Sung by Stewart Hendrickson SheetMusic(pdf)

In Norway land there liv'd a maid, "hush ba loo lil-lie" this maid began,
"I know not where my bairn's father is, whether land or sea he travels in."

It happened on a certain day, when this fair lady fell fast asleep,
That in there came a grey Silkie and set him down at her bed's feet.

"Awake, awake, my pretty fair maid, for oh how soundly thou dost sleep
I'll tell thee where thy bairn's father is, he's a-sitting close at thy bed's feet.

"I am a man upon the land; I am a Silkie in the sea,
And when I'm far from ev'ry strand, my dwelling is in Sule Skerry."

"Alas, alas, this woeful fate, that weary fate that's been laid on me,
That a man should come from the Wast o' Hoy and that he should have a bairn with me."

"O thou wilt nurse my little wee son for seven long years upon thy knee,
And at the end of seven long years I'll come back and pay thy nursing fee."

"I'll put a gold chain around his neck, and a gay good gold chain it will be,
That if e'er he comes to the Norway lands thou may have a gay good guess on he."

And thou wilt get a gunner good, and a gay good gunner it will be,
And he shall gae out on a May morning and shoot thy son and the grey Silkie."

Oh she has got a gunner good, and a gay good gunner it was he,
And he gae'd out on a May morning and he shot the son and the grey Silkie.

"Alas, alas, this woeful fate, this weary fate that's been laid on me!"
And once or twice she sobb'd and sigh'd, and her tender heart did break in three.

From "Early English Lute Songs and Folk Songs," Vol. IV, John Runge, Hargail Music Press, N. Y.

Silkies were mythological beings, half-human half-seal. When they ventured onto land, they shed their seal skins and became human; their magical skins gave them the power to change back into seals. See THE SILKIE FOLK.
*Originally published in The Orcadian (Orkney newspaper), 1934.  See THE GREAT SILKIE O' SULE SKERRY.

The Silkie and The Fause Mermaid   The Topless Mermaid:  'Most people just look and cheer' -- OSLO, Norway

Other Silkie Lore: A HOME FOR SELKIES

Excerpt from "The Secret of Roan Inish" by Rosalie K. Fry

Music Score (pdf)  

Tune (midi)