Selkie of Sules Skerry

(Traditional)

The Selkie of Sules Skerry is a mystical ballad from the Shetland Islands where The Selkies take the form of seals when in the ocean, but when on land they take on human form.

An earthly nourris sits and sings
And aye she sings `Ba lily wain
Saying little ken I thy bairn’s father
Far less the land that he sleeps in’

Then he arose at her bedfoot
And a grumbly 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 selkie on the sea
And when I’m far and far from land
My home it is in Sules Skerry

And he has taken a purse of gold
And he has lain it upon her knee
Saying give to me my little young son
And take thee up thy nurse’s fee

And it shall come tae pass on a summer’s day
When the sun shines bright on every stone
I’ll come to fetch my little young son
And teach him how to swim the foam

And you shall marry a pround gunner
And a proud gunner I’m sure he’ll be
But the very first shot that e’er he shoots
He’ll kill both my young son and me.