“The Heir of Linne”


The Heir wastes his money in gambling and wild living, (sells his lands,) and falls into poverty. He remembers a (letter/key) to be used only when he is in need. It tells him where to find a treasure; the Heir is once again rich -- and now wiser


Child lists many foreign analogues to this ballad. It should not be assumed, however, that they are actually related; the theme is commonplace. Indeed, it could easily be suggested by the Biblical story of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32); the only real difference is that, in the New Testament story, the father is still alive.

Still, Bronson links the tune loosely with "The Boom o' Cowdenknowes" -- which would make sense if someone were translating a text and fitting it to a British tune. - RBW


  1. Child 267, "The Heir of Linne" (3 texts)
  2. Bronson 267, "The Heir of Linne" (4 versions)
  3. Percy/Wheatley II, pp. 138-150, "The Heir of Linne" (2 texts, one from the Percy folio and one the heavily-expanded version printed in the _Reliques_)
  4. Dixon IV, pp. 30-36, "The Heir of Linne" (1 text)
  5. Davis-Ballads 41, "The Heir of Linne" (1 text)
  6. Leach, pp. 637-641, "The Heir of Linne" (1 text plus one text for comparison)
  7. OBB 80, "The Heir of Linne" (1 text)
  8. DT 267, LAIRDLIN*
  9. Roud #111
  10. BI, C267


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1765 (Percy)
Found in: Britain(Scotland(Aber)) US(SE)