“Willie's Lady”


Willie travels to woo and wed a wife. His mother, not approving of the bride, casts spells to ensure that she will never bear a child. Willie tricks his mother into believing the baby has been born, and the mother blurts out the way to lift the spell


At least one of the magic tricks described in this song is widespread in folklore: Pregnant women were supposed to remove all knots from their clothing to ease childbirth. - RBW

The Swedish ballad "Den Fortrollade Barnafoderskan (The Bewitched Mother-to-Be)" is essentially the same story, with variations in detail. - PJS

Cross references


  1. Child 6, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  2. Bronson 6, "Willie's Lady" (1 version)
  3. Flanders-Ancient1, pp. 124-127, "Willie's Lady" (1 text, from print rather than tradition)
  4. Leach, pp. 64-66, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  5. OBB 6, "Willy's Lady" (1 text)
  6. Friedman, p. 18, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  7. Gummere, pp. 252-255+356, "Willie's Lady" (1 text)
  8. DBuchan 2, "Willie's Lady" (1 text, 1 tune in appendix) {Bronson's [#1]}
  10. Roud #220
  11. BI, C006


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1783
Found in: Britain(Scotland)