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'