The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123801   Message #2733000
Posted By: Fred McCormick
28-Sep-09 - 06:08 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
Subject: RE: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
TDFW has no connection with Child 278. Although there are probably traditional antecedants, the song was first popularised by Bert Lloyd in the mid 1970s. I do know that a number of revival singers picked it up from him.

While it's a good song, and one I sing myself, I'm suspicious of its authenticity. That's partly because Bert is now known to have faked a number of the songs which he 'recirculated'. Eg., The Recruited Collier, Reynardine, Gathering Rushes. More particularly though, the story is well known in Continental Europe as a folktale, and I have seen one printed version (I think in the Routledege Folktales of the World series), and been struck by a strong similarity between that particular text and Bert's song.

If I can remember which volume it was in, I'll dig it out and re-read it.