The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #68318   Message #1152646
Posted By: Nigel Parsons
02-Apr-04 - 05:13 AM
Thread Name: German folk song, help with translation
Subject: RE: German folk song, help with translation

- Girl and huntsman:
The girl is of peasant stock and seems to be of a firm character, as the talk with the huntsman shows. He might be interested mainly in the pleasures of a relationship. He is frivolous, suggesting a lie to have her company. [Would like to have such a son-in-law? Not me.] The girl does not reject him as a potential partner, but the nature of the relation is made clear. Instead of telling lies she prefers the truth: matrimony.

A lot, it seems, rests on whether V2 is indeed an attempt by the huntsman to get the girl to dally, or the girl wrestling with her conscience, trying to come up with an excuse to linger.
The third verse continues this either way, with the girl explaining herself either to the huntsman, or to her conscience.

With either version we will end with an incomplete song, as either we have no reply to, or dismissal of the hunter between V1 & V2. Or we see no break for the girl to return to her mother between V3 & V4.

However, this can be reconciled if we assume that the girl and mother are working alongside each other, cutting hay.
The hunsman's greeting is heard by both.
The girl tries to think of an excuse to stop work & meet with him.
Her conscience will not allow this.
She seeks advice from her mother, claiming the huntsman has been 'stalking' her.
She dislikes the advice she gets and decides on total honesty.
Her mother offers her her freedom, but she decides to await a more decisive move by the huntsman.

From this we lose the problems noted above, as the huntsman needs no dismissal (the girl is not alone & cannot thus reply). The girl does not need to seek out her mother as they are already together.