[[quoteright:185:[[http://spiritoftheages.com/Tamlane%20%28Ballads%20Weird%20and%20Wonderful,%201912%29%20-%20Vernon%20Hill.htm http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Tamlane_VernonHill_274.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:185: [- Burd Janet waits for the Fairy Ride (Vernon Hill, 1912) -] ]]

->''"If my love were an earthly knight,\\
As he's an elfin grey,\\
I wad na gie my ain true-love\\
For nae lord that ye hae."''

"Tam Lin" is Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}} #39, stemming from OralTradition, and one of the most popular ballads, both as a song and as a source for literature. It is from southern Scotland; the oldest known version was printed in 1549.

In a nutshell: Headstrong young Janet hears that the mysterious Tam Lin has forbidden all maidens to go to the wood called Carterhaugh (a real place; it's near Selkirk), on pain of... how shall we put this... [[RapeAsDrama no longer being maidens]]. She declares that she will go to Carterhaugh, but she has no sooner picked a rose[[note]]in ballads and stories, picking a rose summons the ruler of the place. See also "Literature/BeautyAndTheBeast".[[/note]] than Tam Lin himself shows up...[[note]]in some versions it's consensual, in some versions he rapes her, and in some the deed isn't mentioned at all, just the resulting pregnancy.[[/note]]

Some time later, a knight at Janet's father's court remarks that Janet looks knocked up[[note]]alternatively, it's Janet's father who notices[[/note]]. Janet agrees, but says the baby's father is not any of the men at her father's court. She returns to Carterhaugh and speaks to Tam Lin.

Tam Lin tells Janet that he was once mortal, but was captured by the Queen of the Fairies. The fairy folk must make a sacrifice to Hell every seven years, and Tam Lin fears that he's going to be offered.[[note]]There's an oblique reference to this in ''[[ComicBook/TheSandman Sandman]]''.[[/note]] Janet can save him, he explains, if she waits by Miles Cross until midnight on [[AllHallowsEve Halloween]]. That's when the fairy folk will ride by, and Tam Lin will be on a white horse. She must pull him down off his horse and hold on to him throughout his transformations. Janet does this, and the Queen of the Fairies is obliged to let Tam Lin go. Tam Lin and Janet marry.

Creator/JosephJacobs rewrote the ballad into a prose fairy tale, "Tamlane", published in his 1894 ''More English Fairy Tales''. In "Tamlane", Burd Janet and Tamlane are lovers and engaged to begin with, but Tamlane disappears mysteriously (i.e. is kidnapped by the elves) before the wedding (thus getting rid of the whole [[{{Bowdlerize}} knocking-up business]]).

The numerous variants collected by Francis Child can be found [[http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/eng/child/ch039.htm here]]. Joseph Jacobs' "Tamlane" can be read [[http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/More_English_Fairy_Tales/Tamlane here.]] The song or songs inspired by it have been recorded by numerous artists, including Music/FairportConvention, Music/SteeleyeSpan, Music/{{Current 93}}, and Music/TheDecemberists (the latter a loose adaptation of it as ''The Hazards of Love'' with a DownerEnding).
!!Tropes featured in the ballad:
%% Zero Context Examples have been commented out. Please provide context before uncommenting.
* AllHallowsEve: Janet must wait until midnight that night to save Tam Lin on account of it being when the Fair Folk will ride.
* BalefulPolymorph: The fairy queen turns Tam Lin into various animals after Janet pulls him off the horse. In some versions, she also says she should have turned him into a tree instead of taking him along on the hunt.
* DistressedDude: Tam Lin is held captive by the elves with magic, and needs Burd Janet to rescue him.
* EyeScream: The Fairy Queen says she should have done this to Tam Lin after Janet rescues him.
-->''And adieu Tam Lin, but had I known\\
the secrets in your mind,\\
I would have picked out your two fine eyes\\
and left you beggar-blind!''
* TheFairFolk: The main antagonists and the titular character. Tam Lin himself seems to be an adult changeling if anything, having been a human who was taken and turned into a fairy. Lucky for him, he seems to have been afflicted with a curse that can be cured.
* FantasyContraception: In some versions this is why Janet goes back to Carterhaugh. A "poison rose" is mentioned (although it might just be called that because roses were important earlier in the song).
* GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion: See above. In those versions, Janet, while she does want the baby, isn't about to be an unmarried mother, and tells Tam Lin off for acting horrified when he's in no position to fix that. But, of course, she rescues him, so presumably she ends up keeping the baby.
* HumanSacrifice: Tam Lin knows the fairies pay a tithe to hell and thinks it'll be him.
* LawOfInverseFertility: As is common in ballads and stories, unmarried noblewoman Janet--the last person who can afford to risk sex before marriage--gets pregnant pretty much instantly.
* LiminalTime: Save him between Halloween and All Saints' Day.
* NarrativePoem: One of the most well known.
* PluckyGirl: Rather than scream and run from the Fairy who everyone is terrified of, she mouths off to him that she can come and go as she pleases, it being her kingdom and all. Then she faces down the Fairy Queen for him.
* PregnantBadass: Janet rescues Tam Lin while she's pregnant and wearing a miniskirt.
* RebelliousPrincess: Janet was explicitly told not to go to Carterhaugh, doesn't stop her.
* RescueRomance: Granted the rescue comes second, but it still fits.
* UnspokenPlanGuarantee: Inverted, Tam Lin tells Janet how to save him and then the poem goes into detail about her actually doing it and it goes off without a hitch.
* WhiteStallion: Tam Lin claims that he was given this honor in the wild hunt because he was once a human knight.
* TheWildHunt: What the fairies are doing when Janet rescues Tam Lin.
!!Works derived from this ballad:
* Creator/CharlesDeLint's short story "The Butter Spirit's Tithe."
* Creator/DianaWynneJones's ''Literature/FireAndHemlock''
* Elizabeth Bear's ''Blood & Iron''
* Elizabeth Marie Pope's ''Literature/ThePerilousGard''
* In ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', both Magrat's rescue of Verence in ''Discworld/LordsAndLadies'' and Tiffany's rescue of Roland in ''Discworld/TheWeeFreeMen'' have elements of ''Tam Lin''. Magrat is even inspired by hearing the ballad, despite Shawn's insistence that [[ThisIsReality real life isn't like folk songs]].
* Janet [=McNaughton's=] ''An Earthly Knight''
* John Myers Myers's ''Silverlock'' contained a ShoutOut chapter.
* Creator/PamelaDean's ''Tam Lin''
* Tam Lin has shown up on several occasions in the ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' series.
* While not a direct reference, there's a character called Tam Lin in Nancy Farmer's ''Literature/HouseOfTheScorpion''.
* Creator/PatriciaAMcKillip's ''Winter Rose''.
* Creator/MercedesLackey's ''Literature/HomeFromTheSea'' is strongly based off of this tale. To the point that the main character has to do the shapeshifting hold--with the twist that ''she'' also has to shapeshift to keep hold of her love.
* In the ''Literature/DresdenFiles'' series' 14th book, ''Literature/ColdDays'', it is revealed that Tam Lin once served the Winter Court as Winter Knight, and was one of the few Knights to call the Winter Court to task for their treatment of humans before Harry took up the position. Pretty much every element of the story is compatible with the mechanics of the Dresden Files too.
* In ''An Artificial Night'' from Seanan Maguire's ''Literature/OctoberDaye'' series, October gets taken by the Blind Michael, who heads TheWildHunt. The Luidaeg and Toby's friends retrieve her the way Janet rescued Tam Lin, and the ballad itself is referenced several times.
* A chapter in Creator/PhilFoglio's ''ComicBook/XXXenophile'' has a character do this to rescue her love. It's a bit more explicit naturally, as she has to have in a "lover's clasp" throughout the transformations. Naturally, this series being what it is, you don't have to guess what that entails.
* Creator/SarahJMaas's Tamlin in ''Literature/ACourtOfThornsAndRoses''
* The ''Night and Nothing'' trilogy by Katherine Harbour (''Thorn Jack'', ''Briar Queen'', and ''Nettle King''). The author has indicated that Music/FairportConvention's recording was an influence.