The Laily Worm and the Machrel of the Sea

No: 36; variant: 36

  1. ‘I WAS but seven year auld When my mither she did die; My father married the ae warst woman The warld did ever see.
  2. ‘For she has made me the laily worm, That lies at the fit o the tree, An my sister Masery she’s made The machrel of the sea.
  3. ‘An every Saturday at noon The machrel comes to me, An she takes my laily head An lays it on her knee, She kaims it wi a siller kaim, An washes’t in the sea.
  4. ‘Seven knights hae I slain, Sin I lay at the fit of the tree, An ye war na my ain father, The eight ane ye should be.’
  5. ‘Sing on your song, ye laily worm, That ye did sing to me:’ ‘I never sung that song but what I would it sing to thee.
  6. ‘I was but seven year auld, When my mither she did die; My father married the ae warst woman The warld did ever see.
  7. ‘For she changed me to the laily worm, That lies at the fit o the tree, And my sister Masery To the machrel of the sea.
  8. ‘And every Saturday at noon The machrel comes to me, An she takes my laily head An lays it on her knee, An kames it wi a siller kame, An washes it i the sea.
  9. ‘Seven knights hae I slain, Sin I lay at the fit o the tree, An ye war na my ain father, The eighth ane ye shoud be.’
  10. He sent for his lady, As fast as send could he: ‘Whar is my son that ye sent frae me, And my daughter, Lady Masery?’
  11. ‘Your son is at our king’s court, Serving for meat an fee, An your daughter’s at our queen’s court, . . . . . ‘
  12. ‘Ye lie, ye ill woman, Sae loud as I hear ye lie; My son’s the laily worm, That lies at the fit o the tree, And my daughter, Lady Masery, Is the machrel of the sea!’
  13. She has tane a siller wan, An gien him strokes three, And he has started up the bravest knight That ever your eyes did see.
  14. She has taen a small horn, An loud an shrill blew she, An a’ the fish came her untill But the proud machrel of the sea: ‘Ye shapeit me ance an unseemly shape, An ye’s never mare shape me.’
  15. He has sent to the wood For whins and for hawthorn, An he has taen that gay lady, An there he did her burn.