Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter

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Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter is Child ballad 102.[1]

It recounts the birth of Robin Hood, but is not part of the Robin Hood cycle; Francis James Child rejected the title The Birth of Robin Hood for it on those grounds.[2]


Willie, or Archibald, and the earl's daughter fall in love, and she becomes pregnant. They steal away to the woods, where she gives birth to a son. In some variants, she survives and nurses him; in others, she dies, and Archibald laments that his son's being alive makes matters worse because he can not nourish the boy.

The earl comes after and recovers the boy, and his daughter, dead or alive. He kisses his grandson and makes him his heir.


The motifs for this ballad come from Willie o Douglas Dale and Leesome Brand.[2]


  1. Francis James Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, "Willie and Earl Richard's Daughter"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 2, p 412, Dover Publications, New York 1965