Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books

Fairies and Fairy Tales

Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books
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Fairy Songs & Poems
learn more about Fairies
Wizards Who Sang These Songs

The Fairies
by William Allingham
The Deer and the Vila
Russian Fairy Poem
The Hosting of the Sidhe
 Fairy Poem by Yeats
The Fairy Well of Lagnanay
Samuel Ferguson
The Fairy Thorn
by Samuel Ferguson
The Lepracaun
by William Allingham
Cusheen Loo
Irish Fairy Song
The Fairy Nurse
Poem by Edward Walsh
A Dream
Poem 
To The Nymphs
Greek Fairy Song
Finnish Prayers to the Fairies
Songs to Fairies
Extracts Vila Sagas
Songs to Fairies

by Thomas Moore

Poem about fairies

Fairy Poem

by Louisa May Alcott

by William Shakespeare

An analysis of Fairy Songs and Poems
There are two overarching categories of songs and poems about fairies; the first and the most important to understanding fairies are ancient songs and poems written as prayers and charms for humans to try to get the fairies to do something for them. Such songs are extremely important to our understanding of what people believed about them and humans relationship to them.  More

The Mountain Sprite
In younder valley there dwelt, alon,  // A youth, whose moments had calmly flown, // ‘Till spells came o’er him, and, day and night,  \\ He was haunted and watch’d by a Mountain Sprite. // As once, by moonlight, he wander’d o’er // The GOlden sands of that island shore; // A foot-print sparkled before his sight-
‘Twas the fairy foot of the Mountain Sprit! 
More

The Fairies
Up the airy mountain, //   Down the rushy glen, //  We daren't go a-hunting //    For fear of little men; //   Wee folk, good folk, //    Trooping all together; //  Green jacket, red cap, //    And white owl's feather!
Down along the rocky shore 
//    Some make their home, //  They live on crispy pancakes //    Of yellow tide-foam; //  Some in the reeds More

Finnish Fairy Songs & Prayers
Kinsman of Hiisi! rise, awake, // thou mountain haltia, to show a man the path, // to point to a full-grown man the place where booty is to be obtained, // treasures can be opened up before a man who is making search, // a fellow creeping on his knees.
(Note: Hiisi are a nature spirit) 
More


The Fairy Song
By William Shakespeare

Over hill, over dale,
Thorough bush, thorough brier,
Over park, over pale,
Thorough flood, thorough fire!
I do wander everywhere,
Swifter than the moon's sphere;
And I serve the Fairy Queen,
To dew her orbs upon the green;
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;
In their gold coats spots you see;
Those be rubies, fairy favours;
In those freckles live their savours;
I must go seek some dewdrops here,
And hang a pearl in every cowslip's ear



FAIRY SONG
by Louisa May Alcott

THE moonlight fades from flower and tree,
And the stars dim one by one;
The tale is told, the song is sung,
And the Fairy feast is done.
The night-wind rocks the sleeping flowers,
And sings to them, soft and low.
The early birds erelong will wake:
'Tis time for the Elves to go.
 
O'er the sleeping earth we silently pass,
Unseen by mortal eye,
And send sweet dreams, as we lightly float
Through the quiet moonlit sky;--
For the stars' soft eyes alone may see,
And the flowers alone may know,
The feasts we hold, the tales we tell:
So 'tis time for the Elves to go.
 
From bird, and blossom, and bee,
We learn the lessons they teach;
And seek, by kindly deeds, to win
A loving friend in each.
And though unseen on earth we dwell,
Sweet voices whisper low,
And gentle hearts most joyously greet
The Elves where'er they go.
 
When next we meet in the Fairy dell,
May the silver moon's soft light
Shine then on faces gay as now,
And Elfin hearts as light.
Now spread each wing, for the eastern sky
With sunlight soon will glow.
The morning star shall light us home:
Farewell! for the Elves must go.



The Mountain Sprite
by Thomas Moore

In younder valley there dwelt, alon, 
A youth, whose moments had calmly flown,
‘Till spells came o’er him, and, day and night, 
He was haunted and watch’d by a Mountain Sprite.

As once, by moonlight, he wander’d o’er
The GOlden sands of that island shore;
A foot-print sparkled before his sight-
‘Twas the fairy foot of the Mountain Sprit!

Beside a fountain, one summer day,
As bending over the stream he lay,
There peeped down o’er him two eyes of light ,
And he saw in that mirror the Mountain Sprite.

He turn’d, but, lo! like a startled bird,
That sprite fled!- and the youth but heard
Sweet music, such as marks the flight
of some bird of song, from the Mountain Sprite.

One night, still haunted by that bright look,
The boy, bewilder’d, his pincil took;
And guided only by memory’s light,
Drew the once-seen from of the Mountain Sprite.

“Oh, thou, who lovest, the shadow,” cried 
A voice, low whispering by his side,
“Now turn and see”- Here the youth’s delight
Seal’d the rosy lips of the Mountain Sprite.

“Of all the sprites of land and sea,”
Then rapt he murmur’d, “there’s non like thee;
And oft, o oft, may thy foot thus light
In this lonely bower, sweet Mountain Sprite!”




THE FAIRIES
by William Allingham

Up the airy mountain,
  Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
  For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
  Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
  And white owl's feather!
Down along the rocky shore
  Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
  Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
  Of the black mountain lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
  All night awake.
High on the hill-top
  The old King sits;
He is now so old and grey
  He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
  Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
  From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music
  On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen
  Of the gay Northern Lights.
They stole little Bridget
  For seven years long;
When she came down again
  Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back,
  Between the night and morrow,
They thought that she was fast asleep,
  But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
  Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag-leaves,
  Watching till she wake.
By the craggy hill-side,
  Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn-trees
  For pleasure here and there. 
Is any man so daring
  As dig them up in spite,
He shall find their sharpest thorns
  In his bed at night.
Up the airy mountain,
  Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting
  For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
  Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
  And white owl's feather!



DEER AND VILA
 
A YOUNG deer track'd his way through the lone forest
One lonely day--another came in sadness--
And the third dawn'd, and brought him sighs and sorrow;
Then he address'd him to the forest Vila:
"Young deer" she said, "thou wild one of the forest!
Now tell me what great sorrow has oppress'd thee;
Why wanderest thou thus in the forest lonely:
Lonely one day--another day in sadness--
And the third day with sighs and anguish groaning?"
And thus the young deer to the Vila answered:
"O thou sweet sister! Vila of the forest!
Me has indeed a heavy grief befallen;
For I once had a fawn, mine own beloved,
And one sad day she sought the running water;
She enter'd it, but came not back to bless me.
Then, tell me, has she lost her way and. wander'd?
Was she pursued and captured by the huntsman?
Or has she left me?--has she wholly left me--
Loving some other deer--and I forgotten?
Oh, if she has but lost her way, and wanders,
Teach her to find it--bring her back to love me!
Oh, if she has been captured by the huntsman,
Then may a fate as sad as mine await him!
But if she has forsaken me--if, faithless,
She loves another deer and I forgotten--
Then may the huntsman speedily o' ertake her." [a]
We have already observed how almost all nations compare female beauty to that of the beings of their legendary creed. With the Servians the object of comparison is the lovely Vila. "She is fairer than the mountain-Vila," is the highest praise of woman's beauty. In the ballad of The Sister of the Kapitan Leka, it is said of the heroine Rossandra, that in no country, either Turkey, or the land of the Kauran, or Jewrs, was her fellow to be found. No white Bula (Mohammedan), no Vlachin (Greek), no slender Latiness (Roman Catholic), could compare with her,
And who on the hills hath seen the Vila--
E'en the Vila, brother, must to her yield.
The swiftness of the Vila also affords a subject of comparison: a fleet horse is said to be "Vilaish" or "swift as a Vita."



THE FAIRY WELL OF LAGNANAY
BY SAMUEL FERGUSON.

Mournfully, sing mournfully-
  "O listen, Ellen, sister dear:
Is there no help at all for me,
  But only ceaseless sigh and tear?
  Why did not he who left me here, 
With stolen hope steal memory?
  O listen, Ellen, sister dear,
(Mournfully, sing mournfully)--
  I'll go away to Sleamish hill,
I'll pluck the fairy hawthorn-tree,
  And let the spirits work their will;
I care not if for good or ill,
  So they but lay the memory
Which all my heart is haunting still!
  (Mournfully, sing mournfully)--
The Fairies are a silent race,
  And pale as lily flowers to see;
I care not for a blanched face,
  For wandering in a dreaming place,
  So I but banish memory:--
I wish I were with Anna Grace!
  Mournfully, sing mournfully!
Hearken to my tale of woe--
  'Twas thus to weeping Ellen Con,
Her sister said in accents low,
  Her only sister, Una bawn:
  'Twas in their bed before the dawn,
And Ellen answered sad and slow,--
  "Oh Una, Una, be not drawn
(Hearken to my tale of woe)--
  To this unholy grief I pray,
Which makes me sick at heart to know,
  And I will help you if I may:
--The Fairy Well of Lagnanay--
  Lie nearer me, I tremble so,--
Una, I've heard wise women say
  (Hearken to my tale of woe)--
That if before the dews arise,
  True maiden in its icy flow
With pure hand bathe her bosom thrice,
  Three lady-brackens pluck likewise, 
And three times round the fountain go,
  She straight forgets her tears and sighs."
Hearken to my tale of woe!
All, alas! and well-away!
  "Oh, sister Ellen, sister sweet,
Come with me to the hill I pray,
  And I will prove that blessed freet!"
  They rose with soft and silent feet,
They left their mother where she lay,
  Their mother and her care discreet,
(All, alas and well-away!)
  And soon they reached the Fairy Well,
The mountain's eye, clear, cold and grey,
  Wide open in the dreary fell:
How long they stood 'twere vain to tell,
  At last upon the point of day,
Bawn Una bares her bosom's swell,
  (All, alas and well-away!)
Thrice o'er her shrinking breasts she laves
  The gliding glance that will not stay
Of subtly-streaming fairy waves:--
  And now the charm three brackens craves,
She plucks them in their fring'd array:--
  Now round the well her fate she braves,
All, alas! and well-away!
Save us all from Fairy thrall!
  Ellen sees her face the rim
Twice and thrice, and that is all--
  Fount and hill and maiden swim
  All together melting dim!
"Una! Una!" thou may'st call,
  Sister sad! but lith or limb
(Save us all from Fairy thrall! )
  Never again of Una bawn, 
Where now she walks in dreamy hall,
  Shall eye of mortal look upon!
  Oh! can it be the guard was gone,
The better guard than shield or wall?
  Who knows on earth save Jurlagh Daune?
(Save us all from Fairy thrall! )
  Behold the banks are green and bare,
No pit is here wherein to fall:
  Aye--at the fount you well may stare,
  But nought save pebbles smooth is there,
And small straws twirling one and all.
  Hie thee home, and be thy pray'r,
Save us all from Fairy thrall.




THE FAIRY THORN
An Ulster Ballad.
SIR SAMUEL FERGUSON.


"GET up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning-wheel;
  For your father's on the hill, and your mother is asleep;
Come up above the crags, and we'll dance a highland-reel
  Around the fairy thorn on the steep."
At Anna Grace's door 'twas thus the maidens cried,
  Three merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green;
And Anna laid the rock and the weary wheel aside,
  The fairest of the four, I ween.
They're glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve,
  Away in milky wavings of neck and ankle bare;
The heavy-sliding stream in its sleepy song they leave,
  And the crags in the ghostly air:
And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go,
  The maids along the hill-side have ta'en their fearless way,
Till they come to where the rowan trees in lonely beauty grow
  Beside the Fairy Hawthorn grey.
p. 39
The Hawthorn stands between the ashes tall and slim,
  Like matron with her twin grand-daughters at her knee;
The rowan berries cluster o'er her low head grey and dim
  In ruddy kisses sweet to see.
The merry maidens four have ranged them in a row,
  Between each lovely couple a stately rowan stem,
And away in mazes wavy, like skimming birds they go,
  Oh, never caroll'd bird like them!
But solemn is the silence of the silvery haze
  That drinks away their voices in echoless repose,
And dreamily the evening has still'd the haunted braes,
  And dreamier the gloaming grows.
And sinking one by one, like lark-notes from the sky
  When the falcon's shadow saileth across the open shaw,
Are hush'd the maiden's voices, as cowering down they he
  In the flutter of their sudden awe.
For, from the air above, the grassy ground beneath,
  And from the mountain-ashes and the old Whitethorn between,
A Power of faint enchantment doth through their beings breathe,
  And they sink down together on the green.
They sink together silent, and stealing side by side,
  They fling their lovely arms o'er their drooping necks so fair,
Then vainly strive again their naked arms to hide,
  For their shrinking necks again are bare.
Thus clasp'd and prostrate all, with their heads together bow'd,
  Soft o'er their bosom's beating--the only human sound--
They hear the silky footsteps of the silent fairy crowd,
  Like a river in the air, gliding round.
p. 40
No scream can any raise, no prayer can any say,
  But wild, wild, the terror of the speechless three--
For they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silently away,
  By whom they dare not look to see.
They feel their tresses twine with her parting locks of gold
  And the curls elastic falling as her head withdraws;
They feel her sliding arms from their tranced arms unfold,
  But they may not look to see the cause:
For heavy on their senses the faint enchantment lies
  Through all that night of anguish and perilous amaze;
And neither fear nor wonder can ope their quivering eyes,
  Or their limbs from the cold ground raise,
Till out of night the earth has roll'd her dewy side,
  With every haunted mountain and streamy vale below;
When, as the mist dissolves in the yellow morning tide,
  The maidens' trance dissolveth go.
Then fly the ghastly three as swiftly as they may,
  And tell their tale of sorrow to anxious friends in vain--
They pined away and died within the year and day,
  And ne'er was Anna Grace seen again.




CUSHEEN LOO.
Translated from the Irish by J. J. Callanan
[This song is supposed to have been sung by a young bride, who was forcibly detained in one of those forts which are so common in Ireland, and to which the good people are very fond of resorting. Under pretence of hushing her child to rest, she retired to the outside margin of the fort, and addressed the burthen of her song to a young woman whom she saw at a short distance, and whom she requested to inform her husband of her condition, and to desire him to bring the steel knife to dissolve the enchantment.]


SLEEP, my child! for the rustling trees,
Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze,
And fairy songs of sweetest note,
Around us gently float.
Sleep! for the weeping flowers have shed
Their fragrant tears upon thy head,
The voice of love hath sooth'd thy rest,
And thy pillow is a mother's breast.
                         Sleep, my child!
Weary hath pass'd the time forlorn,
Since to your mansion I was borne,
Tho' bright the feast of its airy halls,
And the voice of mirth resounds from its walls.
                         Sleep, my child!
Full many a maid and blooming bride
Within that splendid dome abide,
And many a hoar and shrivell'd sage,
And many a matron bow'd with age.
                         Sleep, my child!
Oh! thou who hearest this song of fear,
To the mourner's home these tidings bear.
Bid him bring the knife of the magic blade,
At whose lightning-flash the charm will fade.
                         Sleep, my child!
Haste! for tomorrow's sun will see
The hateful spell renewed for me;
Nor can I from that home depart,
Till life shall leave my withering heart.
                         Sleep, my child!
Sleep, my child! for the rustling trees,
Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze.
And fairy songs of sweetest note,
Around us gently float.




THE LEPRACAUN; OR FAIRY SHOEMAKER
WILLIAM ALLINGHAM

Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
  Up on the lonely rath's green mound?
Only the plaintive yellow bird 1
  Sighing in sultry fields around,
Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee!--
Only the grasshopper and the bee?-- p. 82
    "Tip-tap, rip-rap,
    Tick-a-tack-too!
  Scarlet leather, sewn together,
    This will make a shoe.
  Left, right, pull it tight;
    Summer days are warm;
  Underground in winter,
    Laughing at the storm!
Lay your ear close to the hill.
Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
Busy click of an elfin hammer,
Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
  As he merrily plies his trade?
    He's a span
      And a quarter in height.
Get him in sight, hold him tight,
      And you're a made
        Man!

You watch your cattle the summer day,
Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
  How would you like to roll in your carriage.
  Look for a duchess's daughter in marriage?
Seize the Shoemaker--then you may!
    "Big boots a-hunting,
    Sandals in the hall,
  White for a wedding-feast,
    Pink for a ball.
  This way, that way,
    So we make a shoe;
  Getting rich every stitch,
    Tick-tack-too!"
Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks
This keen miser-fairy hath,
Hid in mountains, woods, and rocks,
Ruin and round-tow'r, cave and rath,
  And where the cormorants build; p. 83
    From times of old
    Guarded by him;
    Each of them fill'd
    Full to the brim
      With gold!

I caught him at work one day, myself,
  In the castle-ditch, where foxglove grows,--
A wrinkled, wizen'd and bearded Elf,
  Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
  Silver buckles to his hose,
  Leather apron-shot in his lap--
      "Rip-rap, tip-tap,
      Tick-tack-too!
    (A grasshopper on my cap!
       Away the moth flew!)
    Buskins for a fairy prince,
      Brogues for his son,--
    Pay me well, pay me well,
      When the job is done! "
The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
I stared at him; he stared at me;
"Servant, Sir!" "Humph!" says he,
  And pull'd a snuff-box out.
He took a long pinch, look'd better pleased,
  The queer little Lepracaun;
Offer'd the box with a whimsical grace,-
Pouf! he flung the dust in my face,
    And, while I sneezed,
      Was gone!





THE FAIRY NURSE.
BY EDWARD WALSH

Sweet babe! a golden cradle holds thee,
And soft the snow-white fleece enfolds thee;
In airy bower I'll watch thy sleeping,
Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
When mothers languish broken-hearted,
When young wives are from husbands parted,
Ah! little think the keeners lonely,
They weep some time-worn fairy only.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
Within our magic halls of brightness,
Trips many a foot of snowy whiteness;
Stolen maidens, queens of fairy--
And kings and chiefs a sluagh-shee airy,
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
Rest thee, babe! I love thee dearly,
And as thy mortal mother nearly;
Ours is the swiftest steed and proudest,
That moves where the tramp of the host is loudest.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
Rest thee, babe! for soon thy slumbers
Shall flee at the magic koelshie's 1 numbers;
In airy bower I'll watch thy sleeping,
Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!
 




A DREAM.
WILLIAM ALLINGHAM.

I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night;
I went to the window to see the sight;
All the Dead that ever I knew
Going one by one and two by two.
On they pass'd, and on they pass'd;
Townsfellows all, from first to last;
Born in the moonlight of the lane,
Quench'd in the heavy shadow again.
Schoolmates, marching as when we play'd
At soldiers once--but now more staid;
Those were the strangest sight to me
Who were drown'd, I knew, in the awful sea.
Straight and handsome folk; bent and weak, too;
Some that I loved, and gasp'd to speak to;
Some but a day in their churchyard bed;
Some that I had not known were dead.
A long, long crowd--where each seem'd lonely,
Yet of them all there was one, one only,
Raised a head or look'd my way.
She linger'd a moment,--she might not stay.
How long since I saw that fair pale face!
Ah! Mother dear! might I only place
My head on thy breast, a moment to rest,
While thy hand on my tearful cheek were prest!
On, on, a moving bridge they made
Across the moon-stream, from shade to shade,
Young and old, women and men;
Many long-forgot, but remember'd then.
And first there came a bitter laughter;
A sound of tears the moment after;
And then a music so lofty and gay,
That every morning, day by day,
I strive to recall it if I may.




The Hosting of the Sidhe


THE host is riding from Knocknarea
And over the grave of Clooth-na bare;
Caolte tossing his burning hair
And Niamh calling Away, come away:
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are agleam,
Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart.
The host is rushing ’twixt night and day,
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling Away, come away.


TO THE NYMPHS

NYMPHS, who from Ocean's stream derive your birth,
Who dwell in liquid caverns of the earth
Nurses of Bacchus secret-coursing pow'r,
Who fruits sustain, and nourish ev'ry flow'r:
Earthly, rejoicing, who in meadows dwell, 5

And caves and dens, whose depths extend to hell:
Holy, oblique, who swiftly soar thro' air,
Fountains and dews, and mazy streams your care:
Seen and unseen, who joy with wand'rings wide
And gentle course, thro' flow'ry vales to glide; 10

With Pan exulting on the mountains height,
Loud-founding, mad, whom rocks and woods delight:
Nymphs od'rous, rob'd in white, whose streams exhale
The breeze refreshing, and the balmy gale;
With goats and pastures pleas'd, and beasts of prey, 15

Nurses of fruits, unconscious of decay:
In cold rejoicing, and to cattle kind,
Sportive thro' ocean wand'ring unconfin'd:
Nysian, fanatic Nymphs, whom oaks delight,
Lovers of Spring, Pæonian virgins bright. 20

With Bacchus, and with Ceres, hear my pray'r.
And to mankind abundant favour bear;
Propitious listen to your suppliants voice,
Come, and benignant in these rites rejoice;
Give plenteous Seasons, and sufficient wealth, 25

And pour; in lasting streams, continued Health.


Finnish Prayers to Fairies

TREASURE-SEEKING.
Kinsman of Hiisi! rise, awake, 
thou mountain haltia, to show a man the path, 
to point to a full-grown man the place where booty is to be obtained,
treasures can be opened up before a man who is making search, 
a fellow creeping on his knees.


AGAINST ELF-SHOTS.
From the earth rise, Ghostly Shade (manalainen),
like a horror, hairless one, like a hideous fright, 
clod-headed. one, approach to take away thy blast, 
to take possession of thine own; the injury thou dost, 
force down into Tuoni's turf, to the end of the hut of Manala, 
not into a human being's skin or into a creature's (kave) hide.


AGAINST WASPS.
O Siilikki [v. Huijutar], woods’ daughter-in-law, 
pray discipline thy wee 'winged bird,' 
hide away thy 'feathered chick,' 
bind up its wings, confine its claws, 
to prevent it stabbing with its pike, 
to prevent it sharpening its steel. Kuutar, 
conceal thy children now, hide, Päivätär, 
thy family, and follow not a wizard's wish, 
don't be made jealous by jealous folk.


For Fishing
O water's mistress, Vellamo, water's old wife with reedy breast, 
come here to exchange thy shirt, to change thy clothes. 
On thee is a shirt of reeds, on thee is a sea-foam cloak, 
made by the daughter of the wind, the gift of Aallotar; 
I give thee a linen shirt, of linen entirely made, 
by Kuutar woven and spun by Päivätär [v. Kaunotar].


For Cattle
Forest Nikki [v. Hitsi], forest Nikki [v. Hätsi], 
of the forest the golden king, grey-bearded and with a mossy cap! 
thou kindly mistress of the woods, fair woman of woods’ 
winding ways from the deep forest-dell arise, 
awake from thy pine-bough bed, to my beasts give peace, to the hoof-footed ones—repose, 
full freedom to the calves, to the shepherd the best control. 
Take care of the weaker kine, the weaker ones, 
the smaller ones, lest they should come to grief, 
should stumble into shame; let Kirjo range o’er wooded wilds, 
along the 'yard of God,' along the ground of Mary dear; 
while the evening bath is being prepared,
drive thou my cattle home rejoicing to the great court-yards before conclusion of the day, 
before the setting of the sun.


O Katrinatar, woman fair, the girl of night, 
the maid of dusk, pray take five serving-girls, 
six who obey command, to watch my herd, to tend my kine, 
that the herd may freely rove, that the 'small hoofs' shall not fear, 
that the calves sha’n’t be alarmed, that the cold weather sha’n’t scatter them. 
May a wolf bar up his mouth, may the tooth of a bear be broken off from summer night to winter night. 
But if it pay no heed to that, construct an iron fence, 
erect a fence with stakes of steel round my live stock, 
on either side of my herd of kine. Cause the fence to reach from the earth, 
from the earth as far as the sky, that the son of a toad can't injure them, 
a 'forest cur' can't injure them this summer of Jesus, this important summer-time of God.


To Silence a dog
Field maiden, farmyard girl! O golden king of earth, here where they need thee, come from the field with thy family to close the mouth of a dog, to plug the nozzle of a whelp. Bind silk across its eyes, tie a bandage round its ears, a mushroom up one nostril thrust, an apple up the other one, lest it should scent the breath of man, perceive the smell of a full-grown man, lest it should hear a passerby, lest it should see a wanderer.


When Sowing 
O Etelätär, youthful maid, the boisterous, 
the jolly girl, just cause a honeyed cloud to rise in the honeyed sky; 
from the west despatch a cloud, from the south let one arrive, 
lead water from the sky, rain honey, liquid honey
down on the growing shoots of corn, on the rustling growing crops.


Catch Birds
Lord of the wooded wilds, the island's oldest man, 
old man of 'feathers' with rumpled beard! 
O kindly mistress of Metsola, O Hollow Fir, 2 old wife of down! 
bring a 'feather' from the genial land, send a 'downy feather' 
from the west to jerk my honeyed snares, 
to spring my honeyed nooses set on a honeyed knoll in the luscious wooded wilds. 
From the copse take a switch, from the scrub a
copperheaded one, from the coppice chase the birds and 
drive them from the abandoned fields to flutter with a whirring sound, 
till for their wings there is no place. May the twigs sink down as the birds 
approach these trapping grounds, these passages 1 that must be trod. 
Bind round their mouths with silk, twist their heads awry, 
lest they damage my flaxen noose, lest they destroy my hempen snares.


Laaus, the master of Pohjola! grant me to take a full-grown bird 2 from these clean sticks, from the whitened twigs, 3 as a present for the folk at home. I'll give thee thanks for it, I'll bow before the famous man, for it extol thy worthiness, if thou wilt give a full-grown bird 2 as a present for the folk at home.



When Hunting
O Grove, be kind! be friendly, Wilderness! 
O blue Backwoods, be amiable! that I may ramble through the woods, may jostle through the wooded wilds. Forest, be friendly to my men! Backwoods, be kindly to my dogs! be appeased by these peace-offerings, by these inducements be mollified, with which the Creator was appeased, the Omnipotent was mollified. Marry our men, introduce our full-grown men to the pleasant daughters of the woods, to the downy-breasted chicks. The eyelashes of other men are not more smooth, nor the eyebrows more magnificent than those that our men have. The gait of other men, the silken ribbons on their socks, the silver laces to their breeks are not more elegant. The bows of other men are not formed out of gold, nor of silver are their narrow skates, nor of copper are their skating staffs.
The hunting dogs of other men are not more dear (F. golden), more dear or more renowned, than those that our men have.


Old man of the forest with light grey beard, of the forest the golden king! O forest-mistress, Mielikki! Miiritär, forest-daughter-in-law! mount up on a sloping birch, ascend a bent-down alder-tree, to listen to my songs, whether my songs are suitable. Gird the forests with a sword, place a glaive in the backwoods’ hand, clothe the forest in homespun cloth, dress in German linen the wooded wilds, array in coats the aspen-trees, the alder-trees in lovely clothes, with silver adorn the firs, deck the pines with gold, put flowers on the heads of the pines, and silver on the heads of firs, gird round old pines with copper belts, the firs with silver belts. Clothe them as in the days of old, in thy periods for giving gifts, on my days for seeking game, and at the times I went to shoot. When to the forest I had gone, had attained the far backwoods, had ascended to the wilderness, had arrived on a mountain top, the aspens were in silver belts, the birches decked with golden flowers, pine branches glistened like the moon, the spreading fir-tops like the sun, like the moon the famous lad shone forth, like the sun—the doughty full-grown man.


Old man of the knoll with golden breast, with a hat of twigs, with a mossy cap! O forest-mistress, Mielikki! O Tapio's daughter, Tellervo [v. Annikki], the forest-daughter, the kindly maid, the tiny little forest lass I blue-mantled old wife of the copse I red-stockinged mistress of the swamp! O lovely being of the heath! show me the path, open the door, proceed to indicate the path, to give instructions for the way, to set up posts along the road and landmarks make. O son of Tapio, Nyyrikki, spruce fellow with a tall red cap, cut marks along the country side, establish landmarks on the hills, that I, though stupid, can find the way, I, though a stranger, can repair to the hunting-grounds of other men, to special woods of full-grown men. Make a slow-footed man to scud, by the breast of his jacket lug him on, by the hole of his snow-skate shove him on, lead him by the ferule of his staff across morasses, across firm land, across the backwoods of Pohjola; conduct him to a wooded isle, transport him to the knoll where 'gold' will afford him sport, 'silver' will make him glad, where pines have flowers on their heads, the firs have silver on their heads, birches have golden earrings on, alders are dressed in lovely clothes, the aspen-trees—in pale grey stuff, the heather flowers—in gold.



O forest-mistress, Mielikki, famed 'golden buckle of the woods,' pray come along to give a hand, to stretch thy right hand forth on these my days for seeking game, at the times I go to hunt. Take the golden keys from the ring at thy side, step to the storehouse on the hill, into the cellar lightly trip, open quickly Tapio's magazine, disturb the forest-tower, set free the gold to move about, the 'silver' to wander forth towards a white man, the colour wholly of the birch. 1 But pray be on thy guard that the quicker ones don't slip away, for tardy I am at snowshoeing, am slow at shoving along.



O forest-mistress, Mielikki, the mother with a lovely face, get ready my reserve, make my allotted share leap up in the blue backwoods, at the centre of the 'golden' knoll. Open quickly the honeyed chest, disturb the honeyed box, set free a drove to run about, a file of animals to skip before the man in search of them, at the steps of him that craves.
If thou thyself be disinclined, then send thy serving-maids, direct thy thralls, command the obeyers of commands. Thou art no mistress, so to speak, if thou keepest no serving-maids, keepst not a hundred serving-maids, a thousand that obey commands, that keep watch over all the herd, that tend the forest animals, that regulate the lengthy flock and guide the great string of animals. I keep a single serving-lass that is in her movements brisk, is energetic at her work and open-handed with her gifts.



King 1 of the forest, Kuuritar, that maketh hoofs, that bendeth paws, open thy 'money' magazine, unbolt thy store, set free a drove to run about, a file of animals to skip; let a 'golden fur-coat' issue forth, a homespun cloth' come trotting down along the silver path, along the copper track from the wild creature's place of birth, from the rearing-ground of 'precious pelts' (F. money hair), to the places where I set my gins, to the passages that must be trod. Whoe’er is quick at galloping, keep in check with reins, with a bit keep straight, whoe’er's not quick at galloping, strike with a switch to quicken him, with a rope's end give a thwack, with a cock's beak tickle him, and prod him with a golden spur.



O Ukko, the golden king, the silver governor, take a golden club or a copper hammer from the end of a silver spar, from the head of a copper nail, and with it beat the wilderness, bang the gloomy wooded wilds, that into squirrels pine branches turn, into otters—densely wooded wilds. Good is a beaten wilderness, and gloomy wooded wilds well banged, so that a dog can run ahead, a whelp can work aright.



Old Ukko with the rumpled beard, O hollow fir with fir-twig hat, pray come and beat the wilderness, make its edges shake on a summer night, the first afternoon. Belabour, Ukko, a young tree, make stumps resound with thuds, with a fiery sword, with a golden club. Drive out the creatures to the edge, to the openest abandoned fields, from the end of every jutting point, from the corner of each wilderness, on my days for seeking game, at my periods for setting traps.



Give me, Ukko, of thy 'ewes,' of thine own 'rams,' bring forth thy 'gold,' all thy 'drooping ears.' Bring them without a fear, without suspicion let them rove; those that are resting in the grove, that are reposing under boughs, that are sleeping on a knoll, are paddling the bottom of a brook, send in threes from the forest vales, in fives and sixes from the glades along the golden cattle-roads, along the silver paths, where the bridges are laid with silk, bridges with silk, with velvet—swamps, wet spots with homespun cloth, with Silesian linen—dirty spots, with linen from Germany, with a fringe of homespun stuff.



O Tapio's daughter, Annikki [v. Tyytikki], the tiny little forest-lass with down-like shirt, with a fine spun shirt, the woman of complexion fair, with shouts awake the forest-king, arouse the backwoods’ haltia, to give me of his precious ones, his animals (F. hoofs) of every hue; play a tune on a honeyed pipe, pipe on a delicious pipe into the comely mistress's ear, the gracious mistress of the woods, so that she speedily shall hear, shall arise from sleep, since she won't listen in the least, not even rarely will awake, although I beg incessantly, keep murmuring with a golden tongue.
Lass Annikki that keeps the keys! Eva, the tiny little serving-maid! advance to the magazine with the delightful mistress's leave; fling open the magazine of gifts, the lock-less doorway of the loft. Thou art no lass at all, no lassie of the keys indeed, unless thou open the magazine, and, having opened it, give forth some greater and some smaller game, some of every sort of hue. Twist a ruddy thread on thy ruddy cheek, and draw it across the stream, across the stream of Pohjola, for the animals to run upon, for the 'money-pelts' to skip along in front of the man in search of them, before the steps of the man that walks.




O forest-daughter, delightful girl, O Tapio's daughter, Tuulikki, chase the wild creatures out to run from the forest-castle slopes, make them to scamper, make them scud for my good luck. When the wild creatures reach the track, hurry them on along the track, place thy two palms as a fence on either side, lest the wild creatures dash away, the forest-herd should bounce aside, or on a by-path should diverge. When they look over it, then raise the fence; when they look down, then lower down the fence; when the animals don't move, then leave the fence as it is; if the wild creatures dash away, or on a by-path should diverge, lift them up on the path by the ears, bring them back on the track by the horns. If a fallen tree oppose their course, shove it aside; if trees lie across the path, smash them in half; if a fence oppose itself, prostrate the fence; if a river chance to be in front, a rivulet—across the path, cast down thy silk to be a bridge, as a foot-bridge—scarlet cloth, along which the drove can run, for a path for them to go across. Bring them across the shallow sounds, over the waters draw them on, as a sail employ a tail, or use a pizzle as a sail.



O Tapio's daughter, Tuulikki, the famous beauty of the woods, O Pihlajatar, little lass, short daughter, Tuometar, O kindly mistress, Hongatar, fair wife of the forest-environs, from a spinny take a switch, a fir-branch from a clump of firs, chase the wild creatures out to run before a miserable lad. If in this direction none appear, pray seek them further off, from Lapland's gloomy wooded wilds, from the utmost border of the north, from under Kuha-vuori's top, from Kuusivaara's peak, from near lake Imantra, from the boundary land of the Turja Fell; more sloping is the country here, more flowing are the waters here; here in a straight line pathways stretch, here gates fall down.



O lively woman, Vitsäri, O Tapio's daughter, Tellervo, take a whip of mountain ash, a cattle-scourge of juniper from the rear of Tapio's hill, from Tuomi-vaara's further side, and with it drive the timorous, hurry along the younger ones. Whichever is slow to run, at starting is a lazy one, quicken up with a switch, drive with shouts, with a crack of the lash, so that the switch shall whiz, the willow-top shall make a crash; give a swipe across the sides, or across the withers strike, at the forehead aim no blow, don't thwack upon the skull. Old wife of the forest with lovely hair, 'Gold hair-plait' of a hundred woods! O honeyed maiden of Metsola, old man of the forest with flowing beard! old wife of Tapio, Nyrkytär! and forest-Tapio himself! O son of Tapio, Pinneys, don't hold them back, don't hold them fast: Christ christened thee, thee the Omnipotent baptized in the middle of the forest-field, to tend the forest animals. Fetch me some forest-ale, that I may forest-honey drink; in the forest much ale is found, in the forest is honey sweet, myself have seen it to be true, when as a young man I was there. Send forth the droves to run, the forest animals to rush, without suspicion let them come, without precaution—bound along before the man in search of them, up to the steps of him that begs. O Pohja's open-handed [v. blue-mantled] wife, Laaus, the master of Pohjola! O Sinisirkku, Pohja's maid, O Pohja's daughter, Pohja's son, O kindly mistress, Hyypiö, distinguished woman, Varvutar! stir up thine animals, frighten away thy herd from sleeping in the woods, from slumbering under boughs of fir, reposing in the leafy grove, from snoozing on the sward; induce thy droves to run, the forest animals to bolt, cause the elks to scud along, grand reindeer to hurry up, their legs to take a sudden spring, their hoofs to move with rapidity to my spots for catching animals, to these passes where I look for game. In profusion let them come and hurry with speedy foot, along morasses, over lands, along long streams, through the forest dense, across the thinly wooded wilds, across the leafy wooded hills, across the lofty mountains too; then when they hither have arrived, when they have reached their journey's end, do thou, Mist-maiden, maid of Fog, the 'Leaf-bud,' 'Ship-borne Yarn' [v. O Tapio's daughter, Luonnotar], 1 with a sieve sift mist, keep scattering fog before the wild creature's face, when nine paces off, rub fog upon its eyes, let mist descend upon its pate till I am ready with my bow, have arranged myself to shoot.



O forest-youth with a golden hat! O forest-mistress, Juonetar [v. king of the forest, Kuippana], transport thy 'gold,' induce thy 'silver' to approach to my spots for catching animals, these passes where I look for game. Send the best of thy flock, of thy herd—the most superb from the blue backwoods’ interior, from a liver-coloured hole, from Kuha-vuori's peak, from Paksu-vaara's slopes, from near the rapids of Imantra, from Kana-saari's deep recess. From a spinny take a switch, a birch from a forest-dell, send forth the drove to run, cause a 'money-pelt' to break away. Any one too inert to run, make lively with the switch, correct with the birchen bough; of any one that is quick to run raise the mouth with a bit, with halters lift its head. Permit the game to run this way, a 'money-pelt' to rush headlong. More sloping is the country here, a milder climate here is found; here rivers flow, here waters fall.



O Hiisi's little boy that rides a good two-year-old, take thy golden spur from the end of a silver shelf, from a golden chest, from a silver box, tickle with it the wild creatures' flanks, into their armpits dig it too; cause the drove to run, the wild animals to caper round towards the man in search of them, the stately full-grown man, in copper harness, with golden rings.






SQUIRREL-HUNTING.
Tapio's daughter, Annikki, Tapio's girl with honeyed mouth! stoop down to 'milk,' prepare to give on this my day for catching game, on my hunting days. Open wide the storehouse doors, set ajar the garret doors, throw out my share upon a bough, my portion on a bending tree, by fives from the dense young scrub, by sixes from the forest knolls, by sevens from the woodland ridge, by eights from clumps of juniper, in front of my dogs, my dogs, my men. Induce my dog to bark, let my hound give tongue; stretch a scarlet thread, spin with a buzzing sound blue thread, along which an arrow can ascend to a young squirrel's brow, to a 'cone-biter's' nose, to the nostrils of 'blue-wool.'



O forest-mistress, Mielikki, kind forest-mother that giveth gifts, the honeyed maiden of Metsola, the golden forest-king! give something to me to shoot, some larger 'hoofs,' some smaller 'hoofs,' some 'hoofs' of medium size; cause the hillocks to resound, bring down the squirrels to the dells, chase the 'money' to the forest's edge, that I can strike them with a staff, can seize them with my hand and fist. If I can't strike them with a staff, thyself direct them to a branch, thyself support my bow, steady my gun thyself, that I can shoot the squirrel on the branch, the 'forest-cat' upon its swing, with which I shall my tribute pay, shall carry away my receipt for rent.



FOR CATCHING FOXES.
King of the forest, Kuippana, brisk man of the woods with tree-moss beard! O liberal mistress of the woods, the kind gift-giver of the woods, take a fancy to my salt, approve of these boiled groats, feed a man with thy 'sweet rye cakes,' and coax him with thy 'groats'; induce the 'gold' to move, the 'silver' to wander forth ’long a golden lane, ’long a silver path, into the little golden 'cup,' into the silver 'farrier's tongs.' Drive briskly the animals, the forest-creatures hastily, toward my gins that are made of iron, toward my traps that are formed of steel; and then when they are close, when they have reached the spot, let my iron give a snap, jerk the points of steel.



Take a fancy, Forest, to my salt, O Tapio—to my dish of groats, thou golden forest-king with fir-twig hat, with a tree-moss beard, O Mimerkki, the forest's wife with sheath of tin, with a silver belt, O Raunikko [v. Rammikko] that regulates the 'cash,' Louhi, the mistress of Pohjola, let rattle thy hand that is filled with 'cash,' let gleam thine ornamented hand. O son of Tapio, Nyyrikki, spruce fellow with a tall red cap, with a cloak of blue, with a beard of white, take thy tall cap of hoofs, sow the smaller 'hoofs,' sow the larger 'hoofs,' without suspicion let them come, rush in torrents without a halt, strutting along in socks of black, tripping along on their neat feet to my spots for catching game, to my traps that must be trod. Choose white ones for other men, the black ones suit me best; if hereabouts they do not show, then fetch them from a remoter part, from over nine deep woods, from a hundred stages off.



O stalwart maiden, Päistärys [v. Tapio's maiden, Ristikko], that strews flax-stalks (päistär), strew 'stalks of flax,' scatter thy 'cloaks' about in the blue backwoods, in honeyed Metsola; without suspicion let them come, without misgiving let them run, without perceiving the smell of man, without their scenting human scent, to my spots for catching game, to my traps that should be trod, cross-breasted ones from Pohjola, black 'coats of fur' from Turjaland, to make into fluttering clothes for lords, to make into garments for men in power.




O Christopher (Ristoppi), the river-chief, the golden river-king, O Nokiatar [v. Jokiatar], youthful girl, that
watches over the river-herd, pursue the river-herd with shouts, make them to rush out like a flood from the holes of their stony dens, like a herd of cattle—from the rocks, through a silver 'door,' through a 'window' of gold 1 to soft pillows, to beds of wool. In a hundred ditches have otters been caught, in a thousand streamlets they are found, but in one ditch they must be caught, and it has a silver 'door.' If hereabouts they do not show, then fetch them from a remoter part, from the side of Imantra Lake, along a river of Pohjola, over nine men in search of them, under eight persons on the watch. If thou a full-grown otter guide, drive one the colour of the wave through the silver 'door,' through the 'window' of gold, I'll give thee gold as old as the moon, give silver as bright as the sun.


TO DRIVE AWAY RAIN.
O cease, good God, from raining, blowing, and maintaining a cloudy sky; O Ukko, god of the sky, thyself; the mighty lord of air, to Russia [v. Viborg] conduct the clouds, take the rainbows to Karjala; they are waiting for water there, an old woman has borne a child, no water has it seen as yet. A little child is there—a boy, and another child—a girl, of one night old, of two months old, they all as yet are unbaptized.




Extracts from Slavic Vila Songs

“but a vila gave birth to me,
In green leaves she swaddled me.
my diapers were
of that green grass;
my beds were
slender branches from firs;
winds that were blowing,
they rocked me;
boulders that fell,
they played with me;
the dw that dropped,
it breast-fed me!”


But a vila from the mountain yelled to him:
“Bad morning to you little Marijan!
The Beg Sokolic fled
to his courtyard to his white tower
his is a stone couryard
he is going to close steal and would beams,
you will not see him again



They went to Trenk’s manor
the lads thinking that no one hears them,
but a vila in the mountains heard,
Then the vila called to Trenk:
“Blood-Brother Trenkovic Franjo!
You have sown evil and drank wine
Mountain outlaws are upon you,
leading them is Vidak the Outlaw
They intend to burn down your estate,
surround your wite tower,
they will slaughter your young gaurds,
they will reduce your white tower to rubble,
and you, young one, they will capture
and aventge their anger upon you.
But gather, Franjo Trenkovic,
but gather the young gards, 
Then place them into a secret ambush
and close the door of your manor,
then when the mountain outlaws arrive,
Hasten upon them with ambush fire!”


A vila watched them from a cloud,
Alone to herself she said;
If their could be a hero found,
to kill the two little children,
I would give him half my power


And when the young girl saw (the army), 
she went to her green garden:
she saddled her pie-bald with deer antlers,
with an angry snake she bridled him,
and with an angrier snake she spurred him.




Fairy Halloween

Hallowe'en, when the fairy court sweeps in procession through England and through Scotland and "the warld sae wide," he suddenly appears to Janet, who, with feminine caprice, had gone to Carterhaugh by the light of the moon. With the freedom characteristic of the heroes of ballad poetry, he uses the privilege of a husband without the blessing of Holy Kirk. Janet asks him if he had ever been "sained in Christentie," or been received into the Church by baptism. He then reveals himself to her as her boylover, and explains the reason of his appearance. He can only be saved from becoming the tribute of hell by her "borrowing" him on the following night. Burns refers to this fairy pageant in his Hallowe'en"—
"Upon that night, when fairies light,
 On Cassilis Downans dance,
Or owre the lays, in splendid blaze,
On sprightly coursers prance," &c.
And an older poet, Alexander Montgomery, in his "Flyting. against Polwarth," has a similar reference—
"In the hinder end of harvest, on All-Hallowe'en,
When our good neighbours dois ride, if I read right,
Some buckled on a bunewand, and some on a bean,
Ay trottand in troups from the twilight;
The King of Pharie and his court, with the Elf Queen,
 With many elfish incubus was ridand that night."
Tamlane tells Janet in what manner he is to be borrowed. She was to abide at Miles Cross, and go to Miles Moss between twelve and one with holy water in her hand, "and cast a compass round." Inreply to the question as to how she was to know him among the fairy throng, he answers that three courts or companies would pass by—the first of which she was to allow to pass, the second she was to salute reverently, and in the third, or head court, all clad in robes of green, in which the Queen herself rode, he would be found upon a milk-white steed, with a gold star in his crown—an honour awarded to him because he was a christened man—




THE Moss or Wood Folk dwelt in the forests of Southern Germany. Their stature was small and their form strange and uncouth, bearing a strong resemblance to certain trees with which they flourished and decayed:—fit residents for the wooded solitudes that for many a league shade the banks of that romantic river which begins its course in the Black Forest and ends it in the Black Sea.
They were a simple, timid, and inoffensive race, and had little intercourse with mankind; approaching only at rare intervals the lonely cabin of the woodman or forester, to borrow some article of domestic use, or to beg a little Of the food which the good wife was preparing for the family meal. They would also for similar purposes appear to labourers in the fields which lay on the outskirts of the forests. Happy they so visited, for loan or gift to the Moss-people was always repaid manifold!
But the most highly prized and eagerly coveted of all mortal gifts was a draught from the maternal breast to their own little ones; for this they held to be a sovereign remedy for all the ills to which their natures were subject. Yet was it only in the extremity of danger that they could so overcome their natural diffidence and timidity as to ask this boon: for they knew that mortal mothers turned from such nurslings with disgust and fear.
It would appear that the Moss or Wood Folk also lived in some parts of Scandinavia. Thus we are told that in the churchyard of Store Hedding, in Zealand, there are the remains of an oak wood which were trees by day and warriors by night.




The Moss-woman And The Widow.
IS the looked-for hour of noontide rest, And, with face upturned and open vest, The weary mowers asleep are laid On the swathes their sinewy arms have made: The rakers have gone to the woodland's edge That skirts the field like a giant hedge, Shelter to seek from the blinding heat, And their humble midday meal to eat.

But one there is in that rustic band
With slender form and delicate hand,
Whose voice a tone of sorrow bears,
And whose face a shade of sadness wears:
She knitting sits apart from the rest,
With a rosy infant at her breast,
Who has played or slept in the fragrant hay,
Near his mother at work in the field all day.
Said Karl, when he led his comely bride
To his cottage down by the Danube side—
'I'll work till arm and back shall break,
Ere Roschen ever touch fork or rake.'
But, alas for Karl! the fever came,
Stricken was many a stalwart frame,
And his Roschen the widow's tear has shed
O'er the grave where his manly form was laid.
Into the swarthy forest shade
Her pensive eye has aimless strayed,
Till it sadly rests on what seems to be
The limb of a prostrate moss-grown tree:
Suddenly down her knitting she flings,
Up to her feet with her child she springs,
For creeping silently, stealthily,
Comes the limb of the prostrate moss-grown tree.
Still on it comes, creeping silently,
Then rises erect by Roschen's knee.
'A Moss-woman!' the haymakers cry,
And over the fields in terror they fly.
She is loosely clad from neck to foot,
In a mantle of moss from the maple's root,
And like lichen grey on its stem that grows
Is the hair that over her mantle flows.
Her skin like the maple-rind is hard,
Brown and ridgy and furrowed and scarred;
And each feature flat, like the mark we see
Where a bough has been lopped from the
    bole of a tree,
When the inner bark has crept healingly round
And laps o'er the edge of the open wound:
Her knotty, root-like feet are bare;
And her height is an ell from heel to hair.
A Moss-child clasped in her arms she holds,
Tenderly wrapped in her mantle folds;
A ghastly thing, as huelessly white
As the silver birch in the cold moonlight:
She cries to Roschen, in accents wild—
'It is sick, it will die; oh save my child!
Oh take to your breast my little one,
For the pitying love you bear your own!'
The haymakers one by one appear,
And then in a whispering crowd draw near;
As Roschen there with her child they see,
They call to her loudly and urgently:
But clinging about her the Moss-woman stands,
With the strength of despair in her clutching
hands, And the tone of despair in her accents wild— 'In pity, in pity, oh save my child!'
Then Roschen turns and solemnly cries—
'May I ne'er be laid where my husband lies;
May my own child perish before my face,
And I never look on his resting-place,
And long, long after him wearily live,
Oh neighbours! if I refuse to give
To this mother help in her agony,
For her babe, to her dear as mine to me.'
Her child at once on the ground she lays,
And a moment its rosy cheek surveys,
Then up to her shuddering breast she holds
The babe from the Moss-woman's mantle-folds:
About her bosom its fingers stray
Like twigs in the breath of departing day,
And like sound of twigs thus lightly stirred
Is its voice, in a low faint wailing heard.
With looks of pity and shame and awe
The haymakers silently backward draw,
While the Moss-woman gazes with glistening
   eye
At the knitting and thread that near her lie:
She snatches them up with a sharp quick cry:
Like leaves in a whirlwind her fingers fly,
And she scarcely seems to have well begun
When every thread on the reel is done.
And now the Moss-child's fingers small
Have stayed their twitchings and movements
all, In breathings calm ends its faint low wail, And maple-brown grows its cheek so pale:
With joy the mother this change beholds,
And wraps it again in her mantle-folds;
Then points to a small round ball of thread
That she by the knitting and reel has laid.
Says—' Never again need Roschen wield
The rake in hay or in harvest field,
But calmly at home with her little one bide
In her cottage down by the Danube side:
Let her knitting be ever so fast or free
The end of this ball she never shall see,
And nought from it knitted out-worn can be
Till my sapling grow to a forest tree.'
Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books

Stories About Fairies

Read Fairies Tales A series of tales about and from the perspective of fairies. These are a series of individual short tales which together tell the tale of how fairies compete and manipulate the world around them.


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Primal Fairies - The story of ancient European fairies of the ancient and primal forests. 






Fairies, Fairy Tales, Fairy Books