Child's, The English And Scottish Ballads

Volume 1 of 8 from 1860 edition

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THE WATER O' WEARIE'S WELL.
From Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland, ii. 201. Repeated in Scottish Traditional Versions of Ancient Ballads, Percy Society, xvii. 63.
The three ballads which follow, diverse as they may now appear, after undergoing successive corruptions, were primarily of the same type. In the first (which may be a compound of two ballads, like the preceding, the conclusion being taken from a story of the charac­ter of May Colvin in the next volume) the Merman or Nix may be easily recognized: in the second he is metamorphosed into the Devil; and in the third, into a ghost. Full details upon the corresponding Scan­dinavian, German, and Slavic legends, are given by Grundtvig, in the preface to Noekkens Soig, Danmarks G. Folkeviser, ii. 57 : translated by Jamieson, i. 210, and by Monk Lewis, Tales of Wonder, No. 11.
There came a bird out o' a bush,
On water for to dine ; And sighing sair, says the king's daughter,
" O waes this heart o' mine 1"
He's taen a harp into his hand,                       s
He's harped them aE asleep ; Except it was the king's daughter,
Who ae wink cou'dna get.