The TWA Sisters are a popular folk ballad that has been passed down through the centuries in Scotland and Ireland. The ballad tells the story of three sisters who are trapped in a tower by a wicked stepmother, who wants to keep them locked away so that they will not be able to marry and have children of their own.
The TWA Sisters are often interpreted as a metaphor for the suppression of women's rights and agency. The stepmother represents the patriarchal society that seeks to control and limit the choices of women, while the sisters represent the resilience and determination of women to break free from such constraints and forge their own path in life.
The ballad has been popularized in many different versions over the years, with different lyrics and melodies depending on the region and the performer. It has been recorded and performed by many famous musicians, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and the Clancy Brothers.
Despite the grim subject matter, the TWA Sisters ballad is often sung with a sense of hope and defiance. The sisters may be trapped in a tower, but they are not giving up, and they are waiting for the day when they will be able to break free and make their own choices in life.
In modern times, the TWA Sisters ballad can be seen as a symbol of the ongoing struggle for gender equality and women's rights. It serves as a reminder of the challenges that women have faced and continue to face in a world that often seeks to limit their agency and opportunities. However, it also serves as a source of inspiration and hope, reminding us that even in the face of oppression, women have the strength and determination to overcome any obstacle and claim their rightful place in the world. So, the TWA Sisters ballad is not just a simple folk song, but a powerful message of hope and resilience that has been passed down through the generations.
The Twa Sisters: A Santal Folktale Variant of the Ballad on JSTOR
These lyrics appeared in Jamieson's Popular Ballads 1806. Fair and beautiful she looked as she lay there. He's taen three locks o her yallow hair, An wi them strung his harp sae fair. Bonny Sanct Johnstonne that stands upon Tay. Bythe bonnie mill-dams of Binnorie. This version casts doubt on whether the accusing deceased sister is telling the truth. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
He gied the eldest a gay gold ring, Hey Edinbruch, how Edinbruch. And first the harper sang to his old harp, making them joy and be glad, or sorrow and weep, just as he liked. Retrieved 2 October 2020. The Twa Sisters The Twa Sisters John Renfro Davis Information Lyrics Twa Sisters first appears on a The Miller and the King's Daughter. The form here given is a composite made by William Allingham for his Ballad Book.
And though he travelled on far away, he never forgot that face, and after many days he came back to the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie. Oh, sister, sister, lend me your hand, Stirling for aye: And you Bonny 'Oh, sister, sister, save my life, Hey Edinbruch, how Edinbruch. When the sister plays the pipe, blood spews forth and the pipe plays of her guilt - so she is condemned and pulled apart by horses. First she sank, and then she swam, Stirling for aye: Until she cam to Tweed mill dam, Bonny Sanct Johnstonne that stands upon Tay. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
Child has 21 versions of lyrics for the tune. But while he sang, he put the harp he had made that day on a stone in the hall. And when he looked that lady on He sighed, and made a heavy moan. Retrieved 2 October 2020. And her sister, coming behind her, caught her round the waist and dashed her into the rushing mill-stream of Binnorie.
He courted the eldest wi brotch an knife, But lovd the youngest as his life. The Stirling for aye: The Bonny 'Oh sister, sister, lend me your hand, Hey Edinbruch, how Edinbruch. It encompasses both North American and European approaches to the study of folklore and covers not only the materials and processes of folklore, but also the history, methods, and theory of folkloristics. Retrieved 2 October 2020. In her golden hair were pearls and precious stones; you could not see her waist for her golden girdle, and the golden fringe of her white dress came down over her lily feet.
So he made a harp out of her breast-bone and her hair, and travelled on up the hill from the mill-dam of Binnorie till he came to the castle of the king her father. For example, at least one variant of this ballad "Cruel Sister" uses the tune and Canadian singer and harpist An early In Germany, there is a ballad called Das steinerne brot stone bread which is also sometimes known as Zwei schwestern two sisters. Danmarks Melodiebog, III del in Danish. . Den talende strengeleg or De to søstre Der boede en Mand ved Sønderbro Hørpu ríma Hörpu kvæði Dei tvo systar in De två systrarna Gosli iz človeškega telesa izdajo umor A Fiddle Made from a Human Body Reveals a Murder in In the Norse variants, the older sister is depicted as dark and the younger as fair, often with great contrast, comparing the former to soot and the other to the sun or milk.
The ballad also appears in Scandinavia. Vaughan Williams Memorial Library. They could nae see her yellow hair, Hey Edinbruch, how Edinbruch. There cam a squire frae the west, Stirling for aye: He lo'ed them baith, but the youngest best, Bonny Sanct Johnstonne that stands upon Tay. Retrieved 2 October 2020. Twenty-four versions or fragments of versions have been recorded, one as early as the seventeenth century. A famous harper passing by The sweet pale face he chanced to spy.
There liv'd twa sisters in a bower, Stirling for aye: The youngest o' them, O, she was a flower! The journal aims to be lively, informative, and accessible, while maintaining high standards of scholarship. He courted the eldest wi glove an ring, But he lovd the youngest above a' thing. Stirling for aye: Our father's ships sail bonnilie, Bonny Sanct Johnstonne that stands upon Tay. They Stirling for aye: Sae mony Bonny Bye Hey Edinbruch, how Edinbruch. But she was drowned, drowned! Oh sister, sister, save my life, Stirling for aye: And ye shall be the squire's wife, Bonny Sweet Johnstonne that stands upon Tay.