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Main > Scotland folktales > Fairy tale "Elphin Irving"

Elphin Irving

The maiden touched the one, and kissed the other; they were as cold as snow; and her eyes, wide open, were fixed on her brother’s empty chair, with the intensity of gaze of one who had witnessed the appearance of a spirit. She seemed insensible of any one’s presence, and sat fixed and still and motionless. The maiden, alarmed at her looks, thus addressed her:—‘Phemie, lass, Phemie Irving! Dear me, but this be awful! I have come to tell ye that seven of your pet sheep have escaped drowning in the water; for Corrie, sae quiet and sae gentle yestreen, is rolling and dashing frae bank to bank this morning. Dear me, woman, dinna let the loss of the world’s gear bereave ye of your senses. I would rather make ye a present of a dozen mug-ewes of the Tinwald brood myself; and now I think on ’t, if ye’ll send over Elphin, I will help him hame with them in the gloaming myself. So, Phemie, woman, be comforted.’

“At the mention of her brother’s name she cried out, ‘Where is he? Oh, where is he?’ gazed wildly round, and, shuddering from head to foot, fell senseless on the floor. Other inhabitants of the valley, alarmed by the sudden swell of the river, which had augmented to a torrent, deep and impassable, now came in to inquire if any loss had been sustained, for numbers of sheep and teds of hay had been observed floating down about the dawn of the morning. They assisted in reclaiming the unhappy maiden from her swoon; but insensibility was joy compared to the sorrow to which she awakened. ‘They have ta’en him away, they have ta’en him away,’ she chanted, in a tone of delirious pathos; ‘him that was whiter and fairer than the lily on Lyddal Lee. They have long sought, and they have long sued, and they had the power to prevail against my prayers at last. They have ta’en him away; the flower is plucked from among the weeds, and the dove is slain amid a flock of ravens. They came with shout, and they came with song, and they spread the charm, and they placed the spell, and the baptised brow has been bowed down to the unbaptised hand.

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Gudbrand
Category: Scandinavian folktales
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