1. Child Owlet
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Child 291
Trad.Arr Roberts/Lakeman
This traditional Child ballad portrays a shocking tale of incest, betrayal and murder.


Lady Erskine sits all in her room sewing a silken seam
A chain of gold for Child Owlet as he goes out and in
It fell once upon a day, she turned to him and sweetly said
"You must cuckold your old uncle, come into my bed ".

"Oh stop forbid Madam" he said “How could that be done?
I wouldn't cuckold Lord Ronald for I'm his sister's son".
She's taken out a little knife that lay beneath the marriage bed
And stabbed below her satin dress until the blood ran red.

That poor young man, poor young man.

Then in came old Lord Ronald hearing his Lady moan.
"What blood is this upon the floor that drips on the hearthstone?"
"Child Owlet, your sister's son, has only just gone from my door,
If I hadn't have been a good woman I'd have been Child Owlets whore."

He's taken poor Child Owlet put him in prison strong
And all his men a council held, how they would work him wrong.
Some said they would see him hang, some said they would see him burn
Some said they would see that young man between wild horses torn.

"There are horses in my stable stand can run so speedily,
And you must go to my stable and bring out four for me."
He tied a horse to his two feet and tied a horse to either hand
And sent them charging down the moor as fast as they could run.

There was not a place upon the moor nor yet a strip of ground
Not covered over with his blood and pieces of his skin.
Not a place upon the moor, a blade of grass or holly bush
Not covered over with his blood and pieces of his flesh.