The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #151087 Message #3526466
Posted By: Steve Gardham
14-Jun-13 - 02:45 PM
Thread Name: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
Subject: RE: Origins: Child Ballads: US Versions Part 6
Without having looked at all of the versions I would say that Gardner E is a hybrid of a folktale and TFCW. Hybrids are fairly common particularly when pieces have been in oral tradition for a long time. This also includes the marrying of folk tale and a fragmented ballad. Some versions of Hynd Horn take this form, The Maid Freed from the Gallows.
What is more interesting to me is Gardner A which also introduces the idea of swapping beasts of burden before the Devil arrives on the scene. Again these are a distraction from the joke. I think it would be worth comparing all of the versions that include this element. I strongly suspect they will all be American.
Dick, another common motif of Devil/Fairy tales is in the heat of the moment someone makes an ill-thought-out wish and the devil/fairy/other supernatural being, suddenly pops up and grants the wish. In most cases the wisher comes off badly, but as this is a joke, the farmer gets the best of the deal, at least temporarily.
I still say that 'hogs' is very likely a mishearing of 'ox' somewhere along the line.