- Oct 2020
Murder in murder ballads cannot be concealed for long and through the course of the ballad, there is always something that reveals the murder. In many folk ballads this is something that happens naturally but in a few this is revealed through supernatural means. This motif is called “murder will out”.
The specific folk ballads outlined in this paper that have an element of supernatural that is instrumental in revealing the murder are the Twa Sisters (Child 10), Sir Hugh (Child 155), Young Hunting (Child 68), and Young Benjie (Child 86).
“In the Scottish "Binorie" versions, for instance, the body is recovered from the water and buried without any further allusion to the murder. In North American versions, the younger sister's body is eventually found, but frequently not before she has already been fished out, still alive, by a miller who has seen her floating in his milldam, robbed her of her money or jewelry, and then thrown her back in to drown.”