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The Daemon Lover- A Medieval British Ballad

Updated: Apr 11, 2022

Once upon a time, there lived a very beautiful wife of a ship’s carpenter and she had a son with him. She was too gorgeous and fair yet she was greedy. Her greediness traps her in hell a day.

NOTE: This Ballad was written by an anonymous British Medieval writer. It has a lot of versions. And the story provided here is written with reference to all the poems.

It was a pleasant day when she was visited by her former lover with whom she had a relationship seven years before. He was long gone but he claims that he has come back for her love. The love, she had promised him earlier. She vehemently said that she has got married and bore a child and she cannot fulfill those past promises. He then as bait laid her a story where he refused to marry a princess far away, beyond the sea just to get back to his Lady love (her). At this point, she again restricted by saying, the refusal he made was his mistake and he is the only one who is blamable for his action. After speaking such, she asked him an ‘if clause’ question. If at all she is to stay with him, does he own any place to maintain her, she asked. To which he replied that he owns seven ships filled with riches. At this moment, the pious lady who referred earlier to her husband and her son as a reason has now fallen for his riches. He continued to allure her by describing how luxuriously he will take care of her. With his voice and words as if the soldiers in Odysseys were drawn towards the Siren, she bid goodbye with a kiss to her son, said wishes for her husband, and eloped with him.

While going with him she looked at the ships standing majestically in the seaport about to move. She was amazed and mesmerized by the outward appearance. Whereas when she stepped inside the ship with her former lover (who is presently her lover), she noticed something different in his legs. He did not have any legs. He was a devil from Hell to draw her inside Hell. Once she found this she started to weep. The devil asked her why she would weep, is it for her husband and son or for the fact that he is not her former lover. She replied it was because she left her husband and son. While she did she looked up and got the sight of the celestial hill of Heaven. She asked the devil, having a new hope that she is going there. But painfully, the devil informed her it is Heaven that she can never enter. She also saw a dark hill that looked extremely scary which the devil pointed out and said here is where she is going along with him.


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