Sep. 3rd, 2009

helen99: A windswept tree against a starlit sky (Default)
I was just looking at this version of the Ballad of Tam Lin, and I read the ending more carefully than I usually do...

I've been reading these things from the POV of the fae rather than a from a christian one, so I can't see what happened in the ballad as necessarily good. According to ballad and story, some who are taken by faerie stay forever. So why not Tam Lin. Seems like he had developed a taste for mortal women (I'd expect this to continue after he was "rescued").

Anyway, here's the ending of the above-mentioned version. After reading this, I think the queen loved him. I think the whole "Tithe to Hell" thing was a test. His fear got the better of him -- Hell is a mortal construct. If he valued staying with her in faerie more than he valued his own life, he could have stayed. But he didn't. Too bad for him.

"# Up then spoke the Faery Queen,
Out of a bush of broom--
She that has borrowed young Tam-Lin,
has got a stately groom.
Up then spoke the Faery Queen
Out of a bush of rye--
She has ta'en away the bonniest knight
In all my company.

# But had I known Tam-Lin, she says
What now this night I see,
I would have taken thy two grey eyes,
And turned thee to a tree.

# Oh had I known, Tam-Lin, she says
Before ye came from home,
I would ta'en your heart o' flesh,
Put in a heart o' stone.

# Had I but the wit yestereen
That I have bought today--
I'd pay my tiend seven times to hell
Ere you'd been won away,
My love,
Ere you'd been won away!"

April 2010


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