The Natural and the Unnatural, Naturally

Study for “There Were Three Maidens Pu’d Flower” by Charles H. Mackie Death Before Dishonor?The themes in “Babylon” pointed me back to reviewing Pat’s excellent series of posts on “Edward,” (Child 13), particularly this one, which is a careful, reluctant, and thorough exploration of the incest theme in that ballad. … → read more

The Underbelly of Myth

Thereby Hangs a (Folk) Tale In the last post, I suggested that there seemed to be a certain implausible, or perhaps contrived, quality, to the narrative of   “Babylon,” “The Bonnie Banks o’ Fordie,” or “Fair Flowers of the Valley,” (Child 14).  Perhaps it’s more accurate to say that it … → read more


“The Bonnie Banks O’Fordie,” by Charles Hodge Mackie (1892) Fair Flowers of the Valley While it’s not exactly our intention to ring the changes on the varieties of family-based murder ballads, we’ll turn this week to Child Ballad 14, “Babylon” or “The Bonnie Banks of Fordie,”  in its various iterations … → read more