Kemp Owyne [Child 34]

DESCRIPTION: When her mother dies, Isabel's father marries a vile woman who abuses and enchants her till Kemp Owyne shall rescue her. Owyne comes and sees a hideous beast. Despite her appearance, despite threats, he kisses her three times and restores her
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1802 (Scott)
KEYWORDS: shape-changing magic separation love rescue stepmother
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (10 citations):
Child 34, "Kemp Owyne" (3 texts)
Bronson 34, "Kemp Owyne" (1 version)
Leach, pp. 126-128, "Kemp Owyne" (1 text)
OBB 13, "Kemp Owyne" (1 text)
Friedman, p. 21, "Kemp Owyne" (1 text)
PBB 26, "Kemp Owyne" (1 text)
Gummere, pp. 280-282+359, "Kemp Owyne" (1 text)
DBuchan 26, "Kemp Owyne" (1 text)
TBB 33, "Kemp Owyne" (1 text)
DT 34, KEMPOWYN KEMPOWN2*

ALTERNATE TITLES:
Kempion
Notes: "Kemp Owyne" means "Owen the Champion"; he appears in some of the medieval grail romances.
Child prints "The Laidley Worm of Spindleston Heughs" as an appendix to this ballad, and later added a second version in his addenda. - RBW
 

Kemp Owyne
[Child #34]

Her mother died when she was young
Which gave her cause to make great moan
Her father married the worst woman
That ever lived in Christendom

She served her with foot and hand
In everything that she could dee
Till once in an unlucky time
She threw her in ower Craigy's sea

Says, Lie you there, dove Isobel
And all my sorrows lie with thee
Till Kemp Owyne come ower the sea
And borrow you with kisses three
Let all the world do what they will
Oh borrowed shall you never be

Her breath grew strang, her hair grew lang
And twisted thrice around the tree
And all the people far and near
Thought that a savage beast was she

These news did come to Kemp Owyne
Where he lived, far beyond the sea
He hasted him to Craigy's sea
And on the savage beast looked he

Her breath was strang, her hair was lang
And twisted thrice about the tree
And with a swing she came about
"Come to Craigy's sea and kiss with me

"Here is a royal belt," she cried,
"That I have found in the green sea
And while your body it is on
Drawn shall your blood never be
But if you touch me, tail or fin
I vow my belt your death shall be"

He stepped in, gave her a kiss
The royal belt he brought him wi'
Her breath was strang, her hair was lang
And twisted twice about the tree
And with a swing she came about
"Come to Craigy's sea and kiss with me"

"Here is a royal ring," she said
"That I have found in the green sea
And while your finger it is on
Drawn shall your blood never be
But if you touch me, tail or fin,
I swear my ring your death will be"

He stepped in, gave her a kiss
The royal ring he brought him wi'
Her breath was strang, her hair was lang
And twisted aince about the tree
And with a swing she came about
"Come to Craigy's sea and kiss with me"

"Here is a royal brand," she cried,
"That I have found in the green sea
And while your body it is on
Drawn shall your blood never be
But if you touch me tail or fin
I swear my brand your death will be"

He stepped in, gave her a kiss
The royal brand he brought him wi'
Her breath was sweet, her hair grew short
And twisted nane about the tree
And smilingly she came about
As fair a woman as fair could be

Child #34
in Child, from Buchan, "Ballads of the North of Scotland"
sung by Margaret MacArthur