Tuesday, 25 June 2019

The Faerie Queen and True Thomas the Rhymer

True Thomas The Rhymer: Many people have been seduced into leaving the 
mortal world and travelling to Faerie land; some never to be seen again, for
 once there it is very difficult to escape. 
One such was Thomas the young Laird of Erceldoune who one May Day saw
 a beautiful woman riding towards him across the grass. He was so smitten 
that he promised then and there to love and stay with her for ever if she would 
only give him a kiss: although in some versions it’s more than a kiss he received! 
Once the kiss had been given Thomas watched in horror as the woman’s appearance 
changed before his eyes, her hair turned gray and her face became lined and 
haggard, her clothes became tattered and there before him stood an old crone 
where two minutes before there had been the beautiful woman with whom he 
had fallen in love.
Thomas knew that he could not go back on his promise and as she made to leave the
 hill where they had met, he gave one backward glance to the mortal world. 
Then followed the old crone to a cave in the side of Eildon Hill and from there
 into the otherworld. They traveled for many days in pitch black surrounded by 
strange sounds until at last they came to an enormous cavern and in the middle
 stood a Faerie Castle surrounded by a beautiful garden.
Thomas turned to the old crone to exclaim at the wonder of the place and there 
in place of the old crone stood the beautiful woman as she had been before. 
Thomas gazing on her face then knew that it was the Faerie Queen herself that he 
had made his promise to.
To Thomas, it seemed as though he had only been there for a few days and when
 the Faerie Queen told him that in fact he had been there for seven years he could 
not believe it. She warned him that if he stayed another night then he would be 
bound for ever in Faerieland and for the sake of their love he would be given a 
chance to return to his mortal home. With a blink of her eye Thomas found himself 
once again standing on Huntlie Bank. The Faerie Queen gave Thomas a parting
 gift: the ability to be a master harpist and also that he would answer every question 
with truth. For seven years his wisdom and prophecies were sought by many. But he 
never forgot the beautiful Queen that had stolen his heart; and one day he received a
 summons from her; Thomas walked out of his home and was never seen again in 
the mortal world.

from 'Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles'

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