“The Fair Captive”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1938 (recording, Warde Ford)
Keywords: captivity wedding return separation abduction escape baby family Indians(Am.)
Found in: US(MW)

Description

An infant white girl is abducted and raised by Indians. She considers herself fully Indian, albeit with skin paled by moonlight. When the Indians and whites make peace, she's returned to her parents; betrothed to a white, she runs off on her wedding day.

Long description

An infant white girl is abducted and raised lovingly by Indians, taken as daughter by the chief. She considers herself fully Indian, albeit with skin paled by moonlight. When the Indians and whites make peace, she's returned to her parents; betrothed to a white man, she runs off on her wedding day. (She dies of grief in the woods, mourned by the chief's son)

Notes

Ford mentions that his source, Charles E. Walker, learned it about 1900 from another singer. It's quite literary-sounding. It's not, however, the same song as, "Olban/The White Captive -- not even close.

Ford also recorded a fragment, AFS A4205 A2, which is misidentified on the on AMMEM website as "The Fair Captive." It's not -- it's "The Lady Leroy." - PJS

It's interesting to see what is almost certainly a "white" song with such sympathy for Indians. - RBW

Cross references

Recordings

References

  1. Roud #15491
  2. BI, RcTFC