The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #56572   Message #3176625
Posted By: Brian Peters
26-Jun-11 - 06:27 AM
Thread Name: Lay the bent to the bonnie broome? Meaning?
Subject: RE: Lay the bent to the bonnie broome? Meaning?
"I don't see the grass being the wicked sister; in fact, one could argue that she is the broom which has been choked by the grass."

Please can we get this straight? 'Lay the Bent to the Bonny Broom' has NO known traditional association with the 'Cruel Sister' / 'Two Sisters' ballad. See Malcolm Douglas and Little Robyn, above.

'Two Sisters' was, however, collected with a variety of refrains including 'Binnorie', 'Bow Down / The bough shall bend to me', 'Hey ho my Nanny - O' and 'Jinny flower gen and rosemary'. Whether refrains like that added any content to the ballad is debatable. In their proper context of Child 1 ('Riddles') it's possible that the bent and the broom once carried sexual connotations relevant to the story, but the ballad was collected much more frequently without the bent / broom refrain. 'Ninety-nine and ninety', anyone?