About this bookExcerpt from A Bundle of Ballads
People in those far-off days liked stories just as much as people do now; and because they had few books or none, and for the most part could not read, they delighted in the visits of the minstrels, who roamed the country from one great lord's house to another, singing their stories and accompanying themselves on the harp.
The stories the minstrels sang were On familiar themes; stories of well-known battles, of historic raids and captures and daring rescues, of the deeds of bold outlaws, of gallant lovers, and of that mysterious realm of magic that hung like a shimmer ing mist behind all the busy doings of mankind. Of these old ballads no one can say when any particular one was composed, or who was the author of it. One minstrel, hearing the song from another, would take a fancy to it and sing it again, inventing his own lines when his memory failed him, adding new verses according to his fancy, and perhaps giving the story a slightly different twist to suit his audience.