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- This folk ballad was collected by Francis James Child as number 14 and is collected in the Roud Folk Song Index as number 27. The ballad originates in Scotland or England and was first published in "Scots Magazine" in 1803, but the ballad has been traced back to at least the 1770s. This ballad in different forms is known in, among others, Denmark, Sweden and Iceland. The Danish version has been traced back to 1598.
In this ballad, an outlaw comes upon three sisters and demands, in turn, that each marry him on pain of death. Most often, the first two sisters refuse and are murdered. The youngest sister accidentally determines that the murderer (named Babylon in a version collected by Child) is her brother and he commits suicide when he discovers this fact.
The ballad is known under several names, often localized to the area in which the song is found.
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