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

The Stolen Bairn

" The king arched one eyebrow. "My bairn!" she said. "Give me my bairn that was stolen by the S�dh after I left him in his blankets by the black cliffs. My bairn and the harp is yours!"

"Nonsense!" He was not anxious to let go of the chubby-cheeked infant, held deep in the woods. He ordered a few of the S�dh to bring gold, and they piled armfuls of the precious nuggets around the girl's ankles. "Surely," he sneered, "that's more than enough payment for a common harp."

"Ooch, I do not want your gold!" she cried. "My bairn! I want my bairn and naught else!"

He clicked his fingers, and more S�dh brought more armfuls of precious stones, this time of emeralds and rubies that heaped over the gold until a great pile of jewels rose to her waist.

Without looking once at the jewels she stared at the king and said with steely eyes, "My bairn! Give me my bairn and naught else!"

When he saw that she could not be moved, the king barked, "So take the brat - what do I care?"

"Give me the bairn first," said she, knowing full well that if she first let go of the harp she'd never see her baby again. "Then the harp."

The king clicked his fingers and before long the baby was brought to his side. At once the infant recognized its mother and reached out. The lass gripped the harp tightly, her chin up, and repeated: "Give me the bairn first."

So the baby was returned to its mother, and the lass gave the harp to the king. He struck a few chords and the purest and sweetest melody every heard in the S�dhean rang out. All the S�dh all gathered round, delighting in the talents of their new king and vigorously nodding their heads with admiration.

Clutching her baby, the lass turned from the king, quickened out of the S�dhean, and headed to the fisherfolk who had cared for her so tenderly. Overjoyed were they that she had returned to their village - and with her bairn no less!

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