Queen of Elfan's Nourice, The [Child 40]

DESCRIPTION: The Queen of Elfland awakens to hear her child's (wet)-nurse weeping. The Queen of Elfland asks the reason; the nurse says that she is crying for her own son. The Queen of Elfland sets the nurse on the right road home (and on to heaven).
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: separation children magic abduction
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Child 40, "The Queen of Elfan's Nourice" (1 text, 1 tune)
Bronson 40, "The Queen of Elfan's Nourice" (1 version)
OBB 7, "The Queen of Elfland's Nourice" (1 text)
DT 40, ELFANURS*

Notes: Tradition has it that fairies much preferred to have human women nurse their babies; hence the legends about changelings and also odd stories such as this one about a human woman being kidnapped to Elfland - RBW
 

Digital Tradition Mirror

Queen of Elfan's Nourice

[GIF Score]

(This score available as ABC, SongWright, PostScript, Lilypond, or a MIDI file)
Pennywhistle notation and Dulcimer tab for this song is also available

 

Queen of Elfan's Nourice

I heard a cow low and a bonnie cow low
An' a cow low down in yon glen
Lang, lang will my young son greet
Or his mither bid him come ben

I heard a cow low, a bonnie cow low
An' a cow low down in yon fald
Lang, lang will my young son greet
Or his mither take him frae cauld.

Waken, Queen of Elfan,
An' hear your Nourice moan.
O moan ye for your meat,
Or moan ye for your fee
Or moan ye for the ither bounties
That ladies are wont to gie.
I moan na for my meat,
Nor yet for my fee,
But I moan for Christened land,
It's there I fain would be.

O nurse my bairn, Nourice, she says,
Till he stan' at your knee,
An' ye's win hame to Christen land,
Whar fain it's ye wad be.

O keep my bairn, Nourice,
Till he gang by the hauld,
An' ye's win hame to your young son
Ye left in four nights auld.

O Nourice, lay your head
Upo' my knee;
See ye na that narrow road
Up by yon tree?

That's the road the righteous goes,
And that's the road to heaven.
An' see ye na that braid road
Down by yon sunny fell ?
Yon's the road the wicked gae,
An' that's the road to hell.

Child #40
Printed in Bronson
SOF

Queen of Elfan's Nourice
[Child #40]

I heard a cow low and a bonnie cow low
An' a cow low down in yon glen
Lang, lang will my young son greet
Or his mither bid him come ben

I heard a cow low, a bonnie cow low
An' a cow low down in yon fald
Lang, lang will my young son greet
Or his mither take him frae cauld.

Waken, Queen of Elfan,
An' hear your Nourice moan.
O moan ye for your meat,
Or moan ye for your fee
Or moan ye for the ither bounties
That ladies are wont to gie.
I moan na for my meat,
Nor yet for my fee,
But I moan for Christened land,
It's there I fain would be.

O nurse my bairn, Nourice, she says,
Till he stan' at your knee,
An' ye's win hame to Christen land,
Whar fain it's ye wad be.

O keep my bairn, Nourice,
Till he gang by the hauld,
An' ye's win hame to your young son
Ye left in four nights auld.

O Nourice, lay your head
Upo' my knee;
See ye na that narrow road
Up by yon tree?

That's the road the righteous goes,
And that's the road to heaven.
An' see ye na that braid road
Down by yon sunny fell ?
Yon's the road the wicked gae,
An' that's the road to hell.

Child #40
Printed in Bronson