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The Stolen Bairn

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"What a fool," mumbled the S�dh, but she took the lass by the hand and together, they entered the S�dh. Once inside, the S�dh snatched the soft white cloak from the lass's shoulders, and the girl let it go with a smile. Glancing back, she saw the S�dh showing off the cloak and a crowd of other tall, dark fairies surrounding her, touching it, begging to be allowed to try it on, please, just once. But the lass headed straight forward, harp in hand, until she spied at the edge of the wood a high throne, and sitting upon it a tall, forbidding, sharp-eared creature, with his eyebrows deep cast into a frown, who must be the new king of the S�dh.

Fearlessly she approached the throne.

"You dare to approach the throne!" hissed the king. "How did you - a human! - get inside the S�dhean?"

The lass pointed to the S�dh who had admitted her. The white-cloaked S�dh turned and said, "Your Highness, she entered with me." The king frowned.

"And what have you there?" said he, nodding to the harp she clutched to her breast.

"'Tis my harp," said she.

"I have harps aplenty," shrugged the king.

"Not like this," said the lass, and she plucked a few chords, ringing notes so pure and transcendent that the king stared in wonder.

"You offer this as a gift for me, the new king of the S�dhean?"

"The harp might be a gift under the right circumstances," the lass said quickly. "It's not for sale for any usual price."

"It's naught but a common harp and you know it," shrugged the king. "You think too much of your little toy." Then he cunningly added, "but I could take it off your hands. What do you want for it?"

"The harp is beyond price," said the lass. "'Tis woven from my own golden hair and there's none like it in the world. There's only one trade of interest to me.

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