Hello Traveller, today I am going to be sharing with you a very old song from my region. It is called “The Ballad of Lord Halewijn” and it dates from the 1300s.
Several versions of the story of Halewijn exist. In all of them, Lord Halewijn (Halewyn) is either an evil man, a magician, a demon or a fairy lord who sings a magical song. Every woman (maiden) who hears this song is drawn towards him and goes to meet him in his forest, where he kills them.
A princess hears the song and is drawn into the forest to meet Lord Halewijn. In some versions she knows about his reputation but has a plan, in others, she is warned on her way by a white bird. She meets Halewijn and lets herself fall under his spell. Together they ride to a field of gallows where he declares his intention to kill her, but impressed by her beauty, he allows her to pick her own death. The princess chooses to be beheaded, but implores Halewijn to take off his shirt so her blood will not stain him.
Lord Halewijn lays off his sword and starts to undress, which was the princess’ plan all along. In some versions, while he is pulling his robe over his head, the cloth of the robe muffles the magical song. In other versions, as he pulls the robe over his head, he can no longer use his spellbinding gaze. Other versions have him turn his back to the princess while undressing. Whatever version however, while undressing, the princess awakens from his spell and cuts off the head of the now helpless Halewijn with a sword, either his own sword or one she brought with her.
The princess takes the head with her and triumphantly returns home. On her way back she meets Halewijn’s mother who asks her about her son. The princess then reveals to her Halewijn’s fate. In the kings castle, the head is shown all over and the tale ends with a great celebration.