Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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Eitson's Ancient Songs, i. 141, Sandys's Christmas Carols, p. 4: from the Sloane MS., No. 2593 (temp. Hen. VI.)
This curious little ballad was sung as a carol for St. Stephen's Day. Its counterpart is found in Danish (though not in an ancient form), printed in Erik Pon-toppidan's book on the relics of Heathenism and Pa­pistry in Denmark, 1736 (Jesusbarnet, Stefan, og Herodes, Grundtvig, No. 96). There is also a similar ballad in Faroish. Only a slight trace of the story is now left in the Swedish Staffans Visa (Scenska F. V., No. 99), which is sung as a carol on St. Stephen's Day, as may very well have been the case with the Danish and Faroish ballads too.
The miracle of the roasted cock occurs in many other legends. The earliest mention of it is in Vin­cent of Beauvais's Speculum Historiale, L. xxv. c. 64. It is commonly ascribed to St. James, sometimes to the Virgin. (See the preface to the ballad in Grundtvig, and to Southey's Pilgrim to Compostella.) We meet with it in another English carol called The Carnal * and the Crane, printed in Sandys's collection, p. 152, from a broadside copy, corrupt and almost unintelli-
* crow ?