The Twa Sisters
No: 10; variant: 10F
- THERE was two ladies livd in a bower,
Hey with a gay and a grinding O
The youngest o them was the fairest flower
About a’ the bonny bows o London.
- There was two ladies livd in a bower,
An wooer unto the youngest did go.
- The oldest one to the youngest did say,
‘Will ye take a walk with me today,
And we’ll view the bonny bows o London.
- ‘Thou’ll set thy foot whare I set mine,
Thou’ll set thy foot upon this stane.’
- ‘I’ll set my foot where thou sets thine:’
The old sister dang the youngest in,
- ‘O sister dear, come tak my hand,
Take my life safe to dry land,’
- ‘It’s neer by my hand thy hand sall come in,
It’s neer by my hand thy hand sall come in,
- ‘It’s thy cherry cheeks and thy white briest bane
Gars me set a maid owre lang at hame.’
- She clasped her hand[s] about a brume rute,
But her cruel sister she lowsed them out.
- Sometimes she sank, and sometimes she swam,
Till she cam to the miller’s dam.
- The miller’s bairns has muckle need,
They were bearing in water to bake some breid.
- Says, ‘Father, dear father, in our mill-dam,
It’s either a fair maid or a milk-white swan.’
- The miller he’s spared nae his hose nor his shoon
Till he brocht this lady till dry land.
- I wad he saw na a bit o her feet,
Her silver slippers were made so neat.
- I wad he saw na a bit o her skin,
For ribbons there was mony a ane.
- He laid her on a brume buss to dry,
To see wha was the first wad pass her by.
- Her ain father’s herd was the first man
That by this lady gay did gang.
- He’s taen three links of her yellow hair,
And made it a string to his fiddle there.
- He’s cut her fingers long and small
To be fiddle-pins that neer might fail.
- The very first spring that the fiddle did play,
‘Hang my auld sister,’ I wad it did say.
- ‘For she drowned me in yonder sea,
God neer let her rest till she shall die,’
At the bonny bows o London.