Ballads & Broadsides

Sources · True Thomas · Tam Lin · The Borders
Picture by Kay Nielsen Tam Lin is probably the best-known of the traditional fairy ballads. In many ways, it is the canonical ballad. Featuring a maid named Janet, the Queen of Elfland, and a handsome hero imprisoned under the Hill; recorded by both Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention; turned into a picture book by Jane Yolen and a coming-of-age novel in the Fairy Tales series by Pamela Dean, it is also the inspiration for a raft of other beloved fantasy novels, including Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock, Elizabeth Marie Pope's The Perilous Gard, Dahlov Ipcar's The Queen of Spells, and Patricia McKillip's Winter Rose (which blends the story of Tam Lin with elements of Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market).

Tam Lin & Fair Janet

Tam Lin: Child No. 39 from The English and Scottish Popular Ballads by Francis James Child, in many variations with commentary and notes, transcribed at Abigail Acland's Tam Lin Balladry, which also includes tunes from various sources, an annotated Tam Lin bibliography by Tyra Twomey, and comparisons of the story to "Beauty and the Beast," "The Fairy Oak of Corriewater," "Thomas the Rhymer," "Alice Brand," and "The King's Daughter Jane."
Tam Lin, a version by Robert Burns. New URL.
Tam Lin, a prose story by Jesse Kirchner, at The Transformation Story Archive. New URLs.
Janet and Tam Lin as told by San Antonio storyteller Mary Grace Ketner. New !
Tam-lin a prose tale by E. H. Hopkinson, at Fables. New !
The Music of Faery, an essay by Terri Windling on ballads and the novels based on them, at The Endicott Studio.
Tam Lin Webring home page.
Tam Lin, a consideration from Obsidion, issue #2.
Captives in Fairyland from the Encyclopedia of the Celts.
The Annotated Tam Lin provides a chapter-by-chapter crib sheet for the literary and fantastical references in Pamela Dean's Novel.

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27 December 2005