Literature / Willie's Lady

Of her young bairn she'll neer be lighter,
Nor in her bower to shine the brighter.
But she shall die and turn to clay,
And you shall wed another may.

Willie's Lady is Child Ballad #6.

Willie has married, but his mother, a rank witch, hates his bride and has cursed her to die in childbirth. He tries to bribe her, and she refuses. At the advice of Belly Blind, a household sprite, he tricks her into thinking that the baby has been born. She falls in to a rage and demands to know who undid all the things she did to prevent it. Willie undoes them all, and the baby is born.

Full text here. The ballad is usually played to the same melody as the traditional Breton tune "Son ar Chistr" ("Cider Song").


Tropes included

  • Curse: Willie's mother cursed his wife to die in childbirth.
  • Death by Childbirth: The intended result of Willie's mothers Curse of her daughter-in-law.
  • Evil Matriarch: Willie's mother hates her daughter-in-law, and wants her son to marry someone else. Her solution is to curse her daughter-in-law to die.
    Of her young bairn she'll neer be lighter,
    Nor in her bower to shine the brighter.
    But she shall die and turn to clay,
    And you shall wed another may.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Willie's mother knows his wife could not have given birth without undoing her spells, which lets them trick the knowledge of how to do it out of her.
  • Old Retainer: Belly Blind, the family household sprite, advises Willie how to defeat his mother in her attempt to kill his wife.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Willie's mother tried to do this retroactively via her deadly Curse.
  • Wicked Witch: Willie's mother is a "rank witch" who intends to use her powers to murder her daughter-in-law.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Literature/WilliesLady