Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tamlane

It is Halloween, and the author of "Demonology and Witchcraft" is not without a contribution for this day. Scott's Tamlane is not an original story, but is his favorite version of a well known Scotch folk tale. The tale starts:

"Oh I forbid ye, maidens a'
That wear gowd on your hair,
To come or go by Carterhaugh,
For young Tamlane is there.

There's none that goes by Carterhaugh,
But maun leave him a wad,
Either gowd rings or green mantles,
Or else their maidenheid.
...

According to Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, Carterhaugh is a plain, at the confluence of the Ettrick and Yarrow, Selkirkshire... Thus, this tale has a historical place, at least.

Tamlane himself was the son of the Earl Murray, and Burd Janet the daughter of Dunbar, the Earl of March. Tamlane and Janet are trothed, and make love before their marriage, after which Tamlane disappears, taken by elves. Janet finds Tamlane in Carterhaugh in a much reduced state (elf-sized), now a knight for the elf-queen. Tamlane tells Janet how to save him, which involves covering him with her green mantle to protect him from elfin magic.

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