The Cruel Brother

The Cruel Brother

"The Cruel Brother" is Child ballad 11[1] and Roud #26.


  • Synopsis 1
  • Motifs 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


A knight (or lord) courts a lady. She tells him he must win the consent of her kin. He neglects that of her brother John. John mortally stabs her on her wedding day. She lives long enough to make various bequests, such as clothing to her mother, a fan to her sister; John invariably receives "a gallows to hang him on" and his wife may receive grief for her entire life and his children that they would have to beg, though the wife may get a widow's weeds and a quiet life, or his son the grace of God to be a man.


The bride's bequests are highly typical of ballads, and similar bequests are found in ballads throughout Europe.[2]


  1. ^ Francis James Child, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, "The Cruel Brother"
  2. ^ Francis James Child, The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, v 1, p 143-4, Dover Publications, New York 1965

External links

  • Brother's Revenge