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Main > Scotland folktales > Fairy tale "Elphin Irving"

Elphin Irving

THE FAIRIES’ CUPBEARER.

“The lady kilted her kirtle green

A little aboon her knee,

The lady snooded her yellow hair

A little aboon her bree,

And she’s gane to the good greenwood

As fast as she could hie.

And first she let the black steed pass,

And syne she let the brown,

And then she flew to the milk-white steed,

And pulled the rider down:

Syne out then sang the queen o’ the fairies,

Frae midst a bank of broom,

She that has won him, young Tamlane,

Has gotten a gallant groom.”

Old Ballad.

“The romantic vale of Corriewater, in Annandale, is regarded by the inhabitants, a pastoral and unmingled people, as the last border refuge of those beautiful and capricious beings, the fairies. Many old people yet living imagine they have had intercourse of good words and good deeds with the ‘good folk’; and continue to tell that in the ancient days the fairies danced on the hill, and revelled in the glen, and showed themselves, like the mysterious children of the deity of old, among the sons and daughters of men. Their visits to the earth were periods of joy and mirth to mankind, rather than of sorrow and apprehension. They played on musical instruments of wonderful sweetness and variety of note, spread unexpected feasts, the supernatural flavour of which overpowered on many occasions the religious scruples of the Presbyterian shepherds, performed wonderful deeds of horsemanship, and marched in midnight processions, when the sound of their elfin minstrelsy charmed youths and maidens into love for their persons and pursuits; and more than one family of Corriewater have the fame of augmenting the numbers of the elfin chivalry. Faces of friends and relatives, long since doomed to the battle-trench or the deep sea, have been recognised by those who dared to gaze on the fairy march. The maid has seen her lost lover, and the mother her stolen child; and the courage to plan and achieve their deliverance has been possessed by, at least, one border maiden.

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