dainefemme: Fallow Doe of The Three Ravens Ballad
"To render 'fallow doe' literally presents three problems incapable of
solution: 1) How does the doe get past the knight's hounds?; 2) How does
the doe manage to "lift up his bloudy hed"?; 3) How does the doe manage
to fill the grave (if we assume it already dug)?
. . .
However, if we take 'fallow doe' as a metaphor for a woman
two new problems arise: 1) What is the significance of the epithet?; 2)
The tasks of getting the knight on her back and carrying him to a grave
require a strength which is inconguous with her attributes of tenderness
and loving concern. These problems strongly suggest the need of some
third alternative, and one is readily available; viz, this "fallow doe"
is a centaur-like woman, or to coin a word, a dainefemme(deerwoman),
presumably possessing nymph-like qualities."
From The Three Ravens Explicated.
The Three Ravens Lyrics (pdf)
The Three Ravens Lyrics (html)
The Three Ravens Explicated
1911 Encyclopedia Britannica
Hrolfs saga Kraka
Herculanum et Pompéi
Teutonic Mythology (Vol I, pp 430 - 433, wood-wives)
The Three Ravens Explicated (html/docx)
The Three Ravens - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Facts on File companion to British poetry before 1600
The New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature