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Main > Scotland folktales > Fairy tale "The Stolen Bairn"

The Stolen Bairn

'TWAS an odd sight that greeted the eyes of two tall, dark, sharp-eared fairies from the S�dh. Under the bushes by the black cliffs they gazed upon a baby wrapped in its blankets mewing and cooing. Only his wee little face poked through, and not a soul nearby to claim him.

"I would like such a bairn," said one, arching her eyebrow.

"Aye," said the other, looking around. "No one else is here."

In an instant, the two women of the S�dh snatched up the bundle in their claw-like arms and vanished.

Minutes later, sailing by the black cliffs, two fishermen noticed a figure of a fallen woman on the rocks, her golden locks hanging low.

"'Tis a lass!" said one.

"Don't even think of stopping for the girl," said the other, turning the tiller away from the sharp, rocky cliffs. "Our boat will break to pieces!"

"But look - she's like a fallen angel," said the first. "We cannot go home & have our dinner knowing we left her behind!"

So the two fishermen carefully anchored their boat on high waters by the cliffs and climbed up the rocks to the lass.

"Think she's still with us?"

"Aye," said the other, "but we'd best get her back to the village right quick."

The women of the village nursed the stranger with tinctures of fern roots and violets steeped in whey. At last, the lass opened her eyes.

"My bairn," she murmured. "Where's my bairn?"

"Child," said an older woman, worriedly glancing at the other womenfolk. "You were found quite alone."

The lass sat up straight, surprising them all.

"Nay! I bundled my bairn good and safe by the path while I went to fetch him water. I must have tripped and fallen down the cliff! My bairn must still be there!"

The villagers quickly formed a search team and returned to the black cliffs.

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