The Child Ballad

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The Child Ballad No. 35, “Allison Gross,” in contrast, fairly differs from both ballads I have discussed so far. Whereas “The Marriage of Sir Gawain” and “Kemp Owyne” are, much like most fairy tales, named after the heroes of the ballad, the name “Allison Gross” comes from the story 's villain: the evil witch. Besides, this ballad does not treat of a stepmother 's relationship to and behavior towards their stepchildren, but rather broaches the issue of “[t]he ugliest witch i’ the north country” (“Allison Gross” l. 2) who punishes her beloved for rejecting her. Nonetheless, there are a number of fairy tale elements to be found in this ballad as well. In this case, there is an evil witch who “exerts power over another 's will in order to dominate…show more content…
47-52). As Francis James Child claims “[t]he queen of the fairies undoing the spell of the witch is a remarkable feature, not paralleled, so far as I know, in English or northern tradition” (314). Thus, this does not seem to be a very common motif in fairy tales despite the fairy queen acting similarly to a fairy godmother in this ballad. Nevertheless, the ballad does comprise fairy tale characters and motifs, albeit realized differently. “Allison Gross” also has a happy ending, just as fairy tales usually do. The interesting aspect of this when looking at the ballad with regard to fairy tales is that the ballad only describes the beginning of common fairy tales: similarly to the French tale Beauty and the Beast or Walt Disney 's adaption of Sleeping Beauty, for example, the prince or princess is bewitched by a stepmother, fairy queen or witch, has to be supported or guided by a fairy godmother and to be saved by a…show more content…
36. This ballad “has the first stanza in common with 'Kemp Owyne, ' and shares more than that with 'Allison Gross '” (Child 315). It has the double transformation motif in common with “The Marriage of Sir Gawain” as well; hence one can find similar motifs in this ballad that resembles the motifs in the ballads that have been discussed so far, and – obviously – motifs and elements that are similar to traditional fairy tales. One motif that already appeared in “Kemp Owyne,” and, though in a different manner, in “Allison Gross,” is the evil stepmother who is to replace the dead, and thus absent, mother. According to Sheila Douglas, this ballad “illuminates the dark world of witchcraft belief by presenting the use of magic as an expression of the hatred of a stepmother: 'I was but seven year auld / When my mither she did die; / My father married the ae warst woman / The warld did ever see '” (355). Analogically to the stepmothers in the other ballads discussed in this essay, this woman transforms her husband 's progeny into animals in order to get rid of the children that are not her own; as already mentioned, she even performs a double transformation in this case seeing that she bewitches both her stepdaughter and her stepson: “[f]or she has made me the laily worm, / That lies at the fit o the tree, / An my sister
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