Childe Roland

The youngest brother of "fair burd Helen" in the old Scottish ballad. When his sister is carried off to Elfland by the fairies, he successfully undertakes a quest to bring her back. In this endeavor he is guided by Merlin.

"Childe" is an archaic word meaning a youth of noble birth. It was a title of honor, reserved for the noble youths who were candidates for knighthood.

The poem Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came, by Robert Browning, is not connected, other than first line, with the old ballad.



  • Cobham Brewer, E. (2001). The Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. Cassell reference.
  • Cooper, J.C., ed. (1997). Brewer's Book of Myth and Legend. Oxford: Helicon Publishing Ltd.