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Fairy Tales
The Gloaming Bucht

"Speakin' o’ fairies," quoth Robbie Oliver (an old shepherd, who lived at Southdean in Jedwater, and died about 1830), "I can tell ye about the vera last fairy that was seen hereaway. When my faither, Peter Oliver, was a young man, he lived at Hyndlee, an’ herdit the Brocklaw. Weel, it was the custom to milk the yowes in thae days, an’ my faither was buchtin’ [folding] the Brocklaw yowes to twae young, lish, clever hizzies ae nicht i’ the gloamin’. Nae little daffin’ an’ gabbin’ [Romping and Chaffing] gaed on amang the threesome, I’se warrant ye, till at last, just as it chanced to get darkish, my faither chancit to luik alang the lea at the head o’ the bucht, an’ what did he see but a wee little creaturje a’ clad i’ green, an’ wi’ lang hair, yellow as gowd, hingin’ round its shoulders, comin’ straight for him, whiles gi’en a whink o’ a greet, [Whimper] an’ aye atween its hands raisin’ a queer, unyirthly cry, ‘Hae ye seen Hewie Milburn? Oh! hae ye seen Hewie Milburn?’ Instead of answering the creature, my faither sprang owre the bucht flake, [Moveable gate of the fold] to be near the lasses, saying, ‘Bliss us a’—what’s that?’ ‘Ha, ha! Patie lad,’ quo’ Bessie Elliot, a free-spoken Liddesdale hempy; ‘theer a wife com’d for ye the nicht, Patie lad.’ ‘A wife!’ said my faither; ‘may the Lord keep me frae sic a wife as that,’ an’ he confessed till his deem’ day, he was in sic a fear that the hairs o’ his heed stuid up like the birses of a hurcheon. [bristles of a hedgehog] The creature was nae bigger than a three-yearauld lassie, but feat an’ tight, lith o’ limb, as ony grown woman, an’ its face was the downright perfection o’ beauty, only there was something wild an’ unyirthiy in its e’en that couldna be lookit at, faur less describit: it didna molest them, but aye taigilt [Lingered] on about the bucht, now an’ then repeatin’ its cry, ‘Hae ye seen Hewie Milburn?’ Sae they cam’ to nae ither conclusion than that it had tint [Lost] its companion. When my faither an’ the lasses left the bucht, it followed them hame to the Hyndlee kitchen, where they offered it yowe brose, but it wad na tak’ onything, till at last a neer-do-weel callant made as if he wad grip it wi’ a pair o’ reed-het tangs, an’ it appeared to be offendit, an’ gaed awa’ doon the burnside, cryin’ its auld cry eerier an’ waesomer than ever, and disappeared in a bush o’ seggs."

[The song is taken from a poem founded upon the above story, and entitled the Gloamyne Buchte. The author was James Telfer, Schoolmaster at Saughtree, in Liddesdale; born 1800, died 1862.]

TELFER, JAMES (1800-1862), minor poet, son of a shepherd, was born in the parish of Southdean, Roxburghshire, on 3 Dec. 1800. Beginning life as a shepherd, he gradually educated himself for the post of a country schoolmaster. He taught first at Castleton, Langholm,Dumfriesshire, and then for twenty-five years conducted a small adventure school at Saughtrees, Liddisdale, Roxburghshire, On a very limited income he supported a wife and family, and found leisure for literary work. From youth he had been an admirer and imitator of James Hogg (1770-1885). the Ettrick Shepherd, who befriended him. As a writer of the archaic and quaint ballad style illustrated in Hogg’s ‘Queen's Wake' Telfer eventually attained a measure of ease and even elegance in composition, and in 1824 he published a volume entitled ‘Border Ballads and Miscellaneous Poems.’ The ballad, 'The Gloamyne Buchte,’ descriptive of the potent influence of fairy song is a skilful development of a happy conception. Telfer contributed to Wilson’s 'Tales of the Borders,’ 1834, and in 1835 he published 'Barbara Gray' on interesting prose tale. A selected volume of his prose and verse appeared in 1852. He died on 18 Jan. 1862.

"O where is tiny Hew?
And where is little Len?
And where is bonnie Lu,
And Menie of the Glen?
And where’s the place of rest—
The ever changing hame?
Is it the gowan’s breast,
Or ‘neath the bells of faem?
Ay lu lan dil y’u.

"The fairest rose you find
May have a taint within;
The flower of womankind
May not be free from sin,—
The fox-glove cup go bring,
The tail of shooting sterne,
And round our grassy ring
We’ll pledge the pith o’ fern.
Ay lu lan dil y’u.

"And when the yellow moon
Is gliding down the sky,
On wings of wishes boun’,
Our band to her can fly;
Her highest horn we’ll ride,
And quaff her honey dew;
Then in her shadowy side
Our gambollings renew!
Ay lu lan dil y’u."

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