Stories beyond the Text: Contextualizing Narratives and 'The Jolly Beggar'

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This paper looks at the relationship between sung and spoken narrative in a present-day Scottish Traveller family, focusing on a series of family stories about King James V (1512–42). The stories are told in relation to a pair of ballads, “The Jolly Beggar” and “The Gaberlunyie Man” (Child 279 and 279 Appendix) and through them I explore the function, meaning, and continued relevance of contextualizing narratives, which fill in gaps in plot, anchor a song in time, or develop a didactic message.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
Pages (from-to)208-226)
Number of pages19
JournalNarrative Cultures
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2015

Bibliographical note

Extracts from Tobar an Dualchals used by permission of the Department of Celtic and Scottish Studies, University of Edinburgh.


  • disguise
  • storytelling
  • ballad
  • narrative
  • musical performance
  • scotland
  • Travellers


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