a subterfuge in order to demand that she recompense him with her honor."

Do you get this from the translation?

Am I missing something?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 10:30 AM

Jim,

Here's Urcia's conclusion in her article The Gallows and the Golden Ball: An Analysis of "The Maid Freed from the Gallows":

The plight of the handmaid has its origin in the illicit love of the girl's master, which causes either him or his jealous wife to persecute her. In the cante fable and the Yorkshire ballad this element has been obscured-no particular reason is given for the stepmother's hatred or the stranger's gift. Yet originally the girl must have been involved in the violation of some sex tabu, a crime of much greater severity than the mere loss of a golden ball and, furthermore, the kind of crime which would possibly turn her family from her. This crime, incidentally, appears surprisingly often in the older versions of many traditional English ballads (see "Lizy Wan" [Child 5I] or "Edward" [Child I3]) but is usually obliterated in more modern variants (whether through failure of the singer to understand or from puritanical reasons is hard to say). As the ballad moves further away from its source the dark elements of the original crime become obscured. The golden ball, once perhaps symbolic of the girl's loss of virginity, becomes merely a prop in the narrative, until finally only the scene under the gallows and a faithful sweetheart are left-and the romantic conclusion that "love conquers all".

* * * *

She, as Coffin and Gilchrist, implies that the reason the maid is comdemned is a "violation of some sex tabu."

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 18 Jul 15 - 03:19 PM

Hi,

Does anyone have any documentation that "Maid Freed" was "Composed before Chaucer's pilgrimage," as it states in Five Hundred Years of the Maid Freed from the Gallows- Reed Smith, 1928?

Also he gives a version: Johnnie Dear - two stanzas are:


"Hold up your head, dear Johnnie!
Hold it up for a while!
I think I see your sweetheart a-coming,
Walking many a mile."

"Have you brought me gold, dear sweetheart?
Have you brought me fee?
Or have you come for to see me hung
Upon this Tyburn tree?"

Anyone have access to the complete text?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 19 Jul 15 - 08:36 AM

Hi,

My grandfather, Maurice Matteson, collected a hybrid version from Nathan Hicks circa 1933. This became known in that area as "The Highwayman" after the name Charlie Poole gave it in his 1926 Columbia recording. I published Hicks version which is different than Poole's in my "Appalachian Folk Songs for Piano and Voice" Mel Bay, 1996.

I recorded an improve of it on Hicks 1933 dulcimer with my niece singing and nephew playing fiddle, here:
http://bluegrassmessengers.com/Data/Sites/1/avatars/04%20Endurance.mp3

Endurance- Nathan Hicks

The day I left my mother's house,
Was the day I left my home;
The day I left my mother's house,
Was a cold December day.

The sky was dark and cloudy,
To me it looked like rain;
I wished fro a friend in this whole wide world,
Just one who knew my name.

I walked out to the roadside,
To see the passers by;
And there I saw the woman I love,
She rode for many a mile.

"O you have brought me silver,
Or have you brought me gold.
Have you brought me nothing,
To keep me from the gallows pole?"

["I have not brought you silver,
I have not brought yougold.
Nor have I rode for many a mile,
To see you on the the gang once more.]

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jul 15 - 09:19 AM

Richie, having already discussed Reed Smith, I think you can answer that question yourself.

He made a similar statement in The Traditional ballad and its South Carolina Survivals, 1925, but here (p63) he uses the word 'probably' so it is in fact just conjecture.
'Composed probably before Chaucer's pilgrimage, sung in England and Scotland during the specious times of Q Elizabeth, etc. He's probably picked up something he read in Child about the continental versions. As far as I know we have no evidence for its existence in the English-speaking world before the 18thc. He gives as his earliest version the one sent to Percy in 1770.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 19 Jul 15 - 02:04 PM

Steve,

I agree, he calls the article, Five Hundred Years of the Maid Freed from the Gallows, but gives no evidence that it existed in a similar form around 1528.

It does seem strange that the 1770 date is the earliest date in Britain since a US version from Yorkshire predates this.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 19 Jul 15 - 04:06 PM

Hi,

Does anyone know where I can access any of the following analogues?:

Sager, Die Losgekaufte. Modern Philology XXVII (1929)

Iivar Kemppinen, Lunastettava neito (1959)

Brewster, A Rumanian Analogue of The Maid Freed from the Gallows (1950s)

Erich Pohl, Die deutche Volksballade in FFC #105

Does anyone have a text with translation?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 19 Jul 15 - 04:22 PM

Richie,
An earlier text in the States is no surprise at all. The earliest and fullest extant texts of Bramble Briar/Bruton Town come from your side of the pond. To the extent that at one time I even had the idea it might have originated there.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 06:24 PM

Hi,

Long, in her book (p. 59), "The Maid and the Hangman" says of her version E7 (The Golden Ball- see my post above) that "the text was composed by Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould." I assume Long's implication is that the text in brackets was supplied (written) by Baring-Gould from his recollections of a chap-book (see notes from "Curiosities").

Here are Baring-Gould's notes: In this very curious story, the portion within brackets reminds one of the German story of " Fearless John," in Grimm (K. M. 4), of which I remember obtaining an English variant in a chap-book in Exeter when I was a child—alas! now lost. It is also found in Iceland, and is indeed a widely-spread tale. The verses are like others found in Essex in connection with the child's game of "Mary Brown," and those of the Swedish "Fair Gundela." But these points we must pass over. Our interest attaches specially to the golden ball. The story is almost certainly the remains of an old religious myth. The golden ball which one sister has is the sun, the silver ball of the other sister is the moon. The sun is lost; it sets, and the trolls, the spirits of darkness, play with it under the bed, that is, in the house of night, beneath the earth.

What do you think Long meant when she says: "the text was composed by Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould." ?

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 07:25 PM

Hi,

Further down on that page Long adds, "Such complexity in narrative structure has been manifested in no other cante-fable in the "Gallows Tree" tradition except the one composed by Baring-Gould in support of his solar myth hypothesis."

Notice that Baring-Gould now has a gold ball -- representing the sun and silver ball -- representing the moon. In the cante-fable (see the third post in this thread) the balls are gold.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 07:46 PM

Hi,

In fairness to Baring-Gould, the following may support authenticity:

Child Hb: from Notes and Queries- Page 354; 1884

A Lancashire Ballad (6th S. vi. 269, 418, 476; vii. 275).—Perhaps the inquirer after this ballad may be interested in hearing the Northumbrian version. As a child I was frequently told the story of the golden ball, when staying in the neighbourhood of the Cheviots, by a woman who was a native of the Borderland. Abbreviated, the tale runs as follows. There was once a poor girl who went as servant to a very rich lady. The rich lady, who was surrounded with every magnificence, possessed a golden ball which she held in very nigh esteem, and which the servant had to clean every day, being threatened with death if she was careless enough to lose it. One day whilst cleaning it beside a stream the ball slipped from her hands and disappeared. Being condemned to death, the girl mounted the scaffold and prepared to die. The story was always related so far in prose, and it was only at the scene of execution that the narrator broke into rhyme:—

"Stop the rope! Stop the rope!

For here I see my mother coming.

Oh, mother, have you brought the golden ball
And come to set me free;
Or are you only here to see me die
Upon the high, high gallows tree?"

The mother's answer was that she had only come to see her die; and all her other relations appeared, with a like result. Her lover, who was the last to come, produced the golden ball, and the execution was at once put a stop to. We have in our house two servants, both Northumbrians, who remember the story as I have related it from their childhood. I have never seen it in print.

Kate Thompson. Newcastle-upon-Tyne.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 07:48 PM

Also Child Hc also by Baring Gould:

Mrs. Bacheller, of Jacobstown, North Cornwall (sister of Mrs. Gibbons, from whom 78 H was derived, see IV, 474 b), gave Rev. S. Baring-Gould the following version of the tale, taught her by a Cornish nursery maid, probably the same mentioned at the place last cited.

"A king had three daughters. He gave each a golden ball to play with, which they were never to lose. The youngest lost hers, and was to be hung on the gallows-tree if it were not found by a day named. Gallows ready, all waiting to see the girl hung. She sees her father coming, and cries:

'Father, father, have you found my golden ball.
And will you set me free?'
'I've not found your golden ball,
And I can't set you free;
But I am come to see you hanged
Upon the gallows-tree.'

The same repeated with every relationship, brother, sister, etc.; then comes the lover:

'Lover, lover, have you found the golden ball,'
etc.
'Yes, I have found your golden ball,
And I can set you free;
I'm not come to see you hung
Upon the gallows-tree.'"

354, IV, 481 f.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 01 Aug 15 - 07:50 PM

And from Folktales; Ashey Pelt and the Three Golden Balls
by M. Damant (Folklore, Vol. 6, No. 3 (Sep., 1895), pp. 305-308)

The Three Golden Balls.
Told by a young woman, a native of Romsey, aged about 21.

There was once an old woman who lived with her husband and her three little daughters. One was named Pepper, one Salt, and one Mustard. One day their father told them he was going to the fair, and he asked them what he should bring them home, and they all said, "A golden ball each." Their father then wished them good-bye, and set off. In the evening he returned, and brought each of them a golden ball, which they got up early next morning to play with. Their mother told them that if they lost them she would hang them up on the gallows-tree. They were very happy playing, when little Pepper began to cry. Her sisters asked her what was the matter, and she told them she had lost her ball. They dared not go home because of their mother.

But, alas! it got so late that they went home. Their mother, seeing that little Pepper was crying, asked what ailed her; and she said, "I have lost my ball." And the mother, in her anger, hung her up on the gallows-tree. Next day the father went to her, and she said-

"Oh, father, have you found my ball,
Or have you paid my fee,
Or have you come to take me down
From this old gallows-tree ?"

And he replied-

"I have not found your golden ball,
Nor have I paid your fee,
Nor have I come to take you down
From this old gallows-tree."

Bye-and-bye her two sisters came to see her, and she said-

"Oh, sisters, have you found my ball,
Or have you paid my fee,
Or have you come to take me down
From this old gallows-tree?"

And they made the very same answer as the father had given. So poor little Pepper had to stop there all night. The next day brought her better luck. Her sweetheart came to see her, and she asked-

"Oh, Charlie! have you found my ball? " &c., &c.

and he replied-

"'Tis I have found your golden ball,
And I have paid your fee,
And I am come to take you down
From this old gallows-tree."

Then her sweetheart cut her down, and they were changed into two little birds. Soon after her father came and heard two little voices up in the tree asking-

"Oh, father! have you found my ball," &c., &c.

On hearing this, the father ran away very frightened; and his wicked wife and two little daughters came against the tree, and heard the little voices say the same words. All of a sudden they heard a great rustling of leaves, and looking up, they saw the forms of little Pepper and her sweetheart flying to the ground. And they all went home, and lived a great many years.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 09:59 AM

Richie,
SBG is well-known for embellishing stories and it was common at the time to put all sorts of antiquarian romantic twists on narratives. The evidence shown in all other versions are that the balls are golden and without corroborating evidence SBG's theories must be taken, like so many others of the period, with a pinch of salt.

I'm sure there must be learned studies of this in more recent years and I'll see if I can find any.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 04:19 PM

Hi Steve,

Long (1971, Maid and the Hangman) makes it clear that Baring-Gould created at least part of his prose with song version of 1866. What isn't clear is which part. I assume she meant the section in brackets (see: The Golden Ball; third post this thread) which Baring-Gould said was from a different informant.

The only other fairly recent study was by Coffin "The Golden Ball and the Hangman's Tree" which is from 1966.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 02 Aug 15 - 06:03 PM

Baring Gould's version from the 1860s at Horbury looks very plausible. It may be that he has merely collated several variants he heard.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Jim Brown
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 09:08 AM

> Does anyone know where I can access any of the following analogues?

Hi Richie,

I've just noticed your question from 19 July. I'm afraid can't help with any of these, but have found another article that draws attention to a Romanian analogy, which might be the same one mentioned in the Brewster article (M. Beza, "Percy's Reliques, Sir Walter Scott's Minstrelsy and the Roumanian Ballads." The Slavonic Review,Vol. 1, No. 1 (Jun., 1922), pp. 121-129).

In this ballad ("Milea", no. 242 in Alexandru Amzulescu's Balade Populare Romanesti, 1964), a man asks various family members one after the other to remove a snake that has slipped into his breast while he was sleeping and is tormenting him. They all refuse, saying that they can more easily do without him than without a hand. Finally he asks his sweetheart or his wife, who rushes to help, but when she pulls out the "snake" it turns out to be a string of gold coins or a bag of money, as a reward for her loyalty.

So as in "The Maid Saved from the Gallows" we have a basic narrative pattern in which someone asks their family members one by one to rescue them, but the only one who will do it is their beloved. But in "Milea", there is no death sentence, and the supposed victim is actually just pretending to be in danger in order to test his sweetheart.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 09:25 AM

Just playing devil's advocate for a moment, is it not possible, even probable, that this sequence of family members coming to someone's aid originated separately in different cultures?

It would make the link much stronger if we could identify 2 or more motifs that link the different analogues together, not necessarily just between 2 analogues from different cultures, but perhaps intermediate variants to make the links stronger.

A similar idea arose when trying to link Clerk Colvill and Lady Alice. In British versions the 2 ballads seem to have little in common, but once we add in the continental analogues the links of several motifs become much more obvious.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 10:03 AM

Jim,
I have a copy of an English translation of 'Rumanian Popular Ballads' but can't find a ballad called 'Milea'. Perhaps this translation (1980) is just a selection. I identified quite a few motifs and commonplaces which correspond with English ballads.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Jim Brown
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 01:31 PM

Hi Steve,

Is that the 1980 bilingual edition by Leon Levitchi? I've just found it listed in Google Books. It must be a selection. Amzulescu identifies 352 ballad types in his 1964 collection, so there's no way they could all be represented in a one-volume edition. Unlike Child, Amzulescu just gives one or two texts for each ballad type but he gives references to other versions that had been published up till then -- including more than 40 in the case of "Milea".


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 01:36 PM

Yes, that's the one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Jim Brown
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 01:41 PM

> is it not possible, even probable, that this sequence of family members coming to someone's aid originated separately in different cultures?

I would certainbly go along with that if we only had the English and Romanian texts to go on. The possibility of direct borrowing between these two ballad traditions would be pretty remote. But given the various analogous ballads in different languages that Child lists, to which Romanian, and also (I understand from reading notes on the Romanian ballad), Hungarian can be added, doesn't it make sense to see these as local variations on one pan-European ballad motif?


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 03 Aug 15 - 02:18 PM

Jim,

Brewster in 1940 identified two: Hungarian versions are given in Buday and Ortutay (No. 38 "Az aspis kigyo") and Bartok, Hungarian Folk Music (No. 157).

In Bartok's version, sometimes titled "Feher Anna," Anna's brother Lazlo is imprisoned for stealing horses. Anna sleeps with Judge Horvat to free him, but is unsuccessful in sparing his life. She regales the judge with 13 curses (see Bob Dylan's version, "Seven Curses" also Judy Collins adapted it in 1963 titling it "Anathea").

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 02:57 AM

I remember, I think it was Tony Arthur who used to sing this in the 60s, presumably the Judy Collins version. I don't remember there being any reiterative verses about members of the family coming to free him though.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 04 Aug 15 - 06:48 PM

Thanks for the Romanian copy, Jim. It is very close to the Hungarian version I have in 'European Folk Ballads' except the sexes are reversed and when the lover thrusts his hand in he draws out a golden apple, related to the golden ball perhaps. This is the Bartok version referred to by Richie above.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Reinhard
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 02:16 PM

Steve, the thread Lyr Req: Anathea (from Judy Collins) suggests that Dave and Toni Arthur learned Lazlo Feher from A.L. Lloyd and that the verses were his translation. They recorded it in 1970 for a Trailer single which we can listen to on Youtube.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 06:14 PM

Thanks, Reinhard, that makes sense. Twould be interesting to compare Judy Collins version with Bert's. Is the tune the same? I can still hear Toni singing it in that sexy low voice, and all that power and drama.


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Richie
Date: 05 Aug 15 - 11:41 PM

Jim,

Paul Brewster wrote "A Rumanian Analogue of 'The Maid Freed from the Gallows' " in 1941.

Erik Pohl's 1934 study of "Losgekaufte" is in German, and I've only transcribed one study on my site written in German (and it took a while). However Long says Pohl summarized ("Losgekaufte," pp. 59-61) the logical case against accepting the "golden ball" version as the original form of "The Gallows Tree":

1. There is no apparent reason for the introduction's being in prose.[59]
2. There is no reason to assume that a ballad lacking motivation in its text must originally have had an introduction.
3. Popular balladry offers analogous cases that can always be demonstrated to be secondary.
4. The lost golden ball does not satisfactorily motivate the situation.

Iilar Kempinnen's 1957 study is in Finnish but it apparently compares most of the international texts with those from Finland. I don't think it's been translated.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: The Golden Ball
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 Aug 15 - 10:38 AM

FWIW I would guess the pan-European motif has become attached to a fairly well-known British folktale.

Other than the relatives motif does the Golden Ball tale have analogues elsewhere other than English language? If not this would make my guess at least probable.


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