The Flemish-Dutch ballad of lord Halewijn
was composed in the 13th century, the tale itself is much older and dates back to the Carolingian era, with roots in the pagan past.
A princess wants to meet lord Halewijn, who is famed for his entrancing songs and beautiful voice. She asks her family members for permission. Her father, mother and sister refuse because no young lady ever returned from paying a visit to Halewijn. But her brother says he doesn’t care where she goes as long as she exercises her rights as a princess and keeps her honour. Her brother’s approval is enough for her.
The princess, in some versions of the ballad named ‘Machteld’, straddles the best horse in her father’s stabble and ventures into the woods. She starts singing and draws Halewijn’s attention. They meet but it soon dawns on her that Halewijn is a serial rapist and killer who views her as his next victim. However, the princess succeeds in tricking him, chops off his head and travels back. She delivers Halewijn’s head on a plate during a banquet celebrating her return to her father’s castle.
Since the ballad of lord Halewijn describes him as only appearing to young ladies he’s assumed to be an ancient forrest spirit, a demon or a magician.
All the colour lithographs are the creations of Hendricus Jansen(1867-1921).