The great silkie of Sule Skerry


An earthly nourris sits and sings
And as she sings, “Ba lily wean
Little ken I, my bairnie’s father
Far less the land that he steps in”

Then in steps he to her bed fit
And a grumlie guest I’m sure was he
Sang “Here am I, thy bairns father”
Although I be not comely

I am a man upon the land
And I am a silkie in the sea
And when I’m far and far from land
My home it is in Sule Skerry”

Then he has taken a purse of gold
And he has laid it on her knee
Saying, give to me, my little young son
And take me up thy nouriss-fee

It shall come to pass on a summer’s day
When the sun shines hot on every stone
That I shall take my little young son
And teach him how to swim the foam

And thou shalt marry a proud gunner
And a proud gunner I’m sure he’ll be
And the very first shot that e’er he’ll shoot
he’ll kill both my young son and me

Alas, Alas, the maiden cried
This weary fate’s been laid for me
And then she said and then she said
I’ll bury me in Sule Skerry

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