Archivi tag: The River Saile

WEILA WAILE OR “THE IRISH CRUEL MOTHER”

Cruel Mother” è il titolo di una murder ballad, una oscura ballata probabilmente proveniente dalla tradizione norrena, che Child raccoglie al numero 20. Si presume sia di origine scozzese, ma è diffusa ampiamente in Inghilterra e Irlanda e anche nelle Americhe in una grande varietà di testi e melodie. (vedi inizio qui)

LA VERSIONE IRLANDESE: WEILA WAILE

380x285-cz5t-500-x-500La ballata “The Cruel Mother” si è conservata e tramandata come Nursery Rhyme ben nota ai bambini irlandesi e di Liverpool e in particolare ai travellers con il titolo di “Weila Waile” o “The River Saile”.

La canzoncina è vista come una parodia e la donna che uccide il bambino con un coltello, non è più identificata come la madre bensì è una “old woman” che vive nel bosco. E’ l’uomo nero delle fiabe, la strega di Hansel e Gretel, l’orco che uccide i bambini “cattivi” per mangiarli. Ecco che la giustizia fa il suo corso e la donna viene catturata e fatta penzolare sulla forca.
Nella tradizione orale si tramanda la storia che la donna era disperata a causa della Grande carestia di metà ottocento e che piuttosto di vedere morire di stenti il figlio abbia preferito ucciderlo.

ASCOLTA The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem
There was an old woman who lived in the wood, Weela weela wallia(1);
There was an old woman who lived in the wood, Down by the river Sallia(2).

She had a baby six months old,
She had a penknife three foot long,
She stuck the knife in the baby’s head, The more she stabbed it, the more it bled.
Three big knocks came a-knocking at the door, Two policeman and a man,
“Are you the woman what killed the child?”
“I am the woman what killed the child.”
The rope got chucked and she got hung,
The moral of this story is, Don’t stick knives in baby’s heads

ASCOLTA Dubliners
ASCOLTA Orthodox Celts
ASCOLTA The Young Dubliners

There was an old woman and she lived in the woods, weile weile waile(1).
There was an old woman and she lived in the woods, down by the river Saile(2).

She had a baby three months old,
She had a penknife, long and sharp,
She stuck the penknife in the baby’s heart.
There were three loud knocks come a’knocking on the door,
There were two policemen and a Special Branch man(3),
They took her away and they put her in the jail,
They put a rope around her neck,
They pulled the rope and she got hung,.
And that was the end of the woman in the woods, And that was the end of the baby too.

NOTE
1) “Weile Weile waile” podrebbe derivare dall’inglese antico “wailowai”, “weilewei”, per indicare un’esclamazione di dolore
2) alcuni identificano il Saile con il fiume Poddle che in irlandese è detto Salach “sporco”; altri che sia il “Sawyer”; altri credono che la parola derivi da “sallow” nel significato di “willow”; altri ancora che sia un passaggio da “river-side, la” a “river sigh-la” e quindi “River Saile”
3) il verso in origine era “There were two policemen and a man” modificato dai Dubliner per indicare la polizia irlandese istituita nel 1922 come Gardaí (i guardiani della pace) in cui lo Special Branch era utilizzato per questioni di sicurezza nazionale

THE LADY DRESSED IN GREEN

Come ci racconta Al LLoyd “..folklorist saw the game being played in a Lancashire orphanage in 1915. The children called it The Lady Drest in Green. The song describes how the lady kills her baby with a pen-knife, tries to wash off the blood, goes home to lie down, is aroused by three “bobbies” at the door, who extract a confession from her and rush her off to prison, and “That was the end of Mrs. Green”. It is a ring game. Two children in the middle impersonate Mrs. Green and the baby, following the action of the song. The children in the ring dance round, singing the refrains, until the “bobbies” rush in and seize the mother, when the ring breaks up. In his “London Street Games” (1931 ed.), Norman Douglas prints a corrupt version current in East and South-East London during the First World War”.

ASCOLTA John Wesley Harding
There was a lady dressed in green, Fare a lair a lido
There was a lady dressed in green Down by the greenwood side

She had a baby in her arms
She had a penknife long and sharp
She stuck it in the baby’s heart
She went to the well to wash it off
The more she washed, the more it bled
There came a knocking on the door
There came three bobbies rushing in
They asked her what she did last night
She said I killed my only son

La versione diffusa a Liverpool e interpretata dagli Spinners si intitola “Old Mother Lee”: “The girls of Kirkdale, Liverpool, whose brothers at Major Street school gave this to [Spinner] Tony Davis, had certainly not heard of Professor Child. However, their skipping is unmistakeably based on the [‘Cruel Mother] ballad substituting the grim realities of ‘forty police’, ‘the magistrate’ and capital punishment for the ghostly children and the ‘fires of hell’ of the older form of the story”. (note in ‘The Spinners at the London Palladium’)

ASCOLTA OLD MOTHER LEE
There was an old woman called old Mother Lee
Old Mother Lee, old Mother Lee
There was an old woman called old Mother Lee
Down by the walnut tree(4)

She had a baby in her arms
She had a penknife long and sharp
She stabbed te baby through the heart
The next-door neighbours saw the blood
They rang up for the forty police
The forty police came running (skipping) out
They took her to the magistrate
The magistrate said she must die
They hung her to the walnut tree
And that was the end of old Mother Lee

NOTE
4) il noce è un tipico albero sotto cui le streghe si radunano per i loro sabba

ALL ROUND THE LONEY O

Per completezza si riporta anche questa versione “edulcorata” in cui la donna uccide il bambino e poi se stessa come se si trattasse di un gesto ineludibile (ad esempio per sottrarsi alle violenze della vile soldataglia o alla disperazione della Grande Carestia)

ASCOLTA Clancy Brothers
There were two sisters going to school All round the Loney O
They spied a woman at a pool Down by the greenwood sidey O

She held a baby on her knee
A cruel penknife they could see
She held the baby to her heart
She cried “My Dear, we both must part”
She held the baby to her breast
She said “my dear we’ll both find rest”
There is a river running deep
It’s there both baby and mother sleep

FONTI http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=6876