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Published on Jan 20, 2015
Also known as Sir Colin and Sir Colvin, this is another rarely heard ballad. It appears in "Bishop Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry" (1765). Child has only one version, quite a lot longer than Percy's, and with two incidents involving a five-headed giant and an attack by a lion which do not feature in the shorter version.
Sir Cawline falls in love with the king's daughter, which causes him to lose his mind. She tells him that she dare not marry him unless he keeps watch all night on Eldritch Hill, which no one ever survives as they are killed by the Eldritch king (the king of the elves).
Sir Cawline, however, manages to defeat the Eldritch king, cutting off his hand, but spares him when the king's lady pleads for his life.
Though the king agrees to Cawline marrying his daughter, a giant demands the princess, and Sir Cawline fights him, using the Eldritch sword. Later a false steward releases a lion to attack him and Sir Cawline succeeds in killing it. He finally gets to marry the princess and she gives him fifteen sons.