The old woman looked up with bright inquiring eyes.
“See you,” the knight went on, “if we dig a channel to let the waters run to the river by a shorter swifter way there will be no more trouble. I think that we will make an excuse of draining the marsh. Then if we can, when the underground way is no more the channel of the stream, we will wall it in to make a secret passage from the castle in time of need. You have kept the secret so long that I may trust it with you—and there will be no more talk of the powers of evil taking toll of my people.”
Sir Walter rose and went his way, and in due time consulted with his head mason about the canal to the river. But Lady Philippa came and took both old Izan’s work-hard hands in hers, and thanked her, with tears in her eyes. Thereafter no more masonry fell above the hidden waters, and the cottage by the Fairies’ Well was left in peace.
LULLABY OF THE PICT MOTHER
Hush thee, my baby O! never thee cry,
Cradled in wicker, safe nested so high.
Never gray wolf nor green dragon come near,—
Tree-folk in summer have nothing to fear.
Hee-o, wee-o, hear the wild bees
See the blackcock by the burnie drummin’,—
Wattle-weaving sit we snug and couthie,—
Hee-o, wee-o, birdling in our boothie!
Hush thee, my baby O! dark is the night—
Cuddle by kiln-ring where fire burns bright.
Trampling our turf-roof wild cattle we hear—
Cave-folk in winter have nothing to fear.
Kling-klang, ding-dong, hear the
Stone pots, iron kettles, copper cups for drinkin’!
Elf-shots for bowmen plough a mighty furrow—
Hee-o, wee-o, foxling in our burrow!
Hush thee, my baby! The Beltane’s
Making the deasil the wiseacres go.
Brewing our heather-wine, dancing in round—
Earth-folk are we, by her spells are we bound.
Hee-o, wee-o, hear the pipes a-croonin’,
Like the dragon’s beetle-wings a-droonin’,
Dyeea guard us from the Sword-man’s quellin’,—
Hee-o, wee-o, bairnie in our dwellin’!
Hush thee, my baby O! hear the dogs bark,
Herdin’ the lammies home out o’ the dark.
Cradled and christened frae goblin’s despite,
House-folk we hear the kirk bells through the night.
Hee-o, wee-o! hear the cricket chirrin’,
Hear auld Bawthrens by the ingle purrin’,—
Christ us keep while daddie’s gone a-huntin’!
Hee-o, wee-o, bonnie Babie Buntin’!
The winds and the waters our Father shall praise,
The birds, beasts and fishes shall tell o’ His ways.
By seashore and mountain, by forest and ling,
O come all ye people, and praise ye our King!
THE WOLVES OF OSSORY
Philosophers generally incline to the opinion that the werewolf has no tail. Therefore, this being the sign—”