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

The Stolen Bairn

Taken to live with the fairies, he was. It's best that you accept it. The S�dh are far more powerful than we mortals."

The lass was silent. Then she said, darkly, "If I cannot get back my bairn, I might as well lay down and die."

"No, child!" urged the old grandmother, tears welling in her eyes. "Perhaps there is a way..."

"What?" whispered the lass. "A spell?"

"Ah, if only it were that easy!" said the ancient gypsy grandmother. "The Sidh are a vain people who enjoy rare and beautiful things, but they have no art. If they see something exquisite, something very rare and extraordinary, they will want it, and if you have such an unusual item, perhaps you can bargain with them. But it would have to be something without equal anywhere in the world. And I'm afraid you would need two such treasures - one to gain entrance inside the S�dhean and another to bargain with for your babe.

The old woman sighed. "What's more, the time for you to obtain two treasures is short. If only you had 10 years! But in 10 days the people of the Sidh will gather together at the S�dhean from all corners of the earth to choose a new ruler for the next 100 years. Your baby is sure to be among them for the event. After that, who knows where your babe might be? And now," she said, "there is only more thing I can do for you."

The old gypsy grandmother laid one hand on the girl's head and cast a spell to protect her from fire and earth, wind and water. Unable to do anything more, they bid goodbye.

Uplifted by the notion that she might, after all, find her baby, the lass went on her way. Then suddenly, she felt as if she had struck her head on the cliffs once again - how could she, penniless as she was, ever obtain a rare and exotic treasure, much less two?

Her head spinning, she lay a hand on a tree to steady herself. What items do people speak of in wonder?

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