The Silkie of Sule Skerry


An earthly nourris sits and sings,
And aye she sings ba lilly wean,
Sayin', little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land that he steps in.

Then he arose at her bedfit,
And a grumly guest I'm sure was he,
Saying here am I thy bairn's father,
Although I be not comely.

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

Now he has tain a purse of gold,
And he has put it upon her knee,
Saying gie tae me my little young son,
And take thee up thy nourris-fee.

And it shall come to pass on a summer's day,
When the sun shines brightly on every stain,
I’ll come and fetch my little young son,
And teach him how to swim the faim.

And thou shalt marry a gunner good,
And a very fine gunner I'm sure he'll be,
And the very first shot that e'er he shoots,
He'll kill both my young son and me.

1. wet-nurse
2. lullabye, little one
3. child
4. bed-side
5. angry
6. half human/half seal creature, that sheds its skin to walk on land
7. nurse’s fee
8. stone
9. foam (sea waves)