cante fable

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A technical term for spoken prose narratives interspersed with short songs conveying crucial information (e.g. magical utterances, riddles, threats, etc.). English folktales often contain verses, but they are not sung; one of the few references to a true cante fable performance is by W. H. Jones, who noted in 1889 that he had recently heard a version of The Frog King from a storyteller in Holderness, who used ‘a traditional air’ (unspecified) for the frog's calls:Come bring me my supper,My own sweet, sweet one

andCome, let us go to bed,My own sweet, sweet one.(Philip, 1992: 95–6)

(Philip, 1992: 95–6)

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