An earthly nurse sits and sings,
And aye, she sings by lily wean,
And little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land where he dwells in.

For he came one night to her bed feet,
And a grumly guest, I'm sure was he,
Saying "Here am I, thy bairn's father,
Although I be not comely."

"I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie on the sea,
And when I'm far and far frae land,
My home it is in Sule Skerrie."

And he had ta'en a purse of gold
And he had placed it upon her knee,
Saying, "Give to me my little young son,
And take thee up thy nurse's fee."

"And it shall come to pass on a summer's day,
When the sun shines bright on every stane,
I'll come and fetch my little young son,
And teach him how to swim the faem."

"And ye shall marry a gunner good,
And a right fine gunner I'm sure he'll be,
And the very first shot that e'er he shoots
Will kill both my young son and me."


Word pronunciation and meaning:

lily wean (LIL-ee WEEN) baby
bairn (BAYRN) child
grumly (GRUM-lee) ugly
comely (COHM-ih-LEE) good looking, pretty
frae (FRAY) from
ta'en (TAYN) taken
stane (STAYN) stone
faem (FAYM) foam, as in sea foam