Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ballad Spotting: Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Several direct mentions of ballads and songs within the text of this novel, published in 2010, offer the aware reader delightful foreshadowing of action and consequences:

Thomas the Rhymer (page 196) and the passing of time in the world of the Fae: "I underlined Thomas the Rhymer's name because it was history and Rip was a story by Irving that might or might not have been based on various legends--including Thomas's."

Tam Lin (page 305). While this ballad is not named, those who are familiar with the Faery Queen's final challenge to Janette would recognize it immediately: " A different bargain, then. You hold something of my choosing while it changes." Briggs satisfactorily presents the challenge for this reader.

Not a ballad but a song relevant to my present research: The Devil Went Down to Georgia (page 284) "Bargaining? Like in the song 'The Devil Went Down to Georgia' but with a fairy?" I asked. It seemed to me that I'd heard a similar tale with fairies in it.
"Right," Samuel agreed. "It can be a contest--usually musical, because fairy queens tend to be musically talented. But there are stories of footraces or swimming contests. My father has a wonderful old song about a young man who challenged a fairy to an eating contest and won."