Saturday, 30 October 2010

Samhain Stories: Tam Lin

One of my favorite Samhain stories has got to be Tam-lin.  It's a Faerie tale and an amazing romance story at the same time.  And it goes a lot like this:

Tam-Lin
The King forbade his maidens all   
who wore gold in their hair
To come and go by Caterhaugh,
For the young Tam Lin is there.
And those that go by Carterhaugh
From them he takes a fee,
Either mantles or their rings
Or else their maidenhead!
Janet kilted her green mantle
(just) above her knee,
And she has gone to Carterhaugh
Just as fast as she could flee.
She had not pulled a double rose,
A rose, but three or four,
When up & spoke young TamLin
'Lady, please, pull no more!'
How dare you pull those flowers!
How dare you break those wands!
How dare you come to Carterhaugh
Withouten my command?'
(She says) 'Carterhaugh it tis my own
My Father gave it me,
And I will come and go by here
Without any leave of thee!'
(There were) 4 and 20 ladies gay
All sitting down at chess,
When in come the young Janet,
As green as any glass.
Up and spake her father dear,
He spake up meek and mild,
'My dear, Janet,' he cried,
'I fear you go with child!'
And if I do go with child,
It is myself to blame!
There's not a knight in all your hall
Shall give my child its name!'
Janet kilted her green mantle
(Just) above her knee,
And she ran off to Carterhaugh
For to pull the Scathing Tree.
How dare you pull that herb?’
said young Tam Lin,
’For to kill the bonny babe
That we got us between!'
'You must tell to me, Tam Lin,
Now you must tell to me,
Were you once a mortal knight
Or mortal hall did see?'
I was once a mortal knight
I was hunting here one day,
I did fall off from my horse,
Fairy Queen stole me away.
'Tomorrow night is Halloween,
The Fairy Folk do ride;
Those that would their true love win
At Miles Cross they must hide!
'First you let pass the black horse
Then you let pass the brown,
Run up to the milk white steed
And pull the rider down.
'First they'll turn me in your arms
Into a lion wild.
Hold me close and fear me not
As you would hold your child.
'Next they'll turn me in your arms
Into a snake or adder,
Hold me close and fear me not,
I am your child's father.
'Then they'll turn me in your arms
Into a red-hot bar of iron,
Throw me into well
And throw me in with speed.
'Last they'll turn me in your arms
Into a naked knight
Wrap me up in your mantle,
And hold me close from sight.'
So well she did what he did say
She did her true love win,
She wrapped him up in her mantle,
As blythe as any bird.
Up and spake the Fairy Queen,
An ancient Queen cried she:
'If I'd have known of this Tam Lin,
That some lady'd borrowed thee,
'If I'd have known of this Tam Lin,
Before we came from home,
I'd have plucked out thy heart
And put in one a heart of stone...
One of my very own!’
              Traditional, adapted by Beverly Frederick (based R.J. Stewart's version of 1692 c.e.)

Beverly Frederick does an amazing song version on her cd Through the Darkness which can be found here  You can find an amazing modern adaptation from Tanya Huff called "He Said, Sidhe Said " "Finding Magic"

This is one of my favorite tales from I was a child, it's a beautiful romantic tale, but it also draws on the magic Samhain, The transformation reminds me so much of Taliesin, which talks about the changes created through the magic of Cerridwen's cauldron. Every Samhain I re-read this tale, sometimes the younger children will re-enact this play it's awesome!! 

Have fun with it!!
I hope you enjoy this story like I do,
Blessed Be


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